The lost chapter in the history of Iowa State and the University of Iowa is complete, and awaiting your discovery. Meet the men behind the campus landmarks, and read about the feud which shaped Iowa’s universities for generations.
The basic concept of alumni-supported higher education is, I think, awkward at best. It’s also very tiresome in practice, when the ISU Foundation e.g. calls you up a dozen times within two years of graduation.
That said, I believe in sharing wealth, and I try to live my beliefs. My resources for doing so here are relatively modest, but when I can I try to support worthy causes. If a fairly lavish institution that delivers much of its direct benefit to the already privileged is questionable for inclusion among such causes, well, 1) nothing’s perfect, 2) Iowa State University does at least seem to be spending money relatively responsibly, these days, exceptions aside, and 3) I got quite a deal from the institution so if any non-affluent graduate has reason to be “giving back,” it’s probably me.
So I have, now and then, directed the occasional surplus to dear auld ISU. I have not, however, given one single cent to the ISU Honors Program and I am not going to do so any time soon. This I vowed nearly 15 years ago, this I still believe: the “Jischke Honors Building” represents an unethical, insulting double-standard, and I am not going to forgive or forget.
The administration of Iowa State University has declared VEISHEA dead. This is, or was, a spring festival, nearly a century old. “VEISHEA” is an acronym made from the departments* at ISU when the festival began. I believe the phrase “largest student-run festival in the US” has long been attached to VEISHEA, which was in theory both a celebration of pride in things Iowa State and a point of pride itself.
That theory has been getting more and more difficult to put into practice, though, for as long as I have been aware of the event.
I think this final, no-hiatus no-probation end to VEISHEA is probably a “straw that broke the camel’s back” situation, mostly. Rioting outbreaks stretch back even before I enrolled as a student, and so far as I can tell the 2014 episode was hardly the worst. The worst VEISHEA disaster was, in fact, by most measures my very first. At the risk of mangling a metaphor, VEISHEA 1997 was probably the iron crowbar the fractured the camel’s back, leaving it vulnerable to the weight of mere straw.
I was sightseeing in Chicago over the weekend, so I missed the Big Game. My brother called immediately afterward and provided a recap, though, and what a sweet sequence of events. ISU prevailed, plus, ISU prevailed as a direct result of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz outsmarting himself. Whooops. Thanks, U of I campus police, for this apt summary:
Reading afterward, though, I noticed that the Des Moines Register was making noises about ending this series. It seems to be a bit more than just a daft Randy Peterson idea, also. Not only were fan reactions mixed, but the relevant officials seemed less than committed to sustaining this rivalry.
I could spend time deconstructing this, but I just want to make one point, for whatever my opinion is worth: if and when this series is interrupted (again), it should not happen with any formal approval from ISU. Ignore Peterson’s arguments that halting The Big Game would be to Cyclones’ advantage. Don’t give the Hawks cover, guys. If they want to cop out, fine. If they want to offer up excuses, claim that it has never been important to them, revive the arrogant and now ludicrous muttering about “quality” opponents, fine. That’s their business.
But please, Cyclone football, make it clear that ISU stands ready to challenge the Hawks any time, anywhere (in a manner of speaking, at least, since college football games follow a fixed schedule negotiated well in advance). Do that, and honor will be ours no matter what, no matter the result of any “last game” before Iowa slinks off to seek wins elsewhere.
We will never surrender.