Penn State’s 98-Year-Old Outing Club Staying In: ‘Outdoors Too Risky’ Say Authorities

Young schoolchild (France). In 1949 (Photo by adoc-photos/Corbis via Getty Images)
Corbis via Getty Images

Penn State University’s 98-year old Outing Club has been banned from conducting outings. The university authorities have decided the great outdoors is simply too fraught with risk for students.

According to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

A backpacking trip in the Rothrock State Forest and day hikes in the Laurel Highlands and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia were among the Penn State Outing Club’s 2018 spring-term events.

After this weekend, though, the 98-year-old organization has nothing on its calendar, and unless things change, it won’t.

The Outing Club isn’t allowed to go outside anymore.

According to an announcement posted by the club on its website last week, the university will not allow the club to organize and run outdoor, student-led trips starting next semester.

“This is a result,” the announcement said, “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 Outing Club, founded 1920, is one of Penn State’s oldest clubs.

As its website says:

Every year over 30 trips are organized. In the 90 years PSOC has gone on adventures, members have logged enough miles to hike around the world more than 4 times, paddled enough leagues to cross the Great Lakes twice, and climbed higher than every major peak in the Southern Hemisphere.

Not any more.

Still, never let it be said that the university’s decision is an authoritarian abuse of power which puts busybodying health and safety compliance before the needs of genuine student wellbeing. It seems that he Outing Club may yet be permitted to enjoy a new lease of life…

Those talks are focused on the possibility of “forming a different kind of club,” Mr. Waltz said, one that still holds film festivals and hosts speakers, but can no longer lead students on walks in the woods.

….as an outdoors-themed film club.


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