Texas Performing Arts venues increase security, includes metal detectors and clear bag policy

Lauren Grobe

Texas Performing Arts increased the security at their venue entrances to include metal detectors, a new policy on bags and wands for security guards.

The new security policy went into effect Oct. 22 at all Texas Performing Arts venues, including Bass Concert Hall, McCullough Theatre and Bates Recital Hall. The policy was instituted to match security at other locations on campus, such as athletic buildings, said Tara Vela, Texas Performing Arts managing director.  

“It becomes difficult when someone says, ‘I have a different experience when I go to this facility and I have this experience when I go to this facility,’ and we’re one entity located in the same space,” Vela said.

Vela said a clear bag policy was implemented after guests were noncompliant with a limited bag size policy.

“Change, obviously, is hard, and we spent a few years trying to educate people coming to our events and let them know we were starting to limit bag size,” Vela said.

The new security also added metal detectors. Amita Srinivasan, co-director of Student Government’s disability and inclusion agency, said the detectors would affect disabled students such as those with cochlear implants, canes and wheelchairs.

“The biggest concern is a wheelchair being able to fit through,” Srinivasan said. “I don’t know if the metal detectors are wide enough.”

At Bass Concert Hall, the largest venue, Vela said guests can choose to enter through the accessibility entrance and be checked by a guard with a metal detector wand rather than going through the main entrance.

Caroline Graves, Disability Advocacy Student Coalition president, said this entrance may be hard for new guests to locate.

“The only thing they have to mark that entrance is a little piece of paper taped to the door,” government junior Graves said.

Vela said the venues typically don’t have issues with accessibility, though the entrance has been moved to the far right set of doors.

“It’s not in the same location it used to be in because it needs to be near to where the security team is and also close to our ticket office,” Vela said.

Graves said while finding the entrance was difficult, she was still satisfied with the access at Bass.

“Overall, I have been pretty impressed … with Performing Arts,” Graves said. “Now having a clear bag policy, I feel like (the venues have) all the same security you would expect.”


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