Iowa State University president Gregory Geoffroy today announced the school’s Veishea celebration will resume in 2006.
He says the vast majority of ISU students are “terrific young men and woman,” and they want it to continue — and he says they don’t support the actions of “a small number of students and outsiders” who take part in riots. 37 people were arrested and an estimated 250-thousand dollars in damage done to city and private property in the early morning hours of April 18, 2004. As a result, this year’s Veishea was suspended, and a committee formed to decide if it would ever resume.
Geoffroy says he considered the objectives of Veisha, its benefits to students and the entertainment for all…as well as the damage to the reputations of ISU and the city of Ames every time there’s a disturbance, or “Veishea riot.” Geoffroy said he understands they can’t expect to eliminate the chance that there’ll be rowdiness and occasional bad behavior.
“Many people have very strong feelings about Veishea,” Geoffroy notes, “About its excellence, its traditions, and its problems.” Veishea will continue, and it will again be held in 2006, on the weekend of April 22nd. Geoffroy says he was aware that no matter what the decision, not everyone would be pleased with it.
The president says he seriously considered discontinuing Veishea entirely and moving its parade and open houses to homecoming, in the fall. “But in the end I decided that I’m just not ready to give up on our students,” he says. Geoffroy says the majority of ISU students are “terrific” young men and women and want the spring celebration to continue.
He says they don’t support the actions of the “small number of instigators and outsiders” who start and participate in riots, saying he wants to give the good ones another chance to keep the tradition alive.
Geoffroy says he’ll implement many of the recommendations from the Veishea task force and the commission, especially a “One Community” concept outlined in the report. Some events will be moved onto campus, he says, and away from the retail area known as “Campustown,” where in addition to food, clothing and book stores, there are a number of bars.
Geoffroy says he wants more involvement by community groups and organizations in the event, and its planning. “Veishea will remain a student-focused and a student-led event, but in good partnership with the university and the city.” The Veishea celebration dates from 1922, and its odd name, pronounced VEE’-shah, is an acronym for all the different schools contained within what was then Iowa State College.