The article reports:
The Penn State Outing Club, originally founded in 1920, announced last week that the university will no longer allow the club to organize outdoor, student-led trips starting next semester. The hiking, camping and other outdoors-focused activities the student-led club has long engaged in are too risky, the university’s offices of Student Affairs and Risk Management determined.
The decision was based on a two-month review that didn’t include consultation with student leaders at any of the clubs deemed too risky, according to students.
Two other outdoor recreation clubs — the spelunking Nittany Grotto Caving Club and the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club — also have been directed to end trip offerings.
“Safety is a legitimate concern, but it wasn’t an open dialogue,” Waltz said.
So what new hazards have been added to the wilderness since 1920? Is our current crop of students so delicate that outdoors is too dangerous for them?
I suspect this move was made to protect the school from lawsuits in case someone got sunburned or got a splinter from gathering firewood, but I think it is totally ridiculous.
The article concludes:
Penn State conducted a “proactive risk assessment” not based on any previous participant injuries, according to Powers. She said Outing Club activities were rated high risk because they take place in remote environments with poor cell service and distance from emergency services.
Penn State still will offer a university-operated outdoors trip program, Powers said. The university-run program also costs much more for students, Waltz contended.
There’s a difference between going with somebody you paid to take you on a trip and going with a bunch of your friends, Lacey said.
Powers said Penn State staff members are meeting with student leaders about the transition and how the university might still support each group’s goals.
On June 29, 2014, Time posted an article with the headline, “Pentagon: 7 in 10 Youths Would Fail to Qualify for Military Service.” Do you think there might be a connection between that and not allowing a college outdoor club to go outdoors because it’s too risky?