ARRESTS MADE: 2014 VEISHEA Events Canceled

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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.

veishea arrestsEmily Guisinger, 18, Andrew Herkenhoff, 19, and Abigail Lee, 21, are all charged with disorderly conduct.

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.

Read more VEISHEA stories here


  • Joshua Griebahn

    As a former student, ’03-07′, I think it is unfortunate that the event is going to be canceled due to a few students acting up. It’s unfortunate their parents didn’t raise them better. The vendors that work the event, not just for the students, but for people all over the state, will be losing out on business and the chance for Ames to show itself off. Regarding the reaction from the police, I will call BS on their statements and reaction to the party. I guarantee the same thing happened that happened in 2004 when they were “attempting to break up a party”. As a passerby that night, I was walking to downtown from my apartment with roommates, when we saw the supposed “breaking up” of the party (which was on Hunt St by the way). Slamming and beating drunk 18, 19, 20, or 21 year olds against police swat vans unnecessarily caused a lash back from angry students. All they had to do was monitor and write citations, but instead, begat violence. In return, violence happened and it happened again. All are wrong in this scenario, starting with the immature kids who started throwing things. But, when police act immature due to stubborn citizens and act violently (as seen on YouTube or the news as of late), this is what you get. Now, I don’t get to take my 2 year old and wife to see the VEISHEA parade as a family, have a pancake breakfast, or visit my alma mater and enjoy the old, beautiful campus. Tis tis.

    • Linda

      Our laws are designed around the minority of those people who choose to do bad to the world. Why would we expect anything less in this situation?

      I think the tragedy isn’t that VEISHA was cancelled, but instead, the loss of respect for the tradition in which VEISHA was created for and has withstood over the years. It’s disgusting to see young people have such blatant malicious disrespect for others and their property!

      I hope each one of these students get the book thrown at them, expelled from the school if they are students, and spend some serious jail time, where they can reflect upon their stupid decisions. I’m sick and tired of people using alcohol as an excuse for bad behavior!

  • Bill Carlson

    Absolute stupidity and an embarrassment to all associated with Iowa State. I hope they catch and punish to the fullest extent every last one of these thugs! Those seen in the video flipping the car should be immediaely kicked out of ISU for good as well as being responsibe for all costs involved in the damages that they caused. The video clearly shows how easily somebody could have been crushed and killed if that car fell back on its wheels! Veishea was always a highly respected tradition and fun-filled event at Iowa State… How sad it now has to be known as a drunken thug-fest. This lousy group of low-lifes has ruined it for all.

  • isu employee

    Poor decision to cancel Veishea!!! The students are still gonna have there parties. But now they have taken away the events to draw attention. The students will most likely create there own events now. That could lead to worse problems. Crime is crime. The police deal with it everyday. No matter the place nor the event. When you get a large group of people, someone is going to do something stupid and someone’s gonna get hurt. It’s just the way it is, it’s life. Should we take away an event that generates large revenue for the city of Ames? Probably not the best way to handle the situation.

  • Ray Moore

    Canceling almost everything but some awards ceremony and the football game. We can’t cancel the game. The game is everything. The game is the life of the school. WTF is wrong with these people? How is it that FOOTBALL is more important than education for an EDUCATIONAL FACILITY?!?!?!? This just disgusts me no end.

  • Brian Campbell

    Providing a platform for adolescents to engage in a drunken Spring ritual is not the function of a university. Bemoaning the loss of a “tradition” is absurd when that tradition is Vandalism, debauchery and violence. Permanently cancel this lunacy

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