Students at Bryn Mawr College say they will organize a protest next week because administrators invited women with “elevated” body mass indexes to participate in a free, personalized fitness program.
About 100 students at the all-female, negligibly prestigious, $60,000-per-year college in the suburbs of Philadelphia received a program invitation via email recently, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.
About 1,700 women attend Bryn Mawr.
Officials at the school’s health center compiled the list of email recipients.
“There were truly good intentions behind this,” Matt Gray, a Bryn Mawr spokesman, told the Inquirer. “It’s a program that includes individual counseling, nutritional advice, and group support.”
Also, a dozen Bryn Mawr students participated in the same program in the same way in the fall, and it was no big deal.
This time, though, one of the recipients of the email was far from amused.
“It felt awful to be targeted like that,” the student, Rudrani Sarma, said, according to the Inquirer.
Sarma noted that she is not obese.
“You’re telling students that it’s more important to lose weight than to be healthy. You’re telling students that you discriminate based on weight by compiling a list of ‘fat’ students,” the junior wrote in a Facebook rant.
“Body policing and fat shaming are both involved here, and it’s important to have a discussion about how we want to talk about our bodies,” she told the Inquirer.
Bryn Mawr officials have been extremely apologetic.
“On behalf of everyone involved with this program, I sincerely apologize to anyone who has been upset or offended by our communications, and I want to reassure the community that we will rethink our approaches and our assumptions moving forward,” Bryn Mawr health center director Dr. Kay Kerr told NBC News.
“One of the things we’ll look at is wording,” Gray, the school spokesman, said. “We’ll figure out something so this doesn’t happen again.”
Body mass index, typically called BMI, is one tool used to identify whether people are overweight, according to the American Heart Association. It is not even close to always being an accurate tool. (RELATED: Florida School Sends Letter Home Calling This Girl Fat)
The gorgeous, Hogwarts-esque campus of Bryn Mawr is usually home to some controversy or two.
In the fall, the Bryn Mawr campus collectively went berserk after two students displayed a Confederate flag and demanded that the students be forcibly evicted from their dorm room. (RELATED: Students FREAK OUT Over Confederate Flag At Bryn Mawr)
The pair of students, senior roommates from Georgia and Texas, had hung the flag in their residence hall and bound some tape to the floor and labeled the tape a “Mason-Dixon line” to express their Southern pride. Protesting students called the flag and the tape on the floor symbols of hatred, slavery and white supremacy.
Bryn Mawr is, of course, most famous for bestowing a degree upon Kathy Boudin, a Weather Underground member and a grossly inept criminal. In 1981, Boudin participated in a $1.6 million Brinks truck heist. She and her militant black nationalist colleagues totally bungled the theft, managing to kill three people. Boudin also survived a massive 1970 Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, in which a bomb intended for a dance for soldiers in New Jersey went off prematurely and killed three more people. Naturally, then, Columbia University hired Boudin after she got out of prison. (RELATED: Weather Underground Killer Kathy Boudin Now Works For Two Manhattan Universities)