Editorial: Clear bag policy step in right direction, disadvantageous to women


Ryan Young/Iowa State Daily

A view of the new south end zone at Jack Trice Stadium with just more than a week before the first game of the 2015 season.

Editorial Board

In August, Iowa State Athletics announced it would be debuting a “clear bag” policy that limits the size and the types of bags that can be brought into Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum.

Saturday’s home game against South Dakota State University marked the first implementation of the policy, with Iowa State following a larger trend across the NFL and other collegiate conferences to tighten safety standards and procedures. 

“The clear bag policy speeds up entry and provides a safer experience for all fans,” Megan Rodenburg, staffing coordinator for Iowa State Athletics department, told the Iowa State Daily in August.

The policy also, Rodenburg said, aligns with the policies that the “South Eastern Conference, Big 10 and NFL programs have in place.”

Yet when the NFL first announced it would be enforcing the bag policy in 2013 it was met with upset by fans — specifically women — who oftentimes prefer privacy when carrying personal belongings such as feminine hygiene products.

And this concern still carries weight today. While Iowa State exempts diaper bags as well as bags containing medical items from having to be clear, their items are still subject to search.

If a bag does not meet the security requirement, fans are asked to return their items to their apartment, dorm or car. The last alternative? Leave it outside — Iowa State is leaving an unsecured area outside each gate where one can leave their personal belongings. 

If fans choose not to pursue any of those options, they can just throw their belongings away.

While it is noble and on par with its collegiate and professional partners for Iowa State to prioritize the safety of its fans through implementing this policy, Iowa State’s level of concern for it’s fans belongings matches that of its counterparts — little to none.

It should be just as important for stadiums, whether NFL or collegiate, to build locker space for one’s belongings, in case a fan forgets — or is unaware — of the “clear bag” policy so they do not have to leave their personal items for anyone to take, or have to throw them away should a car or apartment not be nearby.

When implementing this policy, too, stadiums should recognize the overt violation of privacy that it puts on women who now unable to hide feminine hygiene products in their purse.

Iowa State Athletics is right to follow in the footsteps of many of its collegiate partners, however, a faster entry process and safer experience should not come at the violation of privacy and cost that it does for fans unaware about the policy shift.