President Steven Leath has announced his decision to permanently discontinue VEISHEA, supporting the recommendations of the 2014 VEISHEA Task Force and ending a celebration that has been overshadowed by destruction and violence over the past three decades.
“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 at a news conference this morning. “I will not be the president who has to call a student’s parents in the middle of the night to say your child has been critically injured in another VEISHEA-related disturbance.”
Leath suspended VEISHEA 2014 in the aftermath of an April 8 late-night disturbance in Campustown. He appointed a task force, led by Tom Hill, senior vice president for student affairs, to examine the celebration’s future. The task force submitted its final report and recommendations on July 11.
Leath said that numerous changes to VEISHEA and attempts to prevent related disturbances since 1992 ultimately did not succeed. Citing student safety as his No. 1 priority, Leath said his decision was a difficult one, but it is the right one for Iowa State.
“It’s time to stop the cycle. We can’t continue to do the same thing and expect a different result,” he said.
Some traditions associated with VEISHEA will likely continue, such as a musical theatre performance. Leath said he remains open to a future university showcase or events, but the content and timeframe have not been determined.
He also said he plans to work with members of the Faculty Senate, deans, and Hill’s office to evaluate the university’s student disciplinary regulations, and he plans to collaborate with city, neighborhood leaders, and local law enforcement to address the task force recommendations related to security and city ordinances.
Even as VEISHEA ends, Leath reiterated his pride in Iowa State.
“I don’t want (this) to, in any way, diminish all of the other extraordinary things we’re doing every day, in every college, department, and unit on campus,” he said.