Speculation abounds that the overnight violence at Iowa State University will spell the end of the long-running annual Veishea celebration, which got underway on Monday. Ames police Commander Geoff Huff says the problems started just before midnight with a crowd that was getting out of control at a party in the Campustown area on Hunt Street.
“We had officers go into that area and they were able to get control of that fairly quickly, didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” Huff says. “A lot of the crowd moved from that area over to Welch Avenue and at that point they flipped over a car and that’s when this thing got bad.” More officers were dispatched to try and dispurse the crowd but it only grew and became more violent.
“The crowd went another block east to Stanton Avenue and got very large, flipped over another car and as officers responded the crowd got worse and started throwing beer cans at the officers, rocks at the officers, anything that wasn’t nailed down,” Huff says. Several injuries are reported, including one young man who was seriously hurt.
“At Welch and Chamberlain, a couple of light poles were knocked down by the large group and somebody was hit when a light pole came down,” Huff says. “It was a head injury. It was very serious. It took us a while to actually get to him because of the crowd and confusion.”
The unidentified man was taken to an Ames hospital, then lifeflighted to a Des Moines hospital for treatment of his injuries. Huff says it’s unclear if this will mean an end to the annual student-run celebration at ISU, with 90-plus years of history.
“I’m sure there’s going to be some meetings that take place today to discuss what happened and how we move forward into this weekend,” he says. “I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of conversations and I don’t know where that’s going to go right now.”
ISU President Steven Leath issued this statement early this morning:
“I was immediately made aware of the situation that began in Campustown shortly before midnight, and have continued to receive information over the past few hours from police and other staff. We are all distraught and disappointed over the events that have unfolded near campus overnight. I can confirm that one of our students has been seriously injured and his condition is unknown at this hour. Student Affairs staff have reached out to the family. At this time, I ask everyone to keep this student in your thoughts and prayers. My senior cabinet will convene first thing in the morning to assess this situation and evaluate options for the remainder of our official Veishea activities planned for this week.”
Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this report.