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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Cataldo evicted after threats

Although no charges have been filed by the Hanover Police in the incident involving an anti-Semitic threat written on the door of a Topliff undergraduate advisor, Safety and Security evicted Topliff resident Peter Cataldo '00 from his first-floor single Wednesday evening.

Charles Gussow '01 -- who originally reported the appearance of anti-Semitic slurs on his message board to Safety and Security on Tuesday -- said officers from that department arrived at approximately 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening to evict Cataldo.

On Wednesday morning, the threat "KKK, Kill Kosher Kykes" was written with a dry-erase marker on Gussow's message board.

Gussow, who lives two doors away from Cataldo, said on Wednesday evening, shortly before the eviction, that Cataldo entered his room and said to him, "I hate the Jews," and promptly left. Cataldo served as the president of the Class of 2000 during his freshman year at Dartmouth.

When contacted by The Dartmouth last night, Cataldo, who is currently residing in the Hanover Inn, did not admit or deny writing the threat on Gussow's message board, saying only, "Praise Jesus Christ, the only son of the only God."

Although Safety and Security would only say that they were continuing their investigation yesterday, Gussow said officers issued their eviction on the grounds of a series of complaints from Topliff residents, including Gussow.

Hanover Police Chief Nick Giaccone said yesterday his department "is fairly certain we know who the individual is right now" but would not comment on the status of a possible arrest.

On Tuesday, Gussow found the phrase "Hitler was a great man" written on his board and on Saturday, Oct. 30, two Topliff residents discovered the slur "Jews Suck" on the same board.

Giaccone told The Dartmouth on Wednesday that the written statement "Kill Kosher Kykes" is classified as "criminally threatening behavior" and can be prosecuted by state law.

He also said that the other two slurs fall under a special offense statute, which could be turned over to the New Hampshire Attorney General's office and prosecuted as a civil rights violation.

Dean of the College James Larimore said yesterday that he was unaware of any progress made on the case yesterday.

Senior Associate Dean of the College Dan Nelson, who told The Dartmouth on Wednesday that these offenses were punishable under a harassment clause of the College's Standard of Conduct, did not return several phone calls from The Dartmouth yesterday and last night.

Larimore said if the incidents are related and were written by a student, they are adjudicable offenses under College policy.

Cataldo's fate at the College has not been determined by the Dean's Office.

Residents of the first floor of Topliff contacted by The Dartmouth last night said they felt a "sense of relief" that Cataldo was evicted.

In addition to making several anti-Semitic comments to Gussow, residents said he often verbally harassed members of the dorm throughout the term.

Both Gussow and Area Coordinator of the Topliff/New Hampshire cluster Christen Einsiedler '00 said the communication between the Office of Residential Life and the Dean's Office was not clear enough in this case.

Throughout the beginning of the term, both Gussow and Einsiedler contacted ORL about Cataldo, but little action was taken.

"I think it was a shame that it had to escalate to this point until something was done... there were lots of people who were unhappy in [the cluster]," Einsiedler said.

"There maybe could have been better communication between ORL and the deans... but I think they are going to work to ensure they have open lines of communication," Gussow said.

He also added that problems with Cataldo included many minor incidents throughout the term, which did not necessitate intervention on the part of ORL or the Dean's Office.

Gussow also said that on Friday, Cataldo made references to buying a gun on two separate occasions.

Nelson told The Dartmouth on Wednesday that Safety and Security was taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of Topliff community members.

After Cataldo was evicted, a Safety and Security officer was posted outside of Topliff throughout the night, according to Gussow, who said an officer told him Cataldo would be arrested "on sight" if he returned to the dorm unaccompanied by an officer.

"I was really reassured by the officer," one resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said. "[Cataldo] made me feel really uncomfortable."

Cataldo began his Dartmouth career as the president of the 2000 Class Council, where he focused mainly on environmental issues such as recycling.

As president, Cataldo told The Dartmouth in February of 1997 that he was filled with a sense of pride "knowing that I represent all [freshmen]."

In an automatic-reply from Cataldo's BlitzMail account yesterday, he wrote: "i'm stayin at the Hanover Inn tonite for free... page me if u wanna kick it in my kick-ass crib."

The message continued: "Jesus loves you, suffered & died for you, and wants to live eternally with you in Heaven.... please get in touch with me if you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior."

Hillel President Carissa Alden '00 said she has been impressed with the community's reaction to the message board incidences.

"Over the past few days I've seen an outpouring of more than just sympathy, I've seen outrage," she said.

"It's disturbing that in 1999 we still have people writing 'Kill Kosher Kykes' on the door on an Ivy League dorm room," Hillel Vice President Jesse Cooke-Dubin '01 said.