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Editorial

Students forced to take empty credits with college physical education

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October 17, 2014

UW-River Falls is currently in the minority among U.S. universities regarding its policy which requires that students take physical education courses before they can graduate, according to a 2013 special report by USA Today.

Only 39 percent of universities require students to meet physical education needs. In the 1920s that percentage was in the 97th percentile. Times have changed.

At UWRF, students must complete three physical education courses, including P.E. 108 (Health and Fitness for Life), as well as two courses which are more activity focused. The Student Voice staff considers these to be unnecessary additions to the list of classes students already have to take in order to graduate.

By no means do we believe that physical education should cease to exist within college courses; we simply see it as something which ought to be an elective, something that students interested in maintaining a healthy physical lifestyle can freely sign up for if their schedules permit it. And, while fun, golfing, scuba diving and playing flag football should not be among courses students may have to complete to fulfill their graduation requirements.

Considering the full schedules and the duties that most college students have to juggle to stay afloat, adding additional weight to these students’ lives will only result in overexertion and stress.

Even UWRF athletes have to fulfill these requirements; people who train extensively every week to be in the best shape possible still have to power through these classes which, to them in particular, offer literally no worthwhile benefit to their lives.

Regardless of how frequently one exercises on their own time, it is apparently never enough to diminish the necessity of taking a course in physical education. While nobody is going to deny that exercise is beneficial, it is something that really ought to be done on one’s own time. This campus offers several areas devoted to fitness which are accessible to students, so there is little to nothing preventing people enrolled at UWRF from putting in hours towards improving themselves physically in a more flexible manner than scheduled classes.

When people think of college, what they tend to think of is the pursuit of knowledge. What doesn’t, and shouldn’t, come to mind is students who have to measure their waists and do thigh exercises if they want to graduate.

We recognize that this issue has been brought up in the past at UWRF and there is staff working on a solution, but it is probably time to make the change.