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December 10, 2004

Veishea committees submit final recommendations

by Annette Hacker

Two groups studying Iowa State's annual Veishea celebration and the relationship among ISU students, the university and the community submitted their final reports recently, culminating more than six months of study and public meetings.

The reports were provided to President Gregory Geoffroy, Ames mayor Ted Tedesco, and ISU Government of the Student Body president Sophia Magill. They assembled the groups in the wake of the April 18 Veishea disturbances. Both reports are available online at:

Catherine Woteki, College of Agriculture dean, chaired the Task Force on Assuring Successful Veishea and Other Student/Community Celebrations. Laura Bestler-Wilcox, Memorial Union assistant director-student activities; Bob Kindred, Ames assistant city manager; and Will Rock, GSB vice president, chaired the Commission on Improving Relations Among ISU Students, the University, the City of Ames and the Ames Community.

Veishea task force members experienced wide consensus on recommendations such as:

  • Communicating broad messages about Veishea via a "Town Hall" meeting.
  • Encouraging ISU students to become responsible members of the campus and Ames communities by understanding community rules and regulations and the consequences of breaking them.
  • Instituting policies that would help motivate people to disperse from a riot area.
  • Improving procedures for preventing nuisance parties.
  • Identifying best practices for responding to disturbances.
  • Examining and addressing alcohol-related regulations.
  • Implementing a comprehensive communications campaign.
  • Considering changes in official Veishea events to decrease the likelihood of disturbances, to showcase Iowa State's educational mission and to encourage civic participation.

There was much less consensus on how alcohol restrictions and their enforcement may contribute to rioting. The task force included those recommendations among those to "seriously consider."

Although the Commission wasn't charged with the question of whether Veishea should continue, that group's members support continuing the celebration because it plays an integral role in the concept of "one community," said Bestler-Wilcox. The Commission recommended:

  • Developing and supporting the theme of "One Community."
  • Strengthening communication and interaction among neighbors.
  • Strengthening communication among formal decision-making authorities.
  • Involving students in city government and the provision of city services.
  • Enhancing social opportunities for students.
  • Continuing development of a community-wide, character-based program for all citizens.
  • Encouraging community involvement through community service and neighborhood programs.
  • Investigating a resolution facilitator to serve the community.
  • Continuing outreach by law enforcement/judicial agencies to improve understanding and respect for roles.
  • Supporting the development of balanced zones and plans for neighborhoods.
  • Examining alcohol regulations and control measures.
  • Enhancing university housing to attract traditional-age students.
  • Conducting ongoing assessments of the community to determine its pulse and direction.

With Tedesco and Magill, Geoffroy will review the work of both groups and their recommendations. Geoffroy will announce a decision about the future of Veishea by April 2005.

Quick links

President Geoffroy's statement

Final reports

Task Force report (PDF file, 104 pages).

Commission report (PDF file, 11 pages).