Rising sophomore Kelsey Woody said she was inspired to start the petition after she was near the April 15 armed robbery near Ehringhaus Residence Hall.
Woody said she ran into the victim after the robbery and realized how isolated she was after the victim told her of the attack.
“It could have easily been me, and I realized I had no idea how to defend myself,” Woody said.
Woody said she and other students need to know how to protect themselves in dangerous situations.
Woody said although self-defense is currently offered as a class in the Physical Education Activities Program, she feels students are not encouraged to take it because these courses do not count toward graduation hours. However, all UNC students are required to have an LFIT credit to graduate.
“I feel like it would be much smarter to place it somewhere where it will be much more accessible,” Woody said.
Director of the Lifetime Fitness and Physical Activity Programs Becca Battaglini said for self-defense to become an LFIT it would need a serious overhaul in how the course is taught.
“While self-defense is obviously an important skill to have, it doesn’t have a cardio component or any of those major fitness components that we try to offer with our other Lifetime Fitness courses,” Battaglini said.
Battaglini said a major concern with starting a self-defense LFIT is finding someone qualified to teach the course as all LFIT courses are taught by graduate students.
“I definitely think it’s a possibility. We offer a Brazilian jiu-jitsu Lifetime Fitness course, and it’s blended well within to our curriculum,” Battaglini said.
Rising junior Daphne Knudsen said she signed Woody’s petition because she took the self-defense Physical Education Activities Program course and she learned skills others should be able to access in an LFIT.
“It’s a great class that should be offered as an LFIT because it’s certainly more practical than let’s say, I don’t know, like racquet sports or whatever else,” Knudsen said.
Rising senior Bryce Edwards said LFIT gives a variety of ways for students to get exercise and a self-defense course would add a layer of practical skills.
“Even if like 20 people do, they’re going to be more informed, they’re going to know the techniques, they’ll tell their friends and it’s going to make the campus safer,” Edwards said.