New security policy to allow only clear bags into Memorial Stadium

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In response to terrorist attacks around the world, Memorial Stadium will only allow fans to bring clear bags into the venue during football games, starting with the this season’s first home game on Sept. 17.

The new policy was adopted to increase security in the stadium after high-profile attacks in Europe and Asia. UC Berkeley Associate Athletics Director Wesley Mallette said the changes in policy are in line with security measures adopted in stadiums for professional baseball and football.

The same security measures will be put in place at Haas Pavilion, starting with the volleyball season this month. Eight of the PAC-12 stadiums have implemented similar policies.

The policy allows each person to bring clear plastic bags as large as 1 gallon or a clear plastic tote bag up to 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches.

Previously, backpacks were banned, but bags 14 inches wide were permitted, according to the Cal Athletics website. Exceptions will be made in the new policy for medically necessary items and diaper bags.

This summer, two UC Berkeley students died in attacks in Nice, France and Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mallette said that the athletics department does not want to take any chances with public safety.

“The bottom line is you don’t wait for a threat, you always make sure you’re staying on top of things. Whether you’re dealing with 53,000 in Memorial Stadium or 12,000 in Haas (Pavillion), you always keep your patrons’ safety a priority,” Mallette said.

According to Mallette, UC Police Department and other security experts made suggestions for the new policies.

“The clear bag policy will help improve public safety and speed up fan entry into the Cal games,” said UC Police Department spokesperson Sabrina Reich in an email. “It’s a win-win.”

According to UCLA Associate Athletic Director Mike Dowling, UCLA’s Rose Bowl will be implementing a clear bag policy and using electronic screening this fall.

In May, the NFL Committee on Security unanimously recommended a similar policy for all affiliated stadiums starting with the 2016 pre-season. Levi’s Stadium, home to the San Francisco 49ers, has had a clear bag policy since 2014.

Officials there say the policy resulted in security lines running two minutes faster than the NFL’s eight-minute security line standard last year.

Campus third-year student Amy Hu said the new security measures were not unexpected given their increase in major venues across the country.

“(The policy) restricts what you can bring in, but it might be for the better,” Hu said.


Contact Pressly Pratt at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @prezzliray.