How to save our activities from cuts

Every Tuesday, my roommate and I take time to hang out together. We attend kickboxing at the T/W Fitness Center, grab some dinner from TDubs, and then retreat to my room to watch Glee. Last Tuesday, we arrived at the fitness center to find a sign on the door: Both kickboxing classes are canceled for the rest of the semester, due to a lack of accommodations. Word spread quickly among the flood of students arriving for class, as did shock, anger and confusion. How can the most popular class be canceled?

Since the very first class last semester, the kickboxing classes have rapidly grown each week to accommodate more and more students. In recent weeks, between 50 and 70 students have attended each kickboxing class. The class became so large that we could no longer safely fit in the fitness center. We began using the T/W Lounge, which has more than enough space for every student who wanted to attend.

However, school administration deemed that in order to continue the classes, they had to be held in the Fitness Center, with a cap of 20 students in each class. The student teacher denied the request, feeling uncomfortable with the idea of capping the classes at such a low number. Becoming a referee for 70 eager students certainly sounds like a daunting prospect, and it doesn’t seem fair to put a single student in that kind of position.

At this point, whatever happened between the administration and the class instructor is moot. Both parties attempted to keep the classes going. It didn’t work out. The point is, we want our classes back in any way, shape or form. What if students had to sign up for a specific class on a specific day, in order to give everyone a chance of attending? More effort should have gone into finding a solution. However, why should the school make an effort unless we speak out about it?

What we should be focused on in this situation is the fact that health and exercise programs at this school always seem to be taking hits The free personal training program at the Physical Enhancement Center was cut last semester. The number of classes offered at the fitness center each day has declined significantly from last semester, despite the fact that more students than ever are attending them. The “renovations” at the PEC have barely made any improvement to the small, poorly equipped room.

The cancellation of kickboxing classes is indirectly related to budget cuts. If there were more classes, there would be fewer people at each class. Budgeting and funding are complicated political issues, and I sympathize with the individuals who have to make these kinds of decisions, but if we want our classes to continue then we have to convey how much they mean to us.

I am writing this not to criticize what happened but to implore students to speak out for change. If you want your classes back, fight for them. Tell the school how much you love these classes (though the numbers should speak for themselves). I have already drafted a petition with 175 signatures on it. If we complain to each other without speaking out, then the programs will continue to be cut. We are students, and that does mean something. It means a lot more than you think.