UNH students earn up to EIGHT credits with 'fat studies' course

The University of New Hampshire is reintroducing a course titled "Weight Matters."

The instructor for the course disrupted a Dave Rubin speech at the university in 2018.

The University of New Hampshire will offer an introductory “fat studies” course, titled “Weight Matters,” in spring 2021. 

UNH’s newest “fat studies” course is also part of the Women’s and Gender Studies department at UNH. “Weight Matters” will be taught completely online by women’s and gender studies senior lecturer Joelle Ryan

Campus Reform reported on the University of New Hampshire’s “People Opposing Weightism” (POW!) group formed in 2013 under the university’s Women’s Studies department. The group sought interns  to address “weight bias, fatphobia and body-policing.”  Ryan’s research areas include “disability justice,” “fat studies” and “sex work.” 

She has taught classes called “Sex Workers Rights,” “Trans/Forming Gender” and “Survey/Queer Cinema.”  Ryan taught “Weight Matters” previously in 2019. 

The course is now being revived in 2021 as a four-credit course. 

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The course description states that it will be an “in-depth study of topics not covered in regular course offerings.”

“The course explores the breadth and depth of Women’s Studies from a historical perspective. In order to understand Women’s Studies currently, students look at the historical foundations that contribute social, political, and economic influences on the topics,” the course catalog states. 

The renewed introductory course comes after UNH reportedly suffered from a $10 million deficit at the conclusion of Fiscal Year ‘20 which forced the school to make budget cuts and lay off faculty. 

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Campus Reform reported on Ryan’s disruption of political commentator Dave Rubin’s speech at UNH in 2018. 

Ryan tweeted that she “did something right” by disrupting the speaker.

Alexa Gagne, a UNH junior and a vice president of media at CHAARG, an on-campus women’s health organization, told Campus Reform that she believes the class could have a “huge impact” on the UNH student body. 

“From the standpoint of a leader in an organization like CHAARG (Changing Health, Attitudes, + Actions to Recreate Girls), I believe the class ‘Weight Matters; could make a huge impact on campus. CHAARG is all about body positivity [and] finding the self care you enjoy, so it aligns perfectly with our mission,” Gagne said.

“UNH needs more classes that make students feel comfortable and aware of their bodies!” she concluded. 

UNH and Ryan did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @redwave1776