Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Aug. 29, 1997

Veishea, diversity are key issues

by Linda Charles

The future of Veishea rests with Iowa State students, President Martin Jischke told faculty and staff during the Aug. 28 fall convocation.

"Excessive and illegal drinking by young visitors has resulted in a dangerous and destructive situation for Iowa State," Jischke said. "In my view, either we eliminate the illegal misbehavior and alcohol, or we end Veishea."

Veishea will self-destruct without major changes, he added. The celebration already is showing signs of decline, through decreased participation in the parade and the number and vitality of open houses and displays.

Jischke said efforts by other universities to deal with illegal and excessive alcohol use during spring celebrations have failed because students have not taken responsibility for eliminating the abuse.

"I am hopeful that Iowa State students will be different," he said.

If students pledge to make Veishea safe and alcohol-free, Jischke said he is prepared to let the celebration continue.

Diversity initiatives on agenda

In his speech, Jischke also called implementation of the diversity and internationalization requirement for all students "one of the boldest moves by any university" to shape the curriculum to the changing needs of students and society. He said there will be continued support to faculty to develop courses to fulfill the requirements, and new faculty will be hired to help teach these courses.

Other diversity initiatives will include appointment of an African American Studies program chair (see story on page 1); continuation of the Carver Visiting Professorship; study of the feasibility of a multicultural center; cooperative efforts with the city of Ames to improve the community climate for diversity; and development of other initiatives by the Diversity Steering Committee. In addition, the university will expand the Study Abroad program, ISU presence in minority communities, recruitment of minority students and mentoring, advising and other activities to increase minority student retention.

Tenure and task forces

While acknowledging that the initial draft of a revised promotion and tenure policy released spring semester was supposed to spark debate, Jischke said now it is time to present the Iowa Board of Regents with a proposal. He noted that if faculty don't take the lead, others will do it for them.

Jischke also solicited comments on two task force reports. The task force on research already has issued its report, available online through the President's homepage. The task force on undergraduate education is expected to complete its report within the next month.

Jischke's convocation speech is available online through the President's homepage.

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