Savannah State University’s athletic department has introduced their most recent public safety protocol for campus sports events. Athletic Director Opio Mashariki along with his staff have decided to implement a clear bag policy for every athletic event, only permitting transparent bags.
Mashariki said, “We always have to look at safety first. Whenever we are having an event, we want to make sure the patrons there are safe. Part of that is making sure that they bring in clear bags because that hasn’t happened here.”
Mashariki made comparisons between the athletics department at Savannah State University and other collegiate athletic departments around the U.S.
“You can go all over the country, and there is a clear bag policy or procedure,” said the director.
Mashariki’s main concern is clearly ensuring that spectators have a sense of safety in a venue that is essentially promoting a celebration of our athletes.
“Each year we look at what we can do to make sure our patrons are safe, and what we can continue to get better doing,” said Mashariki. “We didn’t have anything in place as it pertains to that (clear bag policy). You know change is hard, however we want to make sure our people stay safe.”
When asked why this policy took so long to be implemented, Mashariki could not comment.
Should a spectator be unaware of the policy at an athletic event, Mashariki says that he and the athletic staffing of events has made the necessary provisions for those that arrive at the venues with opaque bags.
“We have been providing free clear bags, so if someone comes to the venue and doesn’t have one then we have a clear bag there,” said Mashariki.
Mashariki says he wants to consider other safety measures while he serves his tenure.
“We always look at safety measures. So, as we continue to assess what we are doing right or we see some things that we can improve on, we always continue to look and see what is the best way to keep our people safe,” said the director. “There’s nothing specific that I can say right now. You know, there are some venues that may have metal detectors and things of that nature, and if we deem that is necessary for us, then we’ll look in that avenue as well.”
To this date, there have been no unfortunate incidents at any of Savannah State’s athletic events, and hopefully this procedure will be the only policy needed to keep our events safe.