Ames Police Continue to Make Arrests in VEISHEA Riots

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

AMES, Iowa - The list of suspects facing charges in connection with the riots that erupted during this month's VEISHEA celebration at Iowa State is continuing to grow with two more arrests over the weekend.

Conor Welch, 18, faces a charge of fifth-degree theft, and Hunter Alexander, 20, faces a charge of second-degree criminal mischief, a Class D felony. Both men are from Ames and both are listed in the Iowa State student directory.

Nine others have been arrested or ticketed in connection with the April 8 melee that seriously injured one student and prompted administrators to cancel the rest of the week's events. Four of those previously charged are facing felonies, including David Irving, 20, who was kicked off the ISU football squad for his alleged involvement toppling a light pole during the chaos.

The new arrests came just days after a task force commissioned to assess the future of VEISHEA began meeting on campus. ISU President Steven Leath announced the 20-member group earlier this month to help decide whether to cancel the annual weeklong event permanently or reshape it.

In light of VEISHEA's long history of "ugly" incidents — including previous riots and cancellations — the group will provide recommendations on how to proceed by the end of June.

Leath will review the group's recommendations with city and campus officials and make a final decision on how to proceed.

The task force met for the first time Thursday in the university's memorial union and will meeting weekly through June 19. The university also is hosting several open forum discussions over the next two months to gain community insight.

The first public forum occurred Friday.

Task force members include Pamela Anthony, dean of students, ISU student body President Hillary Kletscher, the student chair of this year's VEISHEA and professors, alumni and graduate students.

VEISHEA, named for the first letters of each of ISU's original colleges, started in 1922 as a way of showcasing the community. Despite its mission, VEISHEA has had its share of problems, including riots in 1988, 1992, 1999 and 2004, a fatal stabbing in 1997 and a cancellation in 2005.

On day two of this year's event, which began April 7, thousands of revelers took to the streets, shouting at police, overturning cars, toppling two light poles and causing thousands of dollars in damage. One student was hit by a falling pole and hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

He was in stable condition the following day, but an updated condition hasn't been made public. His name has not been released by authorities, and Ames police said he probably won't face criminal charges for his involvement in the riot.

Leath called the incident disappointing and unacceptable, and he canceled VEISHEA in the middle of the week.
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