Education

Penn State Slaps Bans On Three Outdoor Clubs Because Nature Is Way Too Dangerous

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Pennsylvania State University banned three of its outdoors clubs from conducting outdoor trips, according to a Monday report.

Penn State’s student affairs and risk management department deemed camping, hiking, and other activities of the 98-year-old Outing Club too dangerous, AP News reported.

“Student safety in any activity is our primary focus,” Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The school banned the Outing Club, along with Penn State’s Nittany Divers SCUBA Club and Nittany Grotto Caving Club from conducting any more trips.

Powers identified guides who lacked expertise and the mixture of alcohol with already dangerous activities as reasons behind the bans while speaking with The Daily Caller News Foundation. The school deemed 20 out of 79 assessed clubs to have risky activities, with the three aforementioned clubs having high-risk activities.

“The three groups are being disbanded in their current high-risk model and are actually being re-organized to provide more oversight of activities by trained and professional staff,” the spokeswoman told TheDCNF. “We have been discussing concerns with group leaders for more than 10 months and focusing on how to help the clubs reach national standards for their activities in regard to safety.”

“Safety is a legitimate concern, but it wasn’t an open dialogue,” outgoing Outing Club president Richard Waltz said. “What’s happening to the club is a shame and negatively impacts the student experience.”

Outgoing Outing Club treasurer Timothy Hackett reported not knowing of any injuries students suffered as a result of his club’s activities during his four years at the school.

But Powers termed Penn State’s risk assessment “proactive,” as opposed to based on any past injuries. The Outing Club’s activities earned high-risk grades because they occur in remote locations sometimes far from emergency care and with bad cell phone reception, she said.

“Our increasingly litigious society is making it far more difficult for people to get outside without the fear of lawsuits for any misstep,” incoming Outing Club president Christina Platt said. “I can hardly blame Penn State for protecting itself against further litigation after a number of high-profile scandals in the past decade.”

Users on social media sites like Reddit and Facebook, some of whom are Penn State alumni, generally expressed displeasure with the decision.

“To current students: you are getting f***ed out of what should be the experience of a lifetime, because your school is run today by a bunch of bureaucrats and babysitters,” read the most up-voted comment on the official Penn State Reddit announcement.

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