Penn State says outdoors is “too risky” for student clubs… all activities must be held on campus

After nearly one hundred years of organizing outdoor activities, the Penn State Outing Club has been instructed by officials at Pennsylvania State University that they are no longer allowed to go outside on student-led trips due to safety concerns.

The decision to ban outdoors-focused activities on the grounds that they are too risky came from the university’s office of Student Affairs and Risk Management, which, according to Outing Club president Richard Waltz, never consulted them beforehand.

“Safety is a legitimate concern, but it wasn’t an open dialogue,” Waltz explained. So far, two other outdoor recreational clubs, including the spelunking Nittany Grotto Caving Club and the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club, have also been instructed to stop organizing outdoors-focused student trips.

“I can hardly blame Penn State for protecting itself against further litigation after a number of high-profile scandals in the past decade,” said Christian Platt, who will soon be replacing Richard Waltz as Outing Club president.

Still, there are a number of questions that are worth asking. First, if groups like the Penn State Outing Club have been organizing outdoors-focused activities for nearly one hundred years (since the club’s founding in 1920, to be exact), why is the school just now coming to the conclusion that the wilderness is too risky? Clearly, something has changed – either the outdoors has gotten exponentially more dangerous over the past one hundred years (which simply isn’t the case), or the school administration has become overly-cautious to the point where it is now making foolish decisions.

Second, how is it that Penn State doesn’t see the value in teaching young people about the outdoors? Millennials today are, in essence, becoming slaves to their cellphones and tablets, and rarely show any interest in outdoor activities that require them to disconnect for an extended period of time. Should Penn State really be discouraging a rare group of young people that does want to disconnect and spend their time hiking or camping rather than posting memes on social media? It seems as though the students in the Penn State Outing Club should be celebrated, not punished.

The decision by Pennsylvania State University to prohibit student-led outdoor activities on the grounds that they are too risky and dangerous is really part of a larger problem that has been emerging on high school and college campuses for many years now. Students are being constantly wrapped up in bubble wrap, so to speak, and coddled to the point where many fear it will have a serious impact on future generations, which perpetuates the cycle. Every single thing that could potentially be perceived as a physical or emotional threat to students (even something as trivial as hiking, for example), is to be done away with. Schools should care about the well-being of their students, but there comes a point where it becomes irrational and nonsensical, having the opposite effect.

On the topic of emotional coddling, just days after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, The College Fix reported that colleges and universities across the entire country “offered safe spaces to students to help them process the anger and grief they felt” as a result of the election’s outcome. “Administrators, multicultural centers, LGBTQ directors, diversity gurus and other campus leaders emailed students and posted information on Facebook telling them they understood their ‘pain,’ and advised them on where they could find safe spaces on campus to ‘process’ the election results or obtain counseling,” explained The College Fix. (Related: Millennial snowflakes now claim that calling them snowflakes damages their mental health.)

How about instead of coddling students by offering safe spaces and prohibiting “risky” outdoor activities, schools try going in the opposite direction for once and teach young people how to have thick skin? How about they teach them how to confront challenges instead of how to run away from them? These lessons are the ones that will truly prepare students for the “real world” – and after all, isn’t that the whole point of America’s education system?

Read for more news on the decline of rationality across America’s colleges.

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