Officials: Death won’t likely spell Veishea’s demise

Emily Mcniel and Tracy Deutmeyer

The news of 19-year-old Harold “Uri” Sellers’ stabbing death early Sunday morning on Welch Avenue was met with shock by many of Iowa State’s students and administrators.

ISU officials said it is too early to tell what effect the homicide will have on future Veishea celebrations, but they said other than the tragedy, this year’s Veishea was well organized and orderly.

“At this time, I believe it is unfair and inappropriate to pass judgment on the entire Veishea celebration,” said John McCarroll, director of university relations.

“On behalf of the university, I would like to express condolences. It’s very tragic when a young life is lost. It’s particularly difficult in a university community where we have so many young people. The university community is saddened by this death,” McCarroll said.

University President Martin Jischke issued a statement early Sunday evening. “On behalf of Iowa State, I want to extend our sympathy to the family of the victim,” he said.

McCarroll said students shouldn’t be alarmed for their own safety. He said university services are available for those who would like to talk about the incident, and he “encourages students to call and talk it over.”

At a somewhat gloomy Veishea closing ceremonies held in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union on Sunday, several administrators spoke about Sellers’ death and this year’s Veishea celebration.

Kathleen McKay, dean of students, said this year’s Veishea was “very organized” and “went off like clockwork.”

She was wary to connect Sellers’ death to Veishea.

“This incident was an individual thing, something between two individuals, ” McKay said.

Terri Houston, assistant dean of students and a Veishea adviser, said university officials met early Sunday morning and discussed the impact the death would have on Veishea.

Despite the death, Houston said, “. . .I can say that it was a very well-received Veishea and one of the quietest Veisheas.” She said she was confident that Veishea will return again next year.

Thomas Thielen, former vice president for student affairs and Veishea grand marshall, said the weekend went well except for Sunday morning’s unfortunate incident.

“The planners did everything they could to make it a safe Veishea,” Thielen said. He said he does not foresee the death spelling the end of Veishea.

Daniel Faidley, Veishea general co-chairman, called it a “tragic isolated incident.” He said when in the process of planning for Veishea, “this incident was not in our wildest dreams.”