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Faculty Senate to vote on proposal to remove Physical Education graduation requirement

Next month, the Faculty Senate’s vote will determine whether or not to eliminate the Physical Education requirement for graduation. The current General Education Program requirement calls for undergraduate students to take and successfully pass two P.E. classes which are not counted toward the 120 academic credit requirement for graduation. UMBC is the only university in the University System of Maryland that requires P.E. credits for graduation.

An email was sent out several days earlier to UMBC students on Nov. 14 by Philip Rous, UMBC’s Provost, with the subject line “Physical Education Requirement.” In the email, Rous outlines the timeline of the requirement reassessment, saying that the final vote is anticipated to occur on Dec. 11, 2018, during the meeting of the Faculty Senate.

The Faculty Senate is the Senate that determines graduation requirements for UMBC students. An elimination of the current requirements would result in “an official notification of a change to the undergraduate degree requirements,” which “will be communicated to the campus” and take effect beginning with the Winter 2019 academic period.

In a recent SGA meeting, members suggested that students who are not required to take the P.E. courses would not sign up for them. The email addresses this issue with a reminder: “Please keep in mind that, at this time, the physical education requirement still exists although currently under review. All undergraduate degree-seeking students are encouraged to plan accordingly…” Furthermore, P.E. Department instructors will retain their current pay for the time being. The UMBC Provost’s Office will be funding the Athletic Department to the degree it currently receives funding for these courses as the department works through this transition.

As of present, some groups of students are exempt from the P.E. requirement, including current, reserve or veteran military members, varsity athletes, students who are 30 years of age before the semester begins and students who are not physically able to participate and fulfill the requirement, in which case the P.E. department would grant a waiver. Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC, students are also eligible for P.E. credit through enrollment in PHED 175 – ROTC Training.