ISU/Ames community to host National Summit on Preventing Civil Disturbances

AMES, Iowa -- The City of Ames, Iowa State University and its Government of the Student Body will host the National Summit on Preventing Civil Disturbances Nov. 10-11 at ISU's Memorial Union.

The event is sponsored by ISU President Gregory Geoffroy, Ames Mayor Ted Tedesco, and Government of the Student Body President Angela Groh.

The summit is a result of a recommendation by the Veishea task force and commission, which were formed to analyze Veishea problems and community relations following the 2004 Campustown disturbance. The Ames/ISU conference will build upon the body of knowledge from two previous national summits -- the 1998 "Rites of Spring: Exploring Strategies for System Change" conference held in Crystal City, Va.; and 2003's "National Conference Addressing Issues Related to Celebratory Riots," sponsored by The Ohio State University, the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Department of Justice.

"Local communities continue to struggle with celebratory riots, but much has been learned about how to prevent these disturbances," said Chuck Cychosz, support services manager for the Ames Police Department and one of the event's coordinators. Cychosz also is a faculty member in educational leadership and policy studies at Iowa State. "By bringing in well-known researchers and other campus and community leaders from around the U.S., we can review best practices and begin to focus on action plans and solutions for the future."

The summit will provide the latest perspectives on event management, alcohol, zoning and student involvement. Town-gown cooperation, student leadership, housing patterns and police case studies will be discussed.

Community members are encouraged to attend the National Summit on Preventing Civil Disturbances. Organizers also hope it will attract university and city administrators, students, elected officials, neighborhood leaders, student affairs experts, health care professionals, social scientists and law enforcement staff from elsewhere in Iowa and the U.S. Local participants will be invited to follow-up planning sessions to apply the lessons they learn in the Ames/ISU community.

The registration fee is $100. Fees may be waived for students who write a brief essay about why they would like to attend and how the information presented at the summit may be used. Students will be required to provide proof of enrollment at check-in.

Complete information about the National Summit on Preventing Civil Disturbances -- including an agenda, registration form and speaker biographies -- is available at


Confirmed speakers at the summit include:

Linda Langford is associate director of the Center for College Health and Safety, Education Development Center Inc., Newton, Mass. Langford wrote the proceedings for the 2003 Ohio State summit. At the Ames summit, she will present a framework to help participants translate and apply what they learn at the conference into action at the campus and community level.

Langford's work focuses on strategic planning, program evaluation and health communications, with special interests in environmental approaches to prevention, practitioner-researcher collaborations, and translating research to practice. She holds a doctorate in behavioral science from the Harvard School of Public Health and is an assistant clinical professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, teaching a core course in strategic planning for health behavior change in the health communications program.

Well-known researchers Clark McPhail and John McCarthy will discuss individual and collective behaviors in crowds. They will provide an extended review of the research literature, highlighting their personal work on a data set spanning more than 20 years and hundreds of events. They also will examine stereotypes and explore alternative ways of thinking about the assembling processes that form temporary gatherings, the behaviors that comprise those gatherings, and the dispersing processes that terminate them. McCarthy is professor of sociology at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park. McPhail is professor emeritus, sociology, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Craig Anderson, Distinguished Professor of psychology at Iowa State, will give the summit luncheon address at noon on Nov. 10. His talk will reflect on the research and the roles we play in addressing community disturbances. Anderson is a leading authority on aggression, particularly in the area of media and video game violence. He also has published extensively in the areas of social, personality and abnormal psychology. Anderson served on the 2004 Task Force on Assuring Successful Veishea and Other Student/Community Celebrations.

Cynthia Buettner will present "Parties, Police, Pandemonium: Postscripts and Prevention" at 1:15 p.m. on Nov. 10, and will facilitate a breakout session on Nov. 11. Buettner will outline The Ohio State University's immediate and long-term response to a major disturbance in 2002. She'll provide an insider's view of how Ohio State approached the issue and involved the community. Buettner also will share how research and the evidence base was used, and outcomes of Ohio State's efforts to date.

Buettner currently serves as program director in the College of Human Ecology at Ohio State, Columbus. She provided research assistance to the OSU Task Force on Preventing Celebratory Riots and helped to author the task force's final report. Her research efforts include evidence-based practices in prevention and intervention programs for children and youth, strategies for implementing evidence-based practices in the mental health professions, and the effectiveness of student-generated solutions for reducing harms associated with high-risk drinking.