Penn State Disbands Outing Club Because of “Risk.”

By Faye Higbee

A 98 year old outdoor club at Penn State has been disbanded because of the “risk” to students who participate.  You know, hiking, kayaking, backpacking…it’s just to “risky” for students to do it. After all, going outdoors is just not what the nanny state wants students to do.

“This is a result of an assessment of risk management by the university that determined that the types of activities in which PSOC engages are above the university’s threshold of acceptable risk for recognized student organizations.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported,

After a two-month review that did not include consultation with student Outing Club leaders, the university’s offices of Student Affairs and Risk Management made the determination that the hiking, canoeing, kayaking, trail building and camping activities the student-led club has long engaged in are too risky. The club is one of the oldest entirely student-run organizations at Penn State.

“Student safety in any activity is our primary focus,” Lisa Powers, a Penn State University spokeswoman, said in an email response to questions about the school’s assessment.

Ms. Powers said the university conducted reviews of all campus recreation-supported student groups — 76 sport and three outdoor recreation organizations — to evaluate student safety risks and produce assessment reports. She declined to provide a copy of the assessment report for the Outing Club, saying it is not a public document.

Since when is life free of risk?

According to the article, the Nittany Grotto Caving Club and the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club were also dumped. But for some reason they left the Rifle club intact…which is a total surprise, given the current political climate.

The Outing Club has 169 members. And some think part of this action has to do with money. The club has typically charged about $25 per trip. But the school, who says their “Outdoor Adventures” leaders are better trained, charges between $90 and $130 per trip.

The club’s leadership is not planning to bag it just yet, and wants to work with school administrators to find a solution. The decision reportedly does not come from any past history of student injuries or deaths from those “dangerous” hiking/kayaking activities.

Being sued for any outdoor recreation activity appears to be within their “risk management” assessment. But if our society continues to be afraid of lawsuits, then we are doomed to lose out on all of the joys of living.