Tags: iowastate | riot

Iowa State Riot: Veishea Week Celebration Turns into Violent Melee

By Ken Mandel   |   Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 01:29 PM

An annual celebration on the Iowa State University campus turned into a riot early Wednesday morning, leading to several overturned cars, torn-down light poles, and one seriously injured student.

Though the situation had been quelled by 2:30 a.m. local time, authorities are still unclear on what caused the violent eruption in Ames, Iowa. According to The Des Moines Register, the riot seemed to be part of the annual Veishea week, a celebration of Iowa State's colleges — veterinary medicine, engineering, industrial science, home economics, and agriculture.

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Ames Police Commander Geoff Huff told reporters that two large groups gathered just after midnight in the Campustown area, where things began to escalate into "a bigger problem." Students blocked streets for more than an hour, turning over cars, and dislodging stop signs and light poles.

One of the light poles reportedly struck a male student, who then had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital.

The injured student "didn't look very good," Huff told The Register, and firefighters and police officers had to fight through a crowd to reach the man.

Violence involving out-of-control partiers cropped up once before during Veishea week in 2004 when the melee resulted in tens of thousands of dollars of damage and dozens of arrests. The event was canceled the following year as a result, The Register noted.

"We are all distraught and disappointed over the events that have unfolded near campus overnight," Iowa State University President Steven Leath said a statement Wednesday. "I can confirm that one of our students has been seriously injured and his condition is unknown at this hour. Student Affairs staff have reached out to the family. At this time, I ask everyone to keep this student in your thoughts and prayers."

"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 continued.

Late last month, police in Tucson, Ariz., shot pepper spray at hundreds of University of Arizona fans who rioted after the Wildcats men's basketball team lost an NCAA tournament match to Wisconsin. Fifteen people were arrested for various offenses.

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