Email Targets Students Deemed Overweight at Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr College is under fire for an email intended to promote personal health that ended up offending dozens of students who felt wrongfully targeted for their body type.

The email — titled “Give a HOOT!’ — promoted one of the school’s newer programs, Fitness Onward to Weight Loss Success, or Fitness O.W.L.S.

The controversial email was sent to an undisclosed number of students who had an “eligible” body mass index (BMI). The fitness program is a collaboration effort between the Athletic Department, Dining Services and Health Department at the prestigious Main Line all-girls college, according to an email sent to students in mid-January.

The story of one Bryn Mawr junior, Rundrani Sarma, was shared widely on social media after she told the popular site, Buzzfeed that she was “horrified.”

The English literature major said she had used resources at the student health department to overcome an eating disorder and the email was “triggering.” When she followed up to the email, she said she was informed it was a clerical mistake.

“In a way of explanation (but not excuse) at one time a nurse entered your height incorrectly and you appeared on the list of students who would qualify for the program,” an email published on Buzzfeed said. “This error pointed out to me that our screening processes are inadequate. They will be improved.”

The school calculated students’ BMIs based on information provided to the Health Center, according to a Bryn Mawr College official.

“[Fitness O.W.L.S] is to sort of get a cohort of people who have similar fitness levels,” said Matt Gray, a college spokesman.

The two-credit Fitness O.W.L.S program listed on the college’s site is the only physical education course listed with eligibility requirements for entry.

“The fitness O.W.L program is really for people that are overweight,” said Monika Hawkins, who works in the Health Center at Bryn Mawr College. “We also tell people they can go to a nutritionist.”

Gray added the requirements are meant to address students with injuries who cannot participate in certain activities. But the site does not list the same health assessment standards for sports like advanced rowing, volleyball, kickboxing or other more rigorous courses.

In an apology email to the student body, officials with the school claim to have designed the program to assist students with indicators of “potential health risks.”

“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,” read the apology email sent to students who were “eligible” for the Fitness O.W.L.S

The program has been offered three times in the past, but this is the first time school officials received complaints, Gray said.

The students impacted by the email plan to protest the school for invading their privacy.

The adequacy of body mass index as an indicator of health has long been criticized; compiled a list several years ago pointing out potential problems with using BMI to indicate body fat percentage.

The CDC cites BMI as an accurate way to screen weight categories, but the measurement developed by Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet never had interest in measuring obesity. Instead, he attempted to define characteristics of “normal man,” and developed an index that measures the relationship to describe that weight increases as height increases.

Originally published on

Canadian Feminine Care Manufacturing Group to Outsource to Delaware

Energizer will consolidate its newer Montreal factory into an existing production facility in Delaware, bringing more than 250 jobs to the Dover area.

The company already owned a Playtex personal care factory in Dover before acquiring Johnson and Johnson’s line of personal care products in 2013. The buyout left Energizer with two production facilities for its feminine care products. Energizer decided to move all the production to Delaware and expand that facility.

“We’re in the process right now,” said Chris Crowelle, Vice President of Operations for Energizer Personal Care. “Since [July] we’ve been in preparation and design phase. The actual move will take place in the next several months. It will expand from now until the middle of 2017.”

While Energizer hopes to bring as many Montreal employees into the new facility as possible, Crowell said only 270 of the jobs will transfer to the new plant. Montreal currently employs more than 400 workers.

Crowelle said he expects few Canadian employees to relocate.

“For those that are willing to come, we will gladly accept them,” he said. “For the majority of positions, we will likely fill from Delaware.”

Local Puppy, Once Neglected, Drafted for Puppy Bowl

“I don’t care about the Super Bowl, but we’ll be watching the Puppy Bowl,” Head of New Life Animal Rescue Kim Mangione told Burlington County Times. “We watch it every year, but this year we’ll be watching Jamison. We know he’ll do great.”

The pit bull-terrier mix was rescued by Animal Care and Control Team in Philadelphia when he was less than three weeks old. Soon after, he was transferred to New Life Animal Rescue suffering from worms, seizures, cigarette burns and a variety of maladies.

The Evesham-based shelter took the three-pound pooch to Mount Laurel Animal Hospital, where he was promptly treated.

When Animal Planet contacted the shelter about any playful puppy candidates, Mangione recommended Jamison and submitted pictures and video.

The Puppy Bowl is taped in October, but airs every year on Super Bowl Sunday.

If you’re unfamiliar, here’s all you need to know — it’s a small field filled with puppies and toys. The event is live-tweeted by a bird and features kittens during half-time. It’s the kind of adorable that makes hearts explode with joy.

Tune in this Sunday at 3 p.m

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Thief Approaches Woman in Car, Swipes Purse: Police

A woman was sitting in her car in the city’s Fishtown section when a man approached and stole her purse on the evening of January 19, police said.

The unknown male walked up to the occupied car, which was parked on the 1300 block of East Montgomery Ave., and ordered her to stay still before he reached in and grabbed her purse and phone, said officials.

He then ran from the scene, according to authorities.

The 35-year-old victim described the thief as a 5’10” with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a black and white cap, black Adidas jacket and blue jeans.

If you have any information about this crime or the suspect, please contact: East Detective Division 215-686-3243.

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Free Snow Removal Service Helps People in Need

Even the smallest snowstorm can be a big problem for people who are unable to shovel snow or remove the ice from their walkways. Luckily, there’s charity service in West Philadelphia that can help.

Free snow removal and shoveling for seniors or disabled residents is just one of the volunteer services provided by Able Body Christian Men.

To utilize the free services, you must register with the group. Following inclement weather, a volunteer will call registered members to find out if their services are required.

All services are provided on a “first come, first serve” basis that relies on availability of volunteers.

ABCMen also offers a food pantry, companionship and other special projects.