UC Davis faces lawsuit after stopping physical education courses while still charging fees

Local News

DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — A legal battle involving UC Davis is playing out in Yolo County Superior Court.

“The PE program will cease to exist in the winter quarter of 2021,” former UC Davis physical education lecturer Daryl Lee told FOX40.

About a year has passed since Lee lost his job.

“Although I was shocked, I also, frankly, I wasn’t really that worried,” Lee said.

The reason Lee said he wasn’t concerned goes all the way back to the mid-1990s when UC Davis students began paying a Student Activities and Service Initiative fee.

The fees were a way to help fund the university’s athletics programs, and in exchange, students would be offered physical education classes for academic credit, or so Lee and others thought at the time.

“So that was advertised throughout the campus in the flyers,” Lee said.

UC Davis officials told FOX40 that the course credit was never technically part of the deal in a statement that read in part:

There is no agreement that obligates UC Davis to fund or operate the PE program. Neither the SASI referendum language nor the Regents’ Item that enacted the SASI fee references PE.

UC Davis administrators

“Definitely plays a really big role in mental health, just providing structure for your day,” said UC Davis student Urvashi Mahto.

Months after the school took away physical education for reasons that administrators say involve declining enrollment and no longer wanting to offer the classes for credit, Mahto became a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the UC regents, arguing students still pay nearly $400 dollars in students’ activity fees even without physical education.

“We can’t have this one thing, but we still have to pay for it,” Mahto said.

The lawsuit is asking for UC Davis to reinstate the physical education department and reimburse students for the fees paid after physical education was taken away.

“You think that the school is serving you, but it doesn’t feel like it,” Mahto said.

There’s been no decision regarding the lawsuit, but it is expected to come down sometime next year.

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