Community expresses opinions to Geoffroy
By Jill McLain
By Jill McLain
Daily Staff Writer
Ames residents and members of the ISU community gathered Monday at the Memorial Union for a final chance to give input into ISU President Gregory Geoffroy's decision for a 2006 Veishea celebration.
Despite the fact that many participants were affiliated with organizations, nearly everyone said they were there as a member of the Ames community.
The concept of one community was reiterated as residents expressed the importance of Veishea to bring Iowa State and Ames together.
Though several spoke about the traditions that Veishea represented, Geoffroy could not ignore the reputation that has haunted Veishea in recent years.
"Veishea has become synonymous with riot-like behavior," Geoffroy said. "It ultimately cheapens the value of an Iowa State degree."
To make a decision, Geoffroy said he will weigh the value that Veishea gives to the community against the damages.
Mayor Ted Tedesco said he, GSB President Sophia Magill and Geoffroy were closely attached to the issue. Geoffroy said he will make an announcement about a future Veishea celebration sometime after the week of Spring Break and before Dead Week.
"The Saturday of Veishea is the most magical day of the year. It connects Iowa State to the community and alumni," said City Councilman Matthew Goodman. "Losing those connections would do nothing positive, only hurt in the long run."
Although moderator Jeff Johnson, ISU Alumni Association president, said the purpose of the forum was to look to the future rather than rehash past events, the causes of the April 18 riot were still raised.
Several residents said if more people were involved in the planning and execution of Veishea, they would be less likely to destroy it.
"If you don't have personal responsibility and willingness to get involved, it won't go well," said Ashley Glade, co-chairwoman of Leaders Inspiring Connections. "Perhaps Veishea did get away from its initial role in the community, but that may be a product of the changing times."
Others said there is a distinct separation between Veishea events and the riots that occurred.
"Veishea last year was a huge success," said Dan Rice, member of the Commission on Improving Relations Among ISU Students, the University, the City of Ames and the Ames Community. "I don't see the connection between warm weather, a lot of kids partying and Veishea."
Students said Veishea organizers need to make a better effort to include more members of the ISU community.
"How can we have one community when we don't even have one university?" said Katie Ross, LINC public relations co-chairwoman.
Dawniece Trumbo, member of the Black Student Alliance, addressed the lack of diversity in Veishea festivities. She said many black students feel there needs to be some sort of action to draw them to Veishea.
"There needs to be some sort of action to draw more people in. It will be better for everyone," she said.
No matter what Geoffroy decides, the entire Ames community will be affected.
"I was disappointed how Iowa State so quickly and readily took responsibility for the riots," said Veralynn Schilling, Ames resident. "We didn't think about canceling anything else in the community. There is nothing that sets us apart from UNI and Iowa like Veishea does."
© Jill McLain