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P.E. Graduation Requirement Eliminated by Faculty Vote

Jules Struck ’19, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Dickinson’s physical education requirement has been eliminated after a faculty vote on Tuesday. Students no longer must fulfill four P.E. half-credits to graduate, though students currently enrolled in P.E. classes must attend to the end of the semester to avoid a failing grade. 

Students do not need to drop P.E. courses they signed up for during course request period in March, as those classes will no longer exist and will be automatically removed from student schedules. Students will no longer be able to sign up for previously offered P.E. courses, however dance courses and swim instruction will still be offered. 

“All I can say is that I’m really relieved,” said Dan McColley, a senior with two P.E. half-credits left to fulfill.

Student Senate reaction was jubilant during their Tuesday night meeting, and senators toasted the decision with sparkling cider. “Let’s celebrate the fact that we eliminated the P.E. credit today,” said Student Senate President Chris Jones ’19, to a round of applause from the room. 

The decision “has been a major policy initiative for the Student Senate and presents four years of hard work…” as stated in an email sent to all students in an email from Student Senate on Tuesday. “We’ve affected real change on campus,” said Jones.

“Go to your gym class for the rest of this semester,” he added.

Faculty presented their opinions both for and against the resolution before the voting at their Tuesday afternoon faculty meeting. The vote was tallied through secret ballot, so an official count is not public, according to Student Senate Chief of Staff Sara Nash ’19.

Mary Ann Leidigh, registrar, stated in an email to the student body on Tuesday that “A sub-committee of the Enrollment and Student Life Committee has been created and charged with overseeing activities related to student health, wellness and physical fitness.” 

Student Life and Engagement currently funds student-led fitness classes, but that burden will likely shift to Student Senate. Senate passed a resolution in October approving up to $20,000 funding from Student Senate for student-led fitness classes. The Senate Finance Committee has not yet decided how much funding they will approve from their budget. 

“As of right now, because today was the day that the P.E. credit was taken away, we do not have any projections, just because we need to start conversations with the various committees at the executive level, at the college level to speak about what are we going to be keeping in place, what are we going to be changing,” said Colin Black ’22, a member of the finance committee.

“It’s a unique feeling to see our hard work pay off and I am proud to leave a legacy after our class graduates that was entirely motivated by student interest and demand,” said Julien Herpers ’19, Student Senate director of academics and member of the All-College Committee on Academic Program and Standards. 

“I am happy to say that the professors of this institution absolutely made the correct decision regarding the P.E. requirement,” stated Ian Ridgway, a senior who still had three credits left to complete before graduating. “I did not feel like it was fair to force students to choose between P.E. classes and classes necessary for the completion of their major and distribution requirements.”

Director and College Dean of Student Life and Engagement Josh Eisenberg, who is the Student Senate advisor, said he was proud of the senators and joked, “The worst part is that you have to say ‘look at what we did, it doesn’t exist.’” 

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P.E. Graduation Requirement Eliminated by Faculty Vote