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Faculty Senate votes for the removal of physical education requirement

This article will be updated.

The Faculty Senate has voted for the removal of the physical education graduation requirement at a routine meeting on Dec. 11. The decision, which was made by a majority vote, will go into effect for the 2019 Winter Session.

This proposal was brought to the Faculty Senate by the Undergraduate Council in November. Physical education classes will still not count toward the 120 credit graduation requirement, but they will count towards classifying students as full-time students or as eligible for residential housing. If students wish to use physical education credits towards the 12 academic credits required per semester to be eligible for financial aid, they will be allowed to “opt-out” of the new system and take physical education classes as required previously. These students, which according to the Provost’s office are less than 1 percent of students, will be notified via email by the Provost’s office.

Physical education classes will not be cancelled for next semester, and students are still encouraged to take these classes. The removal of this requirement is not supposed to impact the Athletic Department or courses student athletes may be required to take. The Provost’s office has agreed to fund the Athletic Department through a transitional period as the department moves from non-academic gym classes to the institution of an academic Health and Wellness program. Courses in women’s self-defense will be continued.

“I suspect [the Health and Wellness program] will take a couple years to develop,” says Philip Rous, UMBC Provost. “It fits very well into our [university] strategic plan.”

UMBC was the only school within the University System of Maryland that required physical education classes to graduate.