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Radcliffe girls don't like exercise. They don't like archery, sailing, bowling, body mechanics, or modern dance. Given a chance, most of them would shirk their two years, two hours a week of athletics. This, at least, is what Radcliffe gym authorities suspect. To make athletics requirements escape-proof, the Gym Department has plugged loopholes so thoroughly that even the more athletic girls suffer.
Each girl is allowed only two cuts per quarter; more than that she must make up. This ensures a minimum required amount of exercise. But other rules require girls who do not make up cuts within two weeks to repeat the entire quarter in their junior year; this seem unduly harsh. Conflicts with courses or appointments may make it almost impossible to fit in extra gym classes within a short period, especially when a sport meets only two or three times a week.
It is even more illogical to flunk girls who have missed some gym classes or failed to make up cuts because of sickness or injury. Yet there are several cases of girls who repeated one or more entire quarters of gym because they spent the wrong days in the Radcliffe Health Center. A few bad breaks can keep a girl on the playing-fields till she gets her diploma.
Gym authorities should recognize that athletics competes for time with classes and other activities; they should make it easier to fulfill requirements. They can accept medical excuses for absences more readily, and allow girls to make up cuts throughout the quarter or the term; both practices work well at Harvard. A few such reforms can make regular exercise less painful, and no less beneficial, for the girls.
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