Penn State has closed the doors on its 98-year-old Outing Club on the grounds that it threatens “student safety.”
The Penn State Outing has offered students the opportunity to engage in hiking, canoeing, kayaking, trail building and other activities of the sort for almost a century. Now, it has closing its doors after university administrators decided that these activities are too dangerous for students.
“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 announcement about the group’s closure reads.
Two similar Penn State clubs were also forced to shut down. The Nittany Grotto Caving Club and the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club were also victims of the administration’s recent risk assessment evaluation.
In a comment to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the president of the Outing Club, student Richard Waltz, said that Penn State officials made the decision unilaterally. “Safety is a legitimate concern, but it wasn’t an open dialogue. What’s happening to the club is a shame and negatively impacts the student experience,” Waltz said.
In a conversation on Penn State’s Reddit page, members of the community blasted the university for shutting down the club. “They should just go a step further and ban students from stepping outside because there are squirrels and rabbits out and it would be too risky,” one user wrote.
Other users chided the university, accusing it of hypocrisy for propping up the university’s popular football program while shutting down the Outing Club.
“In other news, football which leads to a ton of concussions and brain damage is A-OK because it makes the University a metric butt-ton of money. I’m done donating to this University, it’s not the one I fell in love with,” another user wrote.