Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, manager,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

3-23-05

Contacts:

John McCarroll, University Relations, (515) 294-6137

Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720

Veishea will be back in 2006

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's traditional spring Veishea celebration will resume in 2006, ISU President Gregory Geoffroy announced today.

At a news conference, Geoffroy candidly discussed the factors he weighed in making the decision -- the history and benefits of Veishea, the damage to Iowa State's reputation caused by related celebratory riots, and the recommendations of the Veishea task force and commission. Geoffroy said he seriously considered eliminating the event, but concluded that students should be given another opportunity to make Veishea a success.

"I am just not ready to give up on our students," he said. "I have great faith and confidence in our students, and I want to give them another chance to work with us to make Veishea a positive experience for all."

Geoffroy suspended Veishea 2005 following a Campustown riot in the early morning hours of April 18, 2004. The disturbance south of the Iowa State campus resulted in 37 arrests and $250,000 in damages and recovery costs to public and private property. It marked the fifth time serious Veishea-related incidents have occurred since 1988.

"I cannot emphasize enough the seriousness of last spring's incident and the toll it has taken on our community, and we intend to do everything we can to minimize the likelihood of future disturbances. Any member of the university community who participates in illegal activities or abets a riot will face the toughest disciplinary actions and sanctions possible, including expulsion from the university," Geoffroy said.

His decision to restore Veishea comes after consultation with Ames Mayor Ted Tedesco and Government of the Student Body President Sophia Magill, plus careful review of the findings of a task force and commission formed to analyze Veishea problems and community relations. In addition, Geoffroy received input from campus and constituent groups and individuals, including comments offered at two public meetings.

Geoffroy acknowledged that not everyone will agree with his decision.

"I think everyone knows that this was a very difficult decision, but I believe it is the best decision in the long-term interests of the university and the community," he said.

Changes, plans for the future

Geoffroy announced a number of changes that will affect the Veishea celebration, and said he expects more amendments will be made as planning gets under way.

Among the changes and improvements Geoffroy highlighted:

  • An emphasis on unity. The "One Community" effort, described in the Veishea commission report, emphasizes collaboration and a commitment to education and learning. The initiative strives to strengthen the quality of relationships among ISU students, the university, the City of Ames and the Ames community -- taking steps to make Ames a single, cohesive community.
  • Increased participation and diversity. The university will work to ensure broader participation by more academic units, student clubs and organizations, and community groups. University administrators and community leaders will take on a more significant role in planning Veishea, in a close partnership with the students who lead the event.
  • A more controlled environment. Most, if not all, of the Veishea-related activities will be moved off Welch Avenue, which has been a flash point for riot activity and violence.
  • A national summit will be hosted by the Ames/ISU community this fall, which will bring national experts from around the country to discuss best practices in preventing and responding to celebratory riots and nuisance parties.
  • Stronger university programming throughout the year, particularly in April, to create more positive entertainment and recreational activities for student engagement.
  • An extensive education campaign to ensure that all students fully understand Iowa law and the student disciplinary code as they relate to riots and public disturbances, and the individual consequences of breaking the law or violating the student conduct code, which can include expulsion from the university.
  • Evaluation of the "dry Veishea" alcohol policy. "Many believe that the 'dry Veishea' alcohol policy has had unintended consequences and encouraged large, off-campus parties. We will evaluate that policy and consider conducting Veishea 2006 under the university's normal alcohol policy, which is already very restrictive," Geoffroy said. That policy prohibits alcohol in all public areas of the residence system and allows alcohol consumption only in rooms in which all occupants are 21. "Dry Veishea," in effect since 1998, has prohibited alcohol consumption by anyone, anywhere on university property during the event, regardless of legal age.

Geoffroy recognized the hard work and contributions of the student leaders who were not able to plan Veishea 2005, but instead formed a service group known as LINC -- Leaders INspiring Connections. The group has organized programs and activities throughout the past year, including a playground construction project slated for April 16. That's the weekend Veishea would have been held.

Next year's Veishea celebration will be held the weekend of April 22, 2006.

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President's statement

Geoffroy's Veishea statement.

Quote

"I have great faith and confidence in our students, and I want to give them another chance to work with us to make Veishea a positive experience for all."

President Gregory Geoffroy