Task force discusses possible solutions to rioting trend

Bill Dyke

The Veishea Task Force discussed ways to educate students on rioting behavior and what route is best for this education.

The weekly Thursday meeting was spent discussing how to communicate to students, especially incoming freshmen, on the repercussions of rioting behavior and punishment for participation in a riot.

Hillary Kletscher, Government of the Student Body president, supported either enacting a class that addressed issues of rioting or adding seminars during orientation and Destination Iowa State.

“From a student perspective, I’d rather take a course that applies to me everyday than Library 160,” Kletscher said.

The proposal of replacing Library 160 was an idea that had been mentioned multiple times during the student body open forum late April by both students and alumni.

Tom Hill, chairman of the task force and senior vice president for student affairs, said he was intrigued by the idea of creating an online resource to address rioting, but wasn’t sure it would actually deter the rioting behavior that occurs during Veishea.

Warren Madden, senior vice president for business and finance, said he was skeptical and asked if the investment in a class or app that educated students on rioting consequences and behavior would truly discourage such actions.

“I’m not convinced education is going solve [this] if they’ve been drinking all afternoon,” Madden said.

Karl Kerns, one of the 2014 Veishea representatives, said the lack of consequences would undermine the entire point of the education effort.

“There’s a pretty good chance I can go to the riot and not face suspension,” Kerns said.

Kerns also pointed out that there is a minimal amount of students facing university trials for suspension compared to the enormous crowd that caused the Veishea disturbance.

Chuck Cychosz, Ames Police chief, and Hill gave several anecdotes of people that headed straight into the riots even after being told directly not to.

“You don’t scare easy,” Hill said about the student body. “When I tell you, “Don’t go down the street because there’s tear gas and you might get shot,” and you go anyway, you don’t scare easily.”

Cychosz and Jerry Stewart, ISU Police chief, shared stories about the student body similar to Hill’s.

The idea of installing cameras on streets that have traditionally been used for past riots was brought up. Another talking point was the idea of taking extra precaution with particular residential homes that have a history of out of control parties.

All data collection is completed and has been submitted to the recommendation writers for first draft proposals. The task force is still set to submit its recommendation to President Steven Leath by June 30. For more information, you can visit veisheataskforce.iastate.edu or contact the group at [email protected].