Ames’ Campustown is quiet and put back together after thousands of people took to the streets late Tuesday night and into the early morning hours.
Ames police arrested two people Tuesday night and one Wednesday who were caught on video disrupting the peace.
While the events weren’t part of the official VEISHEA celebrations at Iowa State University, school officials made a decision about the rest of the week’s festivities based on what happened.
“It was kind of crazy,” ISU junior Zach Mlcoch says.
“There was just a swarm of people and it got really out of hand,” Ellie Carver, ISU freshman desribes.
The street-party atmosphere turned into a mob when the crowd began to flip over cars, knock down street signs and climb up light poles in Campustown.
One of the poles came crashing down — on a student.
“A group of my friends saw the guy get hit in the head. They said it was pretty gruesome, pretty shook up from it,” says Mlcoch.
Officials say the student’s family asked that he not be named. He is listed in stable condition in the ICU at a Des Moines hospital.
While their thoughts are with the injured student, Iowa State University President Steven Leath says what happened is an embarrassment to the university.
“It is with mixed feelings and a heavy heart that I decided to suspend the remainder of this VEISHEA starting at 5 o’clock tonight, so it’s done,” Leath said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.
Done for this year and possibly for good. If the event doesn’t continue it would bring an end to the beloved ISU tradition of 92 years.
“We used to blame some of these issues on people that came to Ames from out of town and caused these problems. It’s never us. Well this time it was us,” Leath said during a press conference.
A few unruly students, ruining the long-awaited celebration for many on campus.
“It was a Tuesday night so you really don’t expect anything like that to go down,” says ISU junior Vevica Dillard.
Leath says he too is distraught and disappointed, but the university can’t jeopardize the safety of any students. “The buck stops here. I’m the one that’s responsible for the safety and welfare here.”
VEISHSEA 2014 is now over. Leath says there was little support to continue after the events that happened in Campustown. This week, the ISU president will form a task force to determine the future of the campus tradition. A decision on whether to hold future VEISHEA events will be made in the next month.
VEISHEA week has been marred by problems since the late 1980’s. In 1997, 19-year-old Harold Sellers was stabbed to death while celebrating. Michael Runyon was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Alcohol was banned from the 1998 VEISHEA celebration in response to the murder.
In 2004, a riot broke out. A crowd of about 400 turned violent when police tried to break up a party. It took police about five hours to get the situation under control. There were no serious injuries but the 2005 VEISHEA celebration was cancelled.