Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:
If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
Cortaro, AZ 85652
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.