A tradition taken: Riot leads to Veishea 2014 activities’ suspension


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

Katie Hansen, left, senior in journalism and mass communication, and Amber Thomas, senior in accounting, both Veishea committee members, cry in reaction to President Steven Leath’s announcement suspending Veishea as a result of April 8’s riot.

Dominic Spizzirri

Veishea 2014 is no more. There will be no concerts, no parades or any cherry pies. 

Some students who spent their entire school year setting up the celebration and all of its activities feel anger and sadness from their hardwork now turning into nothing. 

“We started [working] that Sunday after Veishea 2013 and into the summer and school year,” said Nicholas Morton, general co-chairman of Veishea, at a press conference April 9.

ISU President Steven Leath said at the same press conference that the school made the decision to cancel Veishea 2014 as of 5 p.m. that day. That included all forms of entertainment, concerts and other events. 

“This is a big change for us,” Morton said regarding the festival being canceled.

This is not the first time Veishea has experienced a riot. Riots also happened in the years of 1988, 1992, 1994 and again in 2004, which caused up to $250,000 in damage. This caused Veishea to not occur in 2005 for the first time in 82 years. Veishea returned in 2006. 

One student organization and dance entertainment group Motion Sickness was looking forward to its Veishea celebration as its first performance to be brought through a giant spectacle.

“I thought this was going to be the year we got into Veishea, and then it all got canceled,” said Webster Kpor, president of Motion Sickness. “It really angers me.”

Motion Sickness spent between four and 10 hours a week, two days a week working hard on its performance. 

“There are 15 of us, working really hard for this … Everything has been working around this,” Kpor said.

“We were so excited, practicing four hours a week for this big show,” said Claire Kean, junior in apparel, merchandising and design and member of Motion Sickness. 

Kpor said he is disgusted that the events of April 8 had such an effect on activities for Veishea. Kpor did not agree with canceling all events that have nothing to do with the riot being shut down.

Iowa State needs to find a way to work with students and businesses on Welch Avenue since the shows and competitions didn’t cause any problems, Kpor said.

Other entertainment performances that were canceled include Stars Over Veishea’s performance of “Into the Woods” and all Live @ Veishea concerts for both April 11 and 12. 

Some ISU students expressed their sorrow about the loss of Veishea, blaming the students involved but not seeing a simple end to the problem.

“People say they do these things simply because ‘it’s Veishea,'” said Jeff Gustafson, junior in chemistry. Gustafson said he thinks similar situations will happen throughout the rest of the week. 

“It was a random occurrence … [but] this week is still going to be known as Veishea week,” said Alex Bumpus, junior in marketing. 

The future of Veishea now rests in the hands of a task force created by Leath. Leath said if Veishea was to return, the festival would be of a very different kind.

“At the end of the day, Veishea is here for Iowa State University,” Morton said. “Veishea is here for the faculty and students, and that is the important thing to remember.”

The Veishea committee declined to comment to the Iowa State Daily regarding the Veishea suspension.