ISU President: VEISHEA Celebration Abolished, Name Retired

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University President Steven Leath announced the VEISHEA celebration has ended and the name will be retired Thursday. It brings an end to the annual tradition started in 1922.

“I understand that it is very sad and disappointing to see this 92-year tradition come to an end, and there may be some who are upset with this decision, but I am not going to continue to put students at risk so that we can preserve what, to many, has become a week-long party,” Leath said.

“I want to make it very clear. This conduct is not tolerated here,” Leith added.

Calls for a task force were made after violence marred the 2014 celebration. Leath received the report, which recommended ending the celebration in its current form, last month.

Leath said the Campustown riots in April were the final straw for VEISHEA. Dozens of people were arrested after a mob of people damaged cars and public property.

Leath said the incident was part of a growing trend of violence at the celebration over the last 30 years. Since 1985, two people have been killed and hundreds of people have been arrested.

Leath added that he doesn’t believe the decision will affect recruitment or donations to the school.

Thursday’s announcement doesn’t mean the end of all celebrations at Iowa State. Leath said events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the theater program will go on as planned.

He also left the door open for the school creating other new celebrations in the future.

34 comments

  • Blondmyk

    It would surprise me to see it actually end. You don’t necessarily need the University’s approval to throw a party or hold a festival. The die hards will just name it something else and do it anyway if they really want to do it.

    • Jim

      probably face expulsion if they do…. the “partiers” are the ones that ruined this, do you have tip cars and vandalize property to have a good time?

      • KC H

        Certainly not. That being said the riots were neither the result of VEISHEA nor did they happen as part of VEISHEA activities. They happened off campus and should have been dealt with swiftly and harshly by law enforcement. This nonsense is NOT the result of VEISHEA being held. It is the result if a bunch of obnoxious, drunk punks who should have faced serious consequences from the very beginning!

        And, as a graduate of ISU, I would also like President Leath to know that because if this irresponsible decision, ISU will never get a dime of donation money from me.

  • Michelle W.

    Yes, my sister and I are alumni from Iowa State and we are DONE with donations. VEISHEA is a tradition that we loved, and my children loved as well. It gave people the opportunity to see what ISU has to offer in its clubs and programs, and now that is gone!!! Other than campus visits (which really tell you nothing), I have no way to show them why they should go to ISU.

    ISU never took any real steps to prevent the problems from continuing, and the last riot wasn’t even connected to any VEISHEA activities! What do you expect will happen when students can buy 6 tickets to the evening concerts each, while alumni can only purchase two tickets–effectively preventing it from becoming a family event and therefore an adult (party) event. Who are the other 5 people getting the tickets from each of these students? I’ll tell you–the out of towners who have been crashing and wrecking VEISHEA for years now!

    ISU needs a new president.

    • suck it up

      It’s not the presidents fault it’s the students! He did the right thing by protecting future students!

      • Mark

        And what prevents the students from throwing parties and rioting anyway? Like Michelle said, the riots weren’t even connected to actual VEISHEA activities. People can get drunk and be stupid with or without VEISHEA. This is nothing more than the president trying to appear tough.

    • BrutallyHonest

      Opportunity to see what ISU has to offer??? So they would want someone to see the nonsense that happens during VEISHEA to see what ISU has to offer? That is the funniest thing i have heard. This should have been cancelled the last time they had the riots. Clearly many college students cannot handle their alcohol, this goes for all universities. If you are that upset that ISU will not sponsor a week long alcohol benge then you have something wrong with you. Funny that you want to blame the “out of towners”. Im pretty sure almost all the college students are out of towners.

      • KC H

        Certainly not. That being said the riots were neither the result of VEISHEA nor did they happen as part of VEISHEA activities. They happened off campus and should have been dealt with swiftly and harshly by law enforcement. This nonsense is NOT the result of VEISHEA being held. It is the result if a bunch of obnoxious, drunk punks who should have faced serious consequences from the very beginning!

        And, as a graduate of ISU, I would also like President Leath to know that because if this irresponsible decision, ISU will never get a dime of donation money from me.

    • Andrew

      Really? Your donations stop when the guy finally decides enough is enough with rioting? Sounds to me like he’s trying to keep students safe. It doesn’t matter if it is “out of towners” it’s still happening and something had to be done. Are your donations enough to cover medical bills, property damage, and lawsuits? Get over yourself.

      • Michelle W.

        Don’t act like such a child, Andrew? Get over myself? Honestly! My donations went to academic programs and scholarships for kids who otherwise couldn’t afford to go to college. If anyone wants to get anywhere in life these days, you’re pretty much required to have at least a bachelor’s degree. It sounds to me that he was never interested in safety, he was allowing the status quo to continue until he had an excuse to abolish VEISHEA entirely. He had time to make preventive changes before this year’s VEISHEA–he came into that job with prior knowledge of the issues.

        One more thing: I want to reiterate that this year’s riots were NOT connected with ANY VEISHEA events.

    • Jim

      So ISU is all about tipping cars, getting drunk. vandalizing property. getting arrested? good to know ill know to have my kids avoid going there

  • Sydney Slater

    To those who decided it would be fun to push over cars, act stupid, and make fools of yourselves while making the city and the school look bad and endangering others: Congratulations, you just ended VEISHA. I am sure your parents are proud of you.

  • I am Joe's pinky finger

    don’t worry kids, there’s still lot’s of opportunity to exhibit stupid drunken behavior, I’m going to start making trips down Welch on the weekend with a video camera so parents can see what sad little idiots their children really are. Make a youtube channel, drunks of ISU

  • ISU has been failed

    this man did nothing to address the risks, so he’s shutting down a 92 year old tradition because of his failure

    he’s obviously not up to the job, and VESHIA will never see it’s 100th thanks to him

  • ISU has been failed

    this guy just cost the businesses of Ames a fortune, into perpetuity – i hope the business community and alumni get him ousted

    • bjort bjornagin

      So Ames businesses would prefer drunken, dangerous behavior as long as they make money off it?

      • I am Joe's pinky finger

        How many riots have occured outside the time frame of VEISHA? VEISHA draws the people, the people get drunk and commit crimes. Disconnect VEISHA from all outside behavior, declare 0 tolerance for anyone under the influence of alcohol on campus during VEISHA, and then you can claim VEISHA isn’t at fault. Here’s hint, when I can see people on campus, puking, urinating or just passed out, it’s pretty obvious the effort to stop it is a dismal failure.

  • ISU has been failed

    I think this ISU president’s legacy will be letting coach’s salaries skyrocket, being unprepared for VEISHA, then shutting down the event permanently because he wasn’t up to the job.

    Time for him to move on

  • Randy Graven

    I lived in Ames from 1972-77. After the first Veishea weekend in 72 I made it a point to be elsewhere when it was going on -and I lived two miles west of the campus. People tipping over garbage cans, breaking windows and vandalizing cars,etc. I agree-good riddance.

    • iamjoespinkyfinger

      That’s so precious. Are all ISU alumns whiny little children? Because it sure does appear like they are.

      Just wait till football season starts, we’re going to start a new facebook page and call it people of isu, go around the stadium recording all the drunken public behavior and posting pics and videos.

      Then the alums can enjoy watching their children make fools of themselves all over the internet. Kind of like that facebook page “People of the Iowa State Fair”, only better.

  • Eugene

    Great traditions don’t get cancelled. Mardi Gras, Ragbrai, State Fairs, music festivals, football games, rock concerts. All have had incidents of violence and tragedies. Great leaders adapt and overcome obstacles.

    Perhaps ISU needs new leadership. Until then I’ll not donate to the ISU Foundation.

  • allison

    The perspective that “party on, Garth” will prevail, despite the VIESHA label is not unrealistic-but here’s the new question; Will the city of Ames gear up, next year, for “unsanctioned” events? The TEST will be next year..Will Ames crack down on the partying or will it continue unchecked, as it has in the past? Now, it’s up to Ames, the city, and not to the University to control the party atmosphere.

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