Veishea Task Force hosts final open forum

Bill Dyke

Veishea Task Force members heard final arguments from the community at the last open forum on May 13 and will submit their recommendations for the future of Veishea to ISU President Steven Leath by June 30.

Dwayne Vande Krol, 1993 ISU alumnus, served as the forum’s facilitator, encouraging feedback and constructive arguments regarding Veishea’s past, present and future.

“We really do want to hear from you,” Vande Krol said. “[We want to] listen to your recommendations as it relates to the purposes of Veishea.”

Chad Dummermuth opened the forum by saying he agreed with the 1992 task force’s “Nine Traditional Purposes of Veishea.” He said official Veishea can be proactive about its image — and its nine purposes — without being attached to the unofficial parties and disturbances.

Neil Harl, professor emeritus of economics, said college riots are not uncommon, citing six different university disturbances around the United States in April.

“I couldn’t believe this — that people would actually come to [that] point,” Harl said. He also pointed out that not all riots at Iowa State have been related to Veishea.

Harl handed out a three-page summary of his recommendations, titled, “Will Eliminating Veishea Stop Riots?” In it, he argues that if official Veishea events are eliminated and an increasingly regimented environment is established, it could result in worse riots or turning students away.

Marsha Miller expressed serious concerns about the disturbances that occur on the weekends. Miller felt that the week creates a hostile environment that makes neighborhoods particularly dangerous, despite residents’ attempts to make friends with students and student attempts to provide more controlled environments.

Tom Emmerson made suggestions to address sexual assault issues that coincide with Veishea and to make sure that students were fully aware of the ramifications for participating in criminal activities. Emmerson shared three specific recommendations: better street and building lighting, installation of as many security cameras as it would take to cover specific areas of Campustown and stronger, metal infrastructure.

Emmerson also suggested enforcing a “no-parking zone” in Campustown to avoid flipped cars and attempt to promote “safety and security” for the residency and university.

Anne Clubine said the new college culture, the sensationalism of news coverage and the viral effects of social media have tainted Veishea. She said that the name needs to be retired in a positive manner and that the university and students need to “look forward, not backward.” 

Barbara Forney said that the incidents that had occurred during Veishea in Campustown warrant stronger oversight and stricter law enforcement in that area during the week of celebration.

Al Hart said the “unofficial” events during Veishea needed better monitoring from the city and other police forces.

Lori Peake said that canceling Veishea would not stop the drinking, partying and combative activity that has “corrupted” the celebration. Her argument has been made frequently at the multiple open forums.  

Peake agreed with Clubine that news coverage and social media are aiding in the corruption and misrepresentation of the event. She was concerned that attaching the word riot to Veishea makes rioting a part of Veishea.

For information and to watch task force meetings and open forums, visit the official website,, or contact the group directly at [email protected].