After announcing that she was eliminating the competitive sports program at Spelman College, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, Spelman’s president, faced a barrage of questions and criticism about the impact of the decision for the future of women sports. Organizations like the Black Women in Sport Foundation believe Spelman’s move may be counter-productive to the goal of encouraging greater participation in competitive sports by black females.
But Tatum’s decision stemmed from the prevalence of weight-related diseases at Spelman and her belief that there was minimal benefit to retaining the sports program.
Spelman decided to take money from the school’s athletic program and put it towards the construction of a new physical education building and programs to promote physical health education. Tatum’s belief is that educating young black females about healthier lifestyles would lead to a lifetime of health.
In a letter explaining this decision, Tatum calls for a “Wellness Revolution” stressing the importance of a change in behavior. Spelman’s research shows that one out of two of its students have high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, or are obese. (Atlanta Black Star)