ISU's Annual Veishea Celebration Is No More

Aug 7, 2014

Iowa State University will no longer have a campus-wide, student-run celebration each spring. ISU President Steven Leath spent months meeting with a task force considering the future of Veishea.

"I’m announcing today that Veishea is ended," he said at a press conference Thursday, "and the name Veishea is retired."

Leath said what began as a way to highlight the best of the university had become a giant party. He canceled this year’s events after a Tuesday night ruckus that left one student injured and lots of property damaged. Official Veishea activities had not even begun. Leath recounted a story of walking on campus with a student shortly after that. They saw a tree littered with bottles and cans.

"The student looked at the tree and said, oh, look a Veishea tree. Well, for me that was shocking," Leath said. "It caused me to realize that a tree decorated with liquor bottles and beer cans had become a symbol, as immediately recognizable symbol of Veishea, as a decorated fir tree is for Christmas."

Ames resident Larry Huisman graduated from ISU in 1965 and remembers staying up late working on parade floats with his fraternity. Back then, he says, students drank in private.

"And now it seems to be that it’s fine to go out on the streets and drink and carry on," Huisman said, "so I think this, what the president did, is the appropriate thing."

Few students were present for the announcement as school is not yet in session. artying will be ongoing. Leath says changes to Veishea in the past neither changed its image nor reduced bad behavior. So this time, the decision is to end it.