Committee Votes to Change Future of VEISHEA Celebration at Iowa State

veisheaAMES, Iowa – Changes are needed in the way Iowa State University’s annual spring celebration called VEISHEA is run, a task force has decided. But what those changes entail has not been decided.

According to the Des Moines Register, on Thursday 16 members of the VEISHEA Task Force voted unanimously to discontinue VEISHEA in its current form.

And while the task force did not decide on specific changes, it did discuss eliminating VEISHEA’s name, spreading events throughout the year and holding an overarching university-wide event that could occur at a different time, task force data show.

“We felt it was necessary to make, I dare say, significant changes in VEISHEA,” said Micheal Owen, professor of agronomy and a task force member.

VEISHEA is a 92-year-old spring celebration that in recent years has been plagued by unruly behavior. This year’s event was suspended after an overnight riot caused thousands of dollars of property damage and sent one student to the hospital with a serious head injury.

ISU President Steven Leath appointed a task force in April to make a recommendation about the future of the event.

Tom Hall, senior vice president for student affairs and chair of the task force, could not be reached.

The task force reviewed data and held public forums before reaching its decision. One thing the group looked at was the ISU’s Department of Public Safety’s costs associated with Veishea. This year, the department had $35,620 in such costs. In previous years, the costs ranged from $17,496 in 2007 to $35,893 in 2013, data provided the task force shows.

Owen said he voted in support of changing VEISHEA’s current form, due to the data. Though he attended his first Veishea in 1953 and appreciates the history of the event, he said the Ames and ISU communities have changed over the years and Veishea should change with it.

“The one thing we are trying to do in this task force is not to think so much with our heart, but more with our head and to really look at the data objectively,” Owen said.

Hillary Kletscher, ISU student body president, said she heard feedback that students want to remain involved with Veishea.

“The student body, for the most part, had the majority opinion to keep Veishea, revamp it, and that is what I’ll support moving forward in the discussion,” Kletscher said.

Individual members of the committee will submit their ideas on how Veishea should look. The next meeting will be from 4 to 6 p.m. June 12 in the Pioneer Room in Memorial Union.

The committee will make a recommendation on VEISHEA changes to Leath and his executive team. They will make the final decision.

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