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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus Rec calls off Mexico trip

    Kayaks hang tethered to ceiling of a storage container as Kate Morley, an urban planning graduate student, pulls boxes of supplies and water from the container in backyard of the Campus Recreation Outdoor Adventures office at 1629 E. Seventh St. in preparation for a backpacking trip in Utah over the break.
    Kayaks hang tethered to ceiling of a storage container as Kate Morley, an urban planning graduate student, pulls boxes of supplies and water from the container in backyard of the Campus Recreation Outdoor Adventures office at 1629 E. Seventh St. in preparation for a backpacking trip in Utah over the break.

    As students around campus gear up for spring break travel, many will consider Mexico as a destination, despite recent warnings from the Dean of Students Office. But, for students involved with Outdoor Adventures, that decision was made for them.

    Campus Recreation Director Juliette Moore made the decision to cancel a scheduled sea kayaking trip to Isla Tiburon in northwestern Mexico that OA was planning to run next week.

    “”We consulted with the Dean of Students Office,”” Moore said. “”They said it was our decision to make and I chose to make this decision.””

    The verdict was handed down to students planning to go on the trip on Feb. 26, two weeks after the dean of students issued an e-mail that advised students to avoid travel to Mexico during spring break.

    Bruce Richar, OA’s assistant director, said this was the first time in 18 years that the campus recreation director had cancelled an OA trip.

    “”Safety is OA’s first priority,”” Richar said.

    OA runs over 60 trips every year. Some are to Mexico, but many are located within Arizona and the western United States.

    The sea kayaking trip to Isla Tiburon, one of OA’s most popular and longest-running trips, utilizes Mexico’s Highway 15 as a main transportation route. The issue of transportation was a main factor in the decision-making process, Moore said.

    “”The waiver the students sign is for the trip, not for the transportation to and from,”” Moore said. “”It’s not saying that we waive the right to sue you if we get caught up in the drug cartels. It doesn’t cover that.””

    Carol Thompson, dean of students, stood by Moore’s decision.

    “”Ultimately the director of any department has the decision about what goes on in their program,”” Thompson said. “”It wouldn’t be uncommon for department heads to make those decisions, especially when safety is an issue.””

    Although Richar was unhappy about the cancellation, he said there was little he could do.

    “”If the dean of students makes a call, then I either decide to go along with that, or suffer any consequences. I’m not comfortable suffering any of those consequences,”” Richar said.

    Some students said the cancelled trip and the Mexico travel advisory upset them.

    The dean of students advisory is overstated because it is based on the State Department advisory that does not include warnings for the area of Mexico students on the trip would be visiting, said Seth Davis, a science education senior, OA employee and would-be guide for the trip. There have never been any safety problems with the trip in the past, he said.

    In addition, OA has lost money on the cancellation, Davis said, because it designs its budget for maintenance and equipment upkeep with incoming trip fees in mind. Davis himself will lose nine of his 40 annual working days because of the cancellation, he said.

    Tatiana Nieuwenhuys, an economics senior who would have gone on the trip, said she was given a full refund but was still disappointed about not being able to go.

    OA offered to replace the sea-kayaking trip with an alternative canoeing trip in Utah, but that was also cancelled due to lack of interest, she said.

    “”This trip sounded really cool, and I really like kayaking,”” Nieuwenhuys said. “”I was definitely bummed that I couldn’t go snorkeling and spear-fishing with three male guides.””

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