The UCSB Dept. of Exercise & Sports Studies will eliminate its Exercise and Sports Studies minor after the university administration’s vote to cut the program last year due to budget constraints.

ESS will have to become a certificate program because departments are required to offer either a major or a minor. The institution offers classes on nutrition, fitness and sports science that are available for Fall 2011 registration.

According to exercise and health science professor Art Gilbert, the administration may further cut the department’s available classes.

“We do not know specifically that the ESS classes are being dropped,” Gilbert said. “There’s a good possibility, though. The students want these classes. I think it’s sad for students to no longer have an opportunity to take classes they value.”

UCSB alumni Adam Goldman said the department’s downsizing reflects the UC system’s financial shortfalls.

“My impression after talking with [UCSB Dean of Social Sciences Melvin Oliver] is that they’re throwing their hands up in the air because they’re getting cuts from the state,” Goldman said. “The dean’s focus is on everyone getting a degree [and] because it’s not a minor anymore, it’s not a priority. It takes up money and time. The chancellor is our last hope.”

Students held several campus rallies last year to prevent the department cuts and allow undergraduates already enrolled in the program to finish the minor.

Shaye Huggins, a second-year psychology and Spanish major, said the program provides unique courses that impart valuable real-world knowledge.

“The classes teach good skills for life,” Huggins said. “There’s also a social aspect to it, to take classes you normally wouldn’t take with the same people. I look forward to them as a relief from my normal classes.”