The University”s Athletic Department will institute a new policy this weekend prohibiting all bags and purses from Michigan Stadium, Yost Ice Arena and Crisler Arena.

“I certainly hope that people understand that this is not an attempt to create an inconvenience,” said Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown. A joint initiative of the Athletic Department and DPS, the policy is intended “to provide a safe a sound environment for fans, players and anyone else attending the game,” Brown added.

The policy was created in response to security issues following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Prohibited items include alcoholic beverages all containers, including aerosol and spray cans coolers, bottles, and thermoses food camcorders and tripods umbrellas and seat backs flags and flagpoles strollers and weapons.

According to the Athletic Department, the list of banned items periodically changes. The new policy focuses on fixing a loophole as long as fans are allowed to carry containers or backpacks, weapons and other banned items may be carried in the container.

“Since September 11, we became more aggressive at enforcing this,” Brown said. “We have to be at a more heightened sense of awareness.” While packs and containers have long been subject to search, “rarely did large bags ever get stopped at the gate,” she added.

The Athletic Department suggests that people should bring only what”s necessary for tomorrow”s game.

“What we bring to the games is in terms of what we wear and how loud we are,” said Paul Hinshaw, a student in “The Crew,” a University fan group that wears hardhats and cheers at football games. “What we”ve done in the past is hang the opposing team”s mascot from a string attached to a pole, but we were stopped from doing that.” Hinshaw also emphasized that the spirit of the game should not be affected by the changes.

Not needing to search bags “will give police officers a better opportunity to look out for behavior of people and hidden things,” Brown said. “The biggest issue with Crisler and Yost is that they don”t have a prohibited items list.”

While the original policy changes only affected the football stadium, the Athletic Department and DPS decided to include the other two arenas to keep policies consistent. The new policy will last only as long as it has to, she added.

Other colleges, such as Michigan State University, have been using similar policies but differ on the reach of the restrictions. Michigan State”s policy states that absolutely all packages are prohibited.

“We certainly stepped up our police presence,” said Lt. John McCandless, special events coordinator at the Michigan State Department of Police and Public Safety. “People have to be sensitive to the fact that we are trying to create a safe environment.”

What”s banned

o Bags of any size, including purses, fanny packs, backpacks, diaper bags and camera and binocular cases

o Coolers, bottles, thermoses, alcoholic beverages and food

o Flags and flagpoles

o All containers, including spray cans

o Umbrellas and seat backs

What”s allowed

o Non-pocket, non-zip seat cushions

o Binoculars without cases

o Pagers and mobile phones

o Clear, sealed water bottles

o Small cameras and radios

SOURCE: Michigan Athletic Department

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