PHILADELPHIA -- After receiving widespread criticism about its mandate that overweight students take a special fitness class to graduate, Lincoln University faculty recently voted to rescind the requirement.

At a Dec. 4 faculty meeting, Dr. James L. DeBoy, chair of Lincoln’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department, proposed a change to the requirement, which was approved with a near-unanimous vote, according to local media. The final proposal will still need to be approved by the university’s board of trustees, which isn’t scheduled to meet until next year.

In the new faculty proposal, all freshman and sophomores would be required to take a Dimensions of Wellness class for two credit hours. Class professors would evaluate each student’s health and recommend that some students take an additional one credit hour fitness course that includes walking, Pilates and fitness games. The additional course would not be required, however.

Since some details of the new proposal need to be worked out, the old requirement may still be in place when the spring semester starts, Ashley E. Gabb, assistant director of communications, told reporters. This means that for now, students whose body mass index (BMI) scores were above 30 when they were freshman will need to take the Fitness for Life course to graduate in May.

Lincoln garnered national attention recently when it sent e-mails to some 80 seniors notifying them that they needed to enroll in the Fitness for Life class and complete the fitness requirement to graduate. It began as a mandate that all students entering the school in the fall of 2006 must have their BMIs checked. Those with a BMI of 30 or above were required to take the additional fitness class.