Tuesday, March 10, 2009

UC Berkeley physical education classes cut

Last weekend in Berkeley I heard that that jobs of physical education instructors at UC Berkeley are under attack. The Daily Californian, the student newspaper, said, "next fall, the program is set to lose half of its courses and reduce most of its faculty to half-time, prompting backlash from instructors and students."

Students started a letter writing campaign to protest the cuts, are circulating a petition, and also have started a Facebook group. Also, an Associated Student's bill criticizing the cuts was introduced to the student government.

Sue Johannesen, a fitness instructor, said 4,300s students tried to sign up for physical education classes but were rejected "due to limited capacity of the classes." Dance instructor Jason Britton said "the cut will slash his classes-- and perhaps his income--in half may force him to look for outside work."

Mark Schlissel, Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences, heads the division overseeing physical education. After the administration imposed $250,000 cuts to the Division of Biological Sciences, Dean Schlissel chose to cut physical education because the chancellor "recommended that academic programs be spared." UC Berkeley has been cut this year "$65-75 million."

At the same time Chancellor Birgeneau is encouraging students to attend"Mind-Body Week" March 9-16 to participate in lectures, activities, and workshops that improve the mind and body. Surely, physical education classes are part of part of improving the mind and body that Chancellor Birgeneau thinks are so important.

When I went to UC Berkeley, I took Advanced Modern Dance all four years, and the classes were my salvation. I felt encouraged by these dance classes more than any other classes that I took, and started me on a lifetime of always exercising, so the dance classes had a lasting impact on my life. I think that the physical education classes are utterly necessary and shouldn't be cut and that all the instructors should work full-time.

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