One man was hit with a light pole on the back of the head when a large group of people amassed in Campustown on April 8 and stayed there into the night.

The riot began on the second night of Veishea when people flipped a car on Welch Avenue as police on the scene ushered the chanting crowd off the streets and away from the overturned car.

The crowd began launching beer bottles and other objects onto Welch Avenue and at police cars. 

A second car was flipped on Stanton Avenue around midnight April 9. 

"It's entertaining but not my idea of Veishea ... this isn't what Veishea is about," said Logan Kraft, senior in supply chain management. 

Chants, beer cans and fire crackers filled the air above the crowd and a mass filled Stanton Avenue outside of Es Tas. Beer bottles and fire crackers were thrown at on-foot patrol officers and police cars as police were reversing down Stanton Avenue. 

The crowd then began to move toward Lincoln Way and spanned both lanes, then headed west back toward Welch Avenue.

Men and women climbed street signs, poles and buildings while chanting "USA" and "Veishea." 

Groups began taking down street signs and at least three light poles. One light pole hit a man in the back of the head. He was lying about 20 yards across from the clock tower on Welch Avenue and was bleeding from the head. 

"That's kind of when things turned a little bit," Geoff Huff, investigations commander of the Ames Police, said about the injury caused by the light pole. "A lot of people started to see how serious and how awful this was turning out to be."

Huff said as far as he knew, that was the most serious injury of the night. 

"I saw a lot of people in the crowd get hit with stuff," Huff said. "I’m sure there were other injuries, I just haven’t heard about them yet. I just can’t understand why they do it."

Some bystanders blocked the crowds from getting too close to the unconscious man before police arrived. When paramedics got to the man, he was unconscious, but had a pulse.

The man was life-flighted to Des Moines. There is no word on his condition at this time.  

Veishea riots broke out in 1992, 1994 and 2004, the last of which resulted in the cancellation of 2005's Veishea celebrations by former president Gregory Geoffroy. There were no serious injuries for the 2013 Veishea celebrations. In 2012, a 21-year-old visitor from Cedar Rapids fell to his death from a fourth-floor balcony on Chamberlain Street. The 1997 murder of Harold Sellers outside of Adelante Fraternity was the only student death officially linked to Veishea.  

"I think we're kind of surprised that it happened." Huff said of the night's incidents. "It's really too bad.  I'm quite frankly embarrassed by the whole thing."

Huff said that the Ames Police were prepared for this weekend, but may revisit changing staffing after what happened April 8.

"This is completely out of the blue. I have no idea what set this off," Huff said. "I think most of the officers are just frustrated that we really just can’t get people to realize what an awful thing is going on."

President Steven Leath issued comments around 3 a.m. that said he was immediately made aware of the situation. Student Affairs has contacted the student's family. 

Leath said it is unknown at this time whether Veishea will officially continue for the remainder of the week. 

"My senior cabinet will convene first thing in the morning to assess this situation and evaluate options for the remainder of our official Veishea activities planned for this week," Leath said. 

Dominic Spizzirri and Greg Zwiers contributed to this story.

(11) comments

Deke Larrew

How many more riots in Campustown will it take to get this "celebration" cancelled for good?

Mark Dinning

As an alum, class of '97, I'm disgusted by the violence and the fact that someone has such a serious head injury he had to be air-lifted to Des Moines. Any student found to have caused injury and/or property damage should be permanently expelled. They're not deserving of an Iowa State education. Ever.

David Sheets

Why on earth would anyone let criminal activity dictate whether or not a yearly celebration is cancelled? Don't let a few bad actors dictate your policies. Cancelling VEISHEA would be like a high school prinicipal cancelling prom because of a fist fight between two boys over a girl.

Ventus Customs

Participants in this riot need to be expelled. Attendance is participation and there are plenty of photos and videos to be used to identify those who were there.

Karen Hart

When I was growing up in Marshalltown and my brothers went to Iowa State, my parents and I would sometimes visit during VEISHEA weekend. We'd see the parade, and my brother was once in a cardboard boat race on Lake Laverne. When I was in high school, my other brother invited me to come for VEISHEA. My senior year in high school, I met my husband at my brother's party. Then I went to Iowa State during a time when people were being pushed to sign the VEISHEA Pledge, which indicated that they would abstain from drinking alcohol during the festival. I refused to sign because I had no intention of drinking alcohol either way, and the pledge struck me as being a farce. Later, my husband and I worked at Iowa State and would hang out with friends outdoors during lunch on VEISHEA weeks. We'd check out the new farm machinery, stand in line for cherry pie, and visit my brother (another ISU employee) at the climbing wall. VEISHEA was canceled the year that would have been my son's first, because people had caused problems the year before. And now my son is older and wants to experience VEISHEA and visit ISU, and he can't experience VEISHEA because it is canceled.
VEISHEA isn't just about the students, and it isn't just about the parties. It's about hard work and a lot of time and money that people have put into planning; it's about sharing with the community; it's about family. It is mind-boggling that students continue to make the same mistakes after all these years and that they create an unsafe environment for the innocent. There ARE people out in Campustown at night who are innocent of any desire to do anything wrong--I remember eating ice cream with a friend at 2 AM, for instance.
Congratulations to the senselessly destructive perpetrators: you've proven how powerful you are by ruining it for everyone. Happy?
I'd like to see everyone who participated in illegal acts last night be expelled and prosecuted.

Steve Young

I was at the riots of 1988, which started all this. (Hey Daily reporters, do your research).
The reason that one started was because the police shut down a peaceful, albeit a bit loud, backyard concert on the NE corner of Welsh and Storm. There was a good-sized crowd enjoying the music (again, peacefully), and when all of a sudden things shut down, there was confusion, which turned to anger.

So here are 1,000 people pissed that their groovin' good time was shut down either because some old fart neighbor complained, or because some authoritarian police captain decided that people where having too much fun.

Being young, drunk and pissed off, the students decided to display a little anti-authoritarian behavior. The cops tried to contain things, but the folly of their ways was soon apparent.

The anti-authoritarian vibe continued throughout that weekend, and thus the new VEISHA tradition was born.

That night would have been totally different had the cops just chilled out, let the party remain peaceful and safe. So if you want to place blame for the 1988 riot, and all subsequent riots, find out who shut down the grooving party on May 8/9 1988 and that's your man.

Steve ISU '88

Steve Gregg

When people are being rushed by helicopter for emergency treatment for wounds suffered at VEISHEA, it's time to close it down before somebody gets maimed or killed.

Alan Johnson

Steve Young: That's very similar to how the 2004 riot started. The police broke up a party on (I think) Chamberlain street and inexplicably funneled people toward Welch. The agitated crowd was tipping trashcans, but was not out of control until the police fanned out from the fire station to pepper spray everyone in their path on Welch. Being VEISHEA, there were plenty of people not even at that party, just waiting in line for the bars or a gyro. Then, the police simply evaporated, leaving behind a furious crowd, and that's when windows and lampposts started getting broken.

I can't excuse that behavior at all, but the entire thing could have been prevented. It was really frustrating that the official narrative was not what I witnessed. All that to say that it's really difficult to know what actually happened in a situation like this.

If, in fact, this was all the students' fault, that's really disappointing. I've been as proud as I've ever been to be a Cyclone alum this past year, not just for athletic performance but hearing about how ISU is increasing full-time faculty hires, unlike pretty much every other college. No matter how this started or who's at fault, it's unfortunate to see the university get a black eye.

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