After Crushing Outdoor Club, College Bans Scuba Club from Organizing Scuba Trips


This is why Democrats love college campuses so much.

Virtually all students at Pennsylvania State University are old enough to vote. Many are old enough to drink alcohol legally.

They’re adults in the eyes of the law, and adults in the eyes of political parties, but to college administrators, they’re children who must be controlled.

That was sharply evident in the recent news that Penn State’s nearly century old outdoors club was no longer allowed outdoors without university supervision.

So, while it’s making a decision like that, how could the university even think about letting students do something as dangerous as scuba diving outside of the benevolent, protective sight of a college administration?

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Obviously, it can’t.

As writer Robby Soave reported this week for the conservative website Reason, the Nittany Divers Scuba Club, now 50 years old, would no longer be allowed to organize scuba diving trips for its members.

“Members of the club will still be able to discuss and celebrate scuba, according to an announcement on the Nittany Divers’ Facebook page,” Soave wrote. “But they can never act on their feelings in any official, formal capacity.”

That would be taking on too much adult responsibility, apparently. The club will be allowed to play act the part, though.

Do college students even need college campuses anymore?

“We will just serve as a special interest organization for scuba divers and people interested in scuba diving,” the group’s leader, Alex Pulice, told Soave.

What’s interesting here is that the university’s proffered reasons for reining in the activities of the Nittany Divers, along with the university’s Outing Club and its Grotto Caving Club, have changed since the decision was first announced.

According to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article published April 18, the university originally justified its decision by saying the clubs’ activities take place too far away from emergency services, if they were to be needed.

However, in a new article on Wednesday, the Post-Gazette reported the university was now claiming “misuse of alcohol” as the real reason for the decision.

Neither excuse holds water.

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If students are old enough to legally drink, they’re old enough to do so whether they’re scuba diving, cave exploring or hiking through the woods. (Whether it’s a good idea or not — especially when it comes to diving — is a different question.) And a university spokeswoman was unable to cite any specific drinking-related incident that might have led to the policy.

As to being too far from medical help, the Post-Gazette reported no serious injuries about any of the three clubs, which have a combined 218 years in existence.

Regardless of the real reason — and it almost certainly a combination of liability insurance and institutional cowardice — it’s a decision that goes far to explain just how irrelevant actual college campuses and academe are to real life.

Universities like Penn State love to talk about being able to provide safe places for their students, but when it comes to actually being places where young adults can explore the world — outside of hook-up sex — they’re ceding the field.

An accredited university offering degrees online is more useful, convenient, and a whole lot cheaper.

And universities’ constant kow-towing to political correctness means they long ago abandoned any pretense of moral superiority.

But when it comes to controlling a population of supposedly free citizens, when it comes to dictating what activities are allowed, and what aren’t (and what activities are compulsory), American universities in the 21st century are reaching further than ever.

So, intellectually obsolete, morally bankrupt, but still obsessed with control: Just what major political party in the United States does that remind you of?

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.