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Penn State cuts support for outdoor clubs because they are not perfectly safe

The coming dark age: Penn State has pulled all support for three outdoor clubs, two that have existed for 70 and 100 years respectively, because a risk analysis suggested they were simply too risky.

These organizations have a long history attached to Penn State.

Nittany Grotto has been a resource that introduced students to caving with regularly scheduled Wednesday trips for 70 years, while the Outing Club is nearing the century mark in bringing students together hiking, backpacking, kayaking and enjoying the outdoors in whatever capacity possible.

“Losing affiliation with the university as a recognized student organization or club sport at Penn State means losing all privileges granted to a student organization,” Outing Club president Christina Platt said via email. “These privileges include the ability to reserve rooms to meet on campus, to be protected with $1,000,000 liability insurance, to use ASA to manage club funds, to fundraise through special university funding opportunities (such as stadium cleanup), to recruit at the Involvement Fair, and to use the university name on merchandise.”

More here, which notes the following:

Two other outdoor recreation clubs — the spelunking Nittany Grotto Caving Club and the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club — also have been directed to end trip offerings.

“Safety is a legitimate concern, but it wasn’t an open dialogue,” Waltz said. Christina Platt, the Outing Club’s incoming president, said, “I can hardly blame Penn State for protecting itself against further litigation after a number of high-profile scandals in the past decade.” Student safety is the school’s primary focus, university spokeswoman Lisa Powers said in a statement.

Penn State conducted a “proactive risk assessment” not based on any previous participant injuries, according to Powers. She said Outing Club activities were rated high risk because they take place in remote environments with poor cell service and distance from emergency services.

I guess students must only be allowed in a safe space where nothing bad can ever happen to them, and they can therefore avoid the horror of experiencing life to its fullest.

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  • Alex Andrite

    A recreation club for marshmallows is needed.
    Please do not hurt my marshmallow.

    My fondest memories of youth, and even now old age, are ones of facing and defeating risk, sometimes with risk leaving its marks on my body and soul. Yes, even knowing that unto possible death.
    Begone risk, you have no authority over me. Although, I do appreciate your suggestions, now get behind me, I have something to do.

  • FC

    “Student safety is the school’s primary focus, university spokeswoman Lisa Powers said in a statement.”

    If that were true Penn State would also ban football and ROTC.

  • Sayomara

    Back in around 2003 I was involved in helping to redesign parts of a dorm at the University I was at. And you have all heard of it so I wouldn’t put it here.

    Any ways the idea came up to have a water fall in the court yard. University risk management came back and said no way no how. However they were completely ok with us changing it to “falling water” with no design changes other than the a different title at the top.

    Risk management is terrible. But these club should have just changed there names from outdoors clubs to something like “explorers of the outside” and I’m sure they would have been fine because that is how the game is played.

  • Chris

    Ah. Penn State what a lovely jewel…
    Remember this is the school with Michael Mann and his “hockey stick” global warming “trends” where the world needed to stop everything including some breathing (I have some candidates) to curtail global warming and keep. The world safe.
    This is the school where Joe-Pa Paterno “saw NOTHING” (envision Sgt Shultz) to keep the Penn State Football program safe as Jerry Sandusky took showers with children in the locker room.
    This is the school where state lawmakers objections to the annual Sex Fair during funding hearings were met with professors writing a letter citing – get this – protecting the student’s Constitutional Rights to have the (University Woman’s club sponsored) Sex Fair. I’m glad they are keeping the students unalienable rights safe.

    Now back to this line on the clubs looosing their school sponsor funding ability -paraphrasing: “loss of privileges include….fundraise through special university funding opportunities (stadium cleanup)”.
    Yes, stadium clean up. The very privilege to enter and clean the hallowed ground of PS football. Penn State revolves around it’s football program and ALL are made to pay homage to it. Ignore the fact that the sport itself has many risks-both short (direct playing injuries) and long term (repeated concussions).
    Ignore the fact that the fans and administration NEVER understood the gravity of the child abuse of Sandusky NOR truly acknowledged this gravity (Penn State football would STILL be suspended if I ran the NCAA)
    Ignore the fact that each Penn State football game causes untold amounts of “Michael Mann earth frying CO2” to be released due to just fan travel alone.

    No, hiking and camping, spelunking and kayaking are far too dangerous putting the university at financial risk and risking the safety of the students. Chugging beers outside a PS Football game is so much safer.

    Sometimes I wonder if an ‘of’ is missing between the ‘P’ and the ‘S”
    (I hope that doesn’t offend Bob.)

  • wayne

    “Don’t Bother Children When They Are Skateboarding” – the musical cut
    [Rule #11]
    Dr. Jordan Peterson & Akira the Don
    January 2018

  • Cotour

    I think that the university should just require a responsibility release form that the students parents MUST sign before they can go on a field trip.

    That is what was required when I was in the third grade and it seemed to work just fine.

  • Ted

    I have been attending the AAUW Used book sale at the Penn State Snyder AG Center for almost 15 years. It right across the street from the football stadium. In earlier years they handed out numbers for folks in line for orderly admittance. If memory serves at one time they announced over 700 people were in the building. Now they are limiting it to a max of 450. Reason “if there is an emergency we need to get people out fast” or some such baloney. This building has huge truck sized garage doors so they can bring in livestock for agricultural events. In all the years I went nary a single accident on the sales floor. No fires, floods, tornado etc.

    Book buyers used to be able to stack up their purchases in corners and along walls as they shopped. Nope, not any more. Now you have to carry them up a flight of stairs to an upper location. And then of course carry them down. No risk there.

    The reason given by the AAUW is that the University rents the building to them and they have to abide by their safety rules.
    So I guess there are too many risks in the buying of used books and cd’s and video’s …. or maybe someone has their panties in a twist due to the commerce being carried on. I wonder how the AAUW will feel as less and less book buyers visit the sale – it was just too dangerous.

  • wayne

    good stuff.
    very enlightening.

  • Cotour

    I don’t know if you remember Wayne, but if you did not have that mimeographed paper a “release form” with the blue lettering signed by your parents you sat in the library for the day.

    On a more serious note the manic left can not think of any more counter intuitive actions to take to undo what we all know is common sense and “Normal” and American. They are their own worst enemy in the long run, eventually even the most insane among them must be questioned and ultimately turned on.

    On that note I re post this piece I wrote the other day on the subject:


    And why is that?

    Trump’s style, his simplistic way with words, his seeming intuitive flexibility and ability to transmute and utilize “facts” to suit his goals, Trump speaks of American values and national interests and the Constitution, which when all seen as one is a force that existentially threatens the foundation of the Lefts entire heavily invested in for many, many years disassembly of America as founded. And so the Democrats are frantically working across all media to reinforce over and over again in an almost manic media mantra everything and anything that they can spin as being a negative related to Trump. They attempt to shape the subconscious of the malleable and more emotional members of the public. In other words, more than likely, YOU!

    Its Trump 24 / 7 / 365 for the Left and their insanity and insistence that Trump conspired with the Russians, even though no evidence as emerged after over a year of investigation, Trump is a “Liar”, Trump is “crazy”, Trump is embarrassing,Trump was put in office by the Russians, Trump is illegitimate, etc, etc. These are all powerful indicators of some really scared political actors on the Left, this coming 2018 midterm election is a major make or break election for them. Thats why they are so actively yelling and shouting “FIRE” where ever and when ever they can in the halls of Congress and broadcast on the screens of their many media cohorts.

    The truth from my point of view however, which in reality is what must be driving them like scurrying steroid infused rats on a burning ship, obstructing and denying when ever and where they can, truly terrifies them. And what is that truth? Trump is just an American meatball politician, with American interests in mind, who finds himself with a unique set of ruthless skills of manipulation honed over a life time of dealing in the second most corrupt and dirty cities on the planet besides Washington D.C., New York City, and has a strong vision about America that he intends to manifest that if realized will certainly destroy the Democrat party as formulated today, and that formulation is now Leftist lead and anti American. Not that the everyday American Democrat is a leftist, no far from that, but the everyday American Democrat must come to understand that the leadership of their party is now full blown, full blood Leftist lead. Doubt me not.

    The Democrats viscerally fear the sustained loss of real power should Trump be able to retain the majority in government and will do ANYTHING, and I mean anything, to not allow this politically deadly to them potential to emerge. ANYTHING!

    So fear not, the contrived chaos and insanity in the media that we are all witnessing in the end is actually a good thing, its a good sign. It sounds counter intuitive but in order to properly understand and make sense of Washington D.C. and American politics and the perversion and corruption that goes on there you must train yourself to think different. So think different and be at peace.


  • Max

    I had forgotten about Sandusky molesting children in the showers at Penn State… It would appear that it is more dangerous on the campus then being outside cell phone service.

    It would appear that they are so concerned about our children and yet, for political purposes, they’re willing to risk their little lives without being responsible for the consequences.
    When parents send there children to school, it is with reasonable expectations that their children will be kept safe from unnecessary risky behavior for their age groups.
    Perhaps we need guards at elementary and junior high schools to protect the children from cars… Oh yeah, we do, they’re called crossing guards.
    It makes sense because more children are killed by cars then all other causes combined. If the nation treated cars the same as they treat guns, they would have the schools on lock down every time a car or truck would go past the school. They might even make it mandatory to have seatbelts on schoolbuses.
    I laugh to think of a military man going to Penn State on the G.I. Bill, fresh home from active duty, being told that they can’t go camping or other activities for their own protection.
    Here’s a thought, what if these grown children get a form signed that releases the school of responsibility and agree to bring their parents along? If there going to make it into a nanny state…

  • Cotour

    And something akin to this that is happening now in China is where these Leftists I.E. Communists are attempting to drive this bus.

    They must control everything in the end.

    YOU WILL CONFORM. (No matter what it takes)

  • wayne

    When I was in College, we were required to take 2 credits from a selection of; archery, camping, canoeing, volleyball/soccer, ice-skating, “P.E.” class ( dodgeball, push-ups, etc., just like High School) and not-surprisingly, basket-weaving and pottery were included as well.

    In Elementary School, we had (in retrospect) a large number of field-trips. (like once a month) If we left the building, we all had signed slips & generally a Mom or two from the PTA who would go along with the teacher(s).

    “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”
    -the relevant mimeograph paper scene-

  • pzatchok

    Why are we calling these young people children?
    Every single one of them could join the military and die for this nation without permission from their parents or school.

    These very same young people go on archeological digs around the world. Some in dangerous environments and in dangerous political areas.
    My brother went to Panama, The Dominican Republic and a very remote are of Russia. All while a student. he even went to Russia in a wheel chair after his MS kicked in hard.

    This whole thing sounds fishy. I bet someone on the Risk assessment team would change their mind for a little cash donation. Heck they are probably waiting for it.

  • Cotour

    They are technically calling them “Students”, but treating them like children, very, very young and delicate children, almost toddlers.

  • Keith

    Just a thought — with all the stuff that’s gone on at Penn State in the past 10 years or so, perhaps the insurance companies have raised their premiums so high that they are looking to limit any future liabilities, even if it means that they insanely restrict harmless student activities.

  • Edward

    From the article: “the main goal being to keep student safety as the top priority for these groups and their activities,” Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers provided in a statement.

    Do they still allow their students to drive cars? Do they allow cars on campus? Surely these are a greater danger than a little nature walk, and parking lots are known to be dangerous places.

    What about bathrooms. These are said to be dangerous, too. Perhaps they should also be banned from campus — for the children, of course.

    What about knives? London is banning people from carrying knives, as they are the primary murder weapon there. London reportedly has a higher murder rate than New York City. Clearly knives need to be banned from Penn State, too.

    pzatchok asked: “Why are we calling these young people children?

    Because the university thinks that they are children, or they are being treated that way. Obama even treats people as children up to the age of 26, the age at which he thinks they become adult enough to become independent of their parents and buy their own health insurance. Max is right that they are turning the university and the country into a nanny state.

  • Jose Cintron

    Although I agree with the basic premise of the report, I am going to play devil’s advocate here and say I understand the PS for trying to keep the precious snow flakes safe. Remember this, unfortunately, we live in an extremely litigious society. You see law suits all the time for stupid things like I fell and twisted an ankle. I agree that the folks that participate in these activities are all aware of what can happen. But you can not forget that people want to make a quick buck at someone else’s expense. So imagine that snow flake Cindy looses a leg while caving with the group; can you imagine the lawsuit that follows? Now I am sure the school wants no part in that.

    Now don’t get me wrong I don’t agree with this since there is no way that anyone can provide a 100% safe space for anythig or anyone. But at some deep, very deep, level I can understand it.

  • Edward

    Jose Cintron wrote: “unfortunately, we live in an extremely litigious society. You see law suits all the time for stupid things like I fell and twisted an ankle.

    This is what liability insurance is for. Ironically, such insurance may be a major reason for the extremely litigious society in the first place; many treat the courts as an alternate to the lottery and as a way to avoid personal responsibility for their own actions.

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