Veishea decision tough, but justified
Iowa State University President Steven Leath announced last week the permanent end to the school’s annual Veishea celebration. Though the decision might sting for ISU students, alumni and supporters, it was a justified conclusion that was brewing for the past two decades.
Problems stemming from Veishea are well known by now. The celebration was started 92 years ago to honor ISU’s academics and other accomplishments, but transformed into a weeklong alcohol-fueled mess in recent years. Senseless riots, injuries and other transgressions marred this once quaint celebration beyond repair. This year, an ISU student was critically injured during a riot when he was struck in the head by an uprooted light pole on a weekday evening. The incident led to Veishea’s cancellation that week, which ultimately led to its death.
Most of Veishea’s history was peaceful and nonviolent, which makes the celebration’s cancellation more difficult to swallow. However, Leath’s hand was forced this year. It’s extremely unfortunate Veishea’s demise was cemented by a small segment of people, but that’s usually how these things happen. ISU had little choice but cancel to Veishea and ensure the future safety of students, ordinary citizens and businesses in Ames. College kids are bound to party no matter the situation, but a line was crossed once that partying endangered the well being of everyone involved.
An immigration enigma
Recent rumblings in Washington have indicated our elected officials plan to do very little about the deteriorating situation at our nation’s southern border. Illegal immigrants – tens of thousands of which are unaccompanied minors – are pouring into the United States from Central America, according to figures from the federal government. The scenario demands swift action to address growing problems, but a partisan curtain in Congress will no doubt dictate otherwise in the months to come.
Before breaking into a five-week recess two weeks ago, House Republicans passed a face-saving $694 million bill that stands no chance at Senate approval. The bill would send more money to the border for increased security, and it would make it easier to deport minors back to their Central American countries. It falls well short of President Barack Obama’s $3.7 billion request to address the situation, and he’s promised to veto the House’s plan if it should somehow reach his desk. The Republicans’ bill allows them to tell constituents they’re trying to doing something with immigration, but nothing more.
The unmoving debate over the immigration situation is yet another stagnant fight in a Congress shackled by deadlock. A year and a half ago, Republicans finally seemed ready to shift their long-held positions on immigration. Mitt Romney’s failed 2012 presidential bid seemed to provide an impetus for the party to rethink its platform and open up to immigration policy reforms that would appeal to a growing Hispanic population. Those ambitious goals seem dead now, and it appears the GOP has reverted back to its old positions.
It’s easy to blame Republicans for sluggish progress on immigration reform, but it’s very much a two-sided coin. Obama’s $3.7 billion suggestion was a laughable wish that stands the same odds as the House’s miniscule bill. Congressional Democrats need to meet somewhere in the middle if any progress is to be made, and whether they’re willing to finally fall out of lock and step with the president’s demands is entirely up to them.
Simply put, there’s no end in sight for the latest immigration debate. The concerning situation at the southern border promises to continue, but so too does Congressional deadlock. A new immigration policy that streamlines citizenship while at the same time strengthens border security would be a worthwhile change that could improve the situation. However, such an outcome would require cooperation from both sides of the aisle in Congress, which is about as foreign as the people crossing America’s border.