Last week, Penn State officials announced that the university’s century-old recreation club, The Penn State Outing Club, would be banned from activities such as hiking and camping, citing that the wilderness is too dangerous.
Richard Waltz states that the decision was never thoroughly discussed, and was made on the behalf of the offices of Student Affairs and Risk Management. While safety is the primary focus for officials and staff, the club’s leaders claim they were never properly included in the conversation.
The Outing Club’s incoming 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.”
After reviewing 79 of the university’s student-led extracurricular clubs, 20 were determined to involve high-risk activities, such as caving and scuba diving in places where there was no access to cell phone service in case of an emergency.
Penn State spokeswoman, Lisa Powers, stated that although the Outing Club will cease to organize anymore outdoor student-led trips, future activities will planned out by the Campus Recreation staff. They will work with the Outing Club to organize activities that continue to foster the outdoor community.
Some students, however, are not happy with the decision. One commenter states, “…this is an appalling decision made by the university and people need to know who is directly responsible.” Others claim that they have felt safe and enjoyed outdoor activities with the Outing Club, stating that the university should instead focus its efforts on prevention and awareness of issues such as sexual assault, academic cheating, and hazing.
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