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2014 saw the last ever VEISHEA at Iowa State University Courtesy: @AmesProbs

Iowa State University President Steven Leath says all VEISHEA activities will be suspended as of 5:00 p.m. Wednesday night.

Leath held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the incident that happened in Ames’ Campustown area late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

A car was overturned, light poles were torn down, and people in the crowd lobbed bottles at police officers responding to the scene.

Leath says he holds extreme disappointment over the incident and is embarrassed for the university and the community.

He says the decision to suspend 2014’s VEISHEA activities was made after consulting with several ISU officials including former university president Gregory Goeffroy, and the conclusion was reached with a mixed-mind and a heavy heart. It was based on the safety of students and the community, which is the school’s number one priority.

Watch the entire news conference

One person was seriously injured when he was hit with a light pole as it was toppled. His name hasn’t been released but he is in the ICU at a Des Moines hospital. He is listed in stable condition.

Leath says they are working with police to help identify the people involved in the Campustown incident. They could face criminal charges as well as action by the university that could lead to expulsion.

Two people have been arrested so far.

The future of VEISHEA remains uncertain. President Leath says a task force is being formed to make recommendations about the event’s future. He says if VEISHEA continues, it’s unlikely it will survive in its current form.

Leath also told the assembled crowd that in the past, some VEISHEA problems were blamed on out-of-towners coming to Ames to participate in the event, but with issue happening so early in the week, “This time it was us.”

Read more VEISHEA stories here


  • Don

    So, because he didn’t plan properly for security against a tiny minority of hooligans who don’t represent the students or faculty in any way, the following innocent must suffer:

    – all time and materials spent on floats for the parade, straight to the landfill

    – all of the high school marching band practice and travel arrangements – down the drain

    – all of the time taken off work, airfare and hotel expenses to come to veishea, by alumni, recruiters research grant entities etc

    – all of the plans for prospective students to come see the campus – cancelled

    This guy needs to be FIRED

    • RoccoB


      ISU campus police do not police City of Ames streets or private/civic properties off campus.
      Yeah…they may help out at times but this is Ames cops turf.
      They should have busted heads at the onset.

    • Just a Dumb Voter

      Tell us, Don, what you personally did to prevent the minority of hooligans from damaging other people’s property?

    • Michaela Daniels

      not at all. this will put the students on notice to hold each OTHER accountable. I’d look for this ‘celebration’ to be DONE. ISU students made my local news….here in Russia! i don’t think i had EVER seen ISU make the news here before….

      • Don

        “not at all. this will put the students on notice to hold each OTHER accountable.”

        how exactly, in a campus with an enrollment of 33,241, were the 32,000+ students who were either studying, preparing VEISHEA events, working at a job, resting or some other responsible lawful activity, supposed to ‘hold each OTHER (those at the scene of the disturbance) accountable?!?!’

        please be specific

        time to quit blaming/punishing the vast majority of students who were dutifully doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing last night

      • Don

        and another thing, if you’re in Russia, shouldn’t YOU be ‘taking accountability’ for what’s going on in Ukraine?

        (or is that beyond your control?)

  • Don

    roccoB claims: ‘ISU campus police do not police City of Ames streets or private/civic properties off campus’

    try telling that to an ISU patrol officer if you get pulled over on a street in the west side of town – you’ll get an education on jurisdiction AND a ticket for whatever you got pulled over for

    the president could have pulled in private security for campus property and put extra ISU security/Ames PD off duty overtime on KNOWN problem areas such as Welch

    would have cost a miniscule amount compared to what cancelling the whoie thing will cost

  • Bret

    If you can’t handle the responsibility of an activity, then the activity needs to be taken away until you can show you are capable of handling it.

    Good for Leath in this choice. I am very saddened that this affects my family as my children will not get to enjoy VEISHEA, but as a parent I support putting the responsibility of this behavior on the students.

    If students truly care about VEISHEA, then its time for the more mature ones to step up and start talking themselves about the future of the celebration and take it to Leath with heartfelt and thoughtful proposals rather than relying on a task force.

    Own this mistake and take responsibility for your campus and its future.

  • Laurie

    Don and everyone like you who want to blame the police, ISU president & etc: The students who participated in this tragedy are who should be blamed. What is wrong with these people? They need to turn themselves in and suffer the consequences of their immature, disrespectful behavior. Grow up!

    • Don

      ‘ The students who participated in this tragedy are who should be blamed’

      those students, yes

      the students who WEREN’T there, such as those at the library, or off working hard to prepare for the parade etc, – no

      and no, I’m not blaming the cops (if you chose to carefully read what I wrote) – I blame the guy in charge of staffing them

  • ISUAlum02

    Unfortunately in society the actions of a few can ruin things for the majority. VEISHEA has a long history of problems and measures have been taken after each incident trying to prevent them from happening again so what else can ISU do but look at if continuing to hold this event is worth the safety risk? Those who were part of the crowd last night whether they were just watching or participating should be embarassed and ashamed! Hopefully all the photos and videos taken last night some of the worst participants can’t be identified and held accountable for their pathetic behavior and careless disregard for the safety of those around them. Yes it was only the action of a few that started this but why didn’t their peers step in and stop them or just leave the area before it got out of hand? If it was only a few idiots responsible for starting the mess the police could have handled them with ease but when you have thousands of people in a concentrated area a couple dozen cops can’t overtake a crowd like that. The crowd of peers that instead of leaving or stepping in and doing the right thing to help stop the ones that initially started it chose instead to become part of the problem by giving those idiots a reason to continue because they were showing their approval of their behavior by not stopping it.

    • Michael E. Brammer

      So the kids who were probably practicing for the musical at the time or getting sleep before it should stop the riot? How about the football player carrying around the stop sign. I bet per capita more people that were at the riot that night will be at the football game than would have been at the musical for example. Another issue is who will pay for the free cancelled free concerts. I bet my daughter’s activity fees next year will be a part of that payment even though she would never be anywhere near such a disturbance.

    • William Denison

      Knock out games and white trash roits at the same time. We really are moving forward as a state and nation.

  • reggie

    Those students would’nt do anything like that. It shows that they think the laws does’nt apply to them. And they will carry this attitude thru-out life.

  • Deb

    Oh here comes racist remarks so sick of people making everything Black and White..Some idiot’s who always ruins it for others!!!

  • Lisa K. Kuehl

    President Leath did the right thing. Bad apples are always ruining things for those who can obey basic laws and show respect for persons and property. I DO believe that the City of Ames needs to curb the accessibility of alcohol to students. Campustown is overrrun with bars and Ames retailers continue to expand their adult beverage sections. This was bound to happen…

    • Kerry Ketcham

      What responsibility do the retailers hold in this. Nobody’s asking about their profit-driven decisions to serve to minors or to purposely not know who is a minor. When do they get held accountable for over-serving as they would if one of these idiots drove drunk and killed someone?

  • Michaela Daniels

    Way to represent ISU! Imagine my surprise at home over dinner, hearing an international story from AMES, IOWA of all places, on my local news…here in St Petersburg, Russia. i had to do a double-take and make sure i was hearing it correctly…i mean, i had only been speaking Russian my entire life, but replayed the story on the DVR… nicely done!

  • JC

    SO, let’s get this straight. When there is a disturbance before or after a football game this fall, we tell our coach and team that the season’s cancelled, right? Makes sense. Let’s do that. It’s the scholarly thing to do.

  • Linda

    Oh holy hell people, this goes on every single year and only escalates! I am not sure why it has been allowed to continue year after year. It is very apparent that this celebration is only an excuse for the immature and inadequate to see how much trouble they can cause. I just don’t get why going to college gives you free reign to continue acting like a 16 year old without the boundaries of home — seriously, grow up students at ISU. You reap what you sow!!!!!!!

  • Mike Cee

    It’s about time.

    Given the history of VEISHEA and the inability of the student population to act in a mature manner, it’s about time it was shut down. Hopefully it will be shut down for good.

    The photos show a crowd of not just a few, but hundreds of students. These immature dolts most certainly did spoil it for those who were able to act in an adult manner, and if this were an isolated incident it might be overlooked. VEISHEA, however, is marred with a history of similar behavior and it’s clear that much of the student population isn’t mature enough to responsibly engage in VEISHEA activities.

    It’s time for VEISHEA to end-forever.

  • Brian

    The first Veishea riots started in 1988. So I guess they don’t happen every year. The President of ISU made the call, I support him. Identify those responsible and prosecute them accordingly. If this includes those standing by, so be it. Somewhere along the way some parents fail to raise children to be responsible. Sad and disappointing.

  • Byron Gustafson (ISU 70)

    Let’s replace the Presidenn with someone who will take control of a situation that is difficult and not jump to the quickest out available. The previous President was no friend of Veishea so his opinion should be ignored. Tough law enforcement and maximum sentences for those convicted and then permanently expel those involved.

  • Don

    I just want to add, the Ames PD did their job with valor and judgement, given their skeleton staffing

    My criticism is, why were they outnumbered 700 to 7?

    I put that question squarely at the foot of the ISU president

  • Linda

    Just an addendum here…..does anybody wonder why the University of Iowa is the #1 rated party school, but they have never once destroyed anything, hurt anybody (to my knowledge), or had anything nullified or cancelled because of their antics? Just sayin.

  • Palmer

    Will the spring football game be cancelled? Will any students be expelled and lose a semester? Then we will see how serious the president’s reaction was. Of course we need a committee to study it.

  • avb

    From what I have gathered, several house parties in the area were busted up simultaneously shortly before the riots took place. If this is true, it would have been a mistake on the police’s part because it led to a massive gathering on Welch Ave. The police were also understaffed and unable to control the crowd. The students here do not represent the vast majority of Iowa State students and have embarrassed ISU. I hope that most of them will be severely disciplined by ISU and brought up on charges for this.

    While the cancellation of the remainder of VEISHEA events is understandable, I am not sure it was the right course of action. Too much time and investment has been made into the floats, the cherry pie fundraisers, etc. and they have nothing to do with the events that unfolded last night. It severely punishes the wrong students. Furthermore, the students in these riots are extremely short sighted and have no regard for consequences. They may cause further disturbances since they have nothing left to lose. I believe that after the events of 2004 and 2005, more activities were held on campus to get people away from Welch Ave so cancelling them may make the situation worse.

    Many people made plans to come in from out of town. People from alumni to recruiters usually come to Ames this time of year. I would be fine with cancelling the concert or early morning breakfasts and other events that tend to draw this kind of crowd. We need to limit VEISHAE, and perhaps cancel this tradition for future years so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again, but president Leath probably should have allowed some activities to continue.

  • Michael E. Brammer

    How can you cancel the musical, talent show, hypnotist, comedian etc and not not cancel the free SPRING FOOTBALL game? It defies logic. From Twitter I understand the off campus parties continued unabated last night. I could see canceling the parade because of security, but to let the football game continue while you shut down the musical?

  • Kerry Ketcham

    Cancel all the positive activities and drive students to drinking parties because you didn’t have the foresight to know that some people will get out of control without sufficient supervision/deterrent. If this is what passes for higher order thinking our university students don’t stand a chance of competing in the world or addressing the challenges that will face them.

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