Iowa State’s annual VEISHEA celebration got ugly fast this year as a riot broke out on Welch Avenue in Ames, Iowa, putting the tradition is serious jeopardy and even causing some former athletes to respond.
Late last night, a riot group continued to build as they began flipping a car that was parked on Welch. That quickly escalated into another car being flipped, stop signs being taken down, and a total of two light poles crashing down. One of those light poles landed on somebody, seriously getting injured and his status is unknown at this time.
Ames Police came to the scene quickly during the first car flip, but they couldn’t stop the mob from spreading into neighboring streets. They even made their way to Lincoln Way, one of Ames’ major streets, but didn’t very far.
Reports of people climbing the clocktower and all of the vandalization prompted police to arm themselves with riot gear and tear gas.
This isn’t the first time riots have broken out during the celebration. 2004’s event even needed the use of tear gas to calm the rioters down, and it even led to the cancellation of the following year’s festivities (via The Des Moines Register).
About 100 police, state troopers and sheriff’s deputies use tear gas, pepper spray and batons against a mob that breaks windows, sets trash fires, and throws rocks and bottles after officers break up an off-campus party about midnight. Damage is estimated at $100,000; 38 people are arrested.
Here’s some video of one of the two car flips and one of the two light poles that came down. It’s pretty jaw-dropping (h/t: first video from Des Moines Register, second video from txborntxmade (Instagram)).
There’s no doubt that Tuesday night’s antics could lead to another banning of the event, or some significant changes being made that will stop the riots once and for all. Iowa State president Steven Leath will be discussing the future of VEISHEA at 1:30 today.
Former Iowa State football player Jeff Woody wrote on his blog about what transpired last night, calling those involved “idiots” and giving bullet points on why something like last night is not acceptable. He begins his blog post with the following:
For those of you who don’t know, VEISHEA is a tradition at Iowa State dating back to the days when the first colleges were formed (Veterinary medicine, Engineering, Industrial Science, Home Economics, Agriculture). It is a celebration of Iowa State. It is a celebration of education and community, two things that the rioters on Tuesday have absolutely no concept of.
IF YOU WERE IN THE CROWD DURING THE RIOTS, YOU SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED AND ASHAMED OF YOURSELF.
Anybody that is actually defending the riots, for some sort of reason, should take a gander at the post. Woody tells all of them to “take this time to grab a bottle of windex, set it on sniper mode, and shoot yourself in the eyes.”
Another former football player, Josh Lenz, said on Twitter:
Don’t even know what to say right now. Embarrassed. Ppl took it too far. Prayers go out to the guy that got seriously hurt tonight. #Veishea
Ames Police continue to gather evidence on what happened last night, and how it started. Anybody that has any tips to should call the police at 515-239-5133 or use the anonymous tipline at 515-239-5533.
Last night’s action was atrocious on all levels. It’s an embarrassment to the university. But VEISHEA brings in the idiots that don’t really care. Friends from all over come in to visit students, and more often than not, public police records usually feature those that were out of town.
These riots are generated mostly by people who come from out of town and students that don’t care about the VEISHEA tradition, have no idea what it means, and ruins it for everybody else.
Last night proved that no matter how the university tries to fix the problem, it’s going to keep happening. And that’s unfortunate, because it should be an event to celebrate Iowa State. But like that kid you had in elementary school that pulled the fire alarm and forced recess to be cancelled for a whole week, perhaps it’s time to end this event for good.