Former Dartmouth student charged with vandalizing menorah on Green in December 2020
Carlos Wilcox, a former member of the Class of 2023 and editor at The Dartmouth Review, was not charged with a hate crime.
Carlos Wilcox — a former member of the Class of 2023 who left Dartmouth in the fall of 2021 — was indicted on Sept. 17 by a Grafton Superior Court grand jury for allegedly shooting a public menorah display and other buildings on campus with a BB gun during Hanukkah last year.
According to court records, Wilcox has been charged with a class B felony of criminal mischief for causing property damage in excess of $1,500. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence range of 3.5 to seven years and a fine of up to $2,000. As part of his release on bail in October, he is prohibited from owning a gun, consuming “excessive” amounts of alcohol or narcotics and entering Dartmouth’s campus.
College spokesperson Diana Lawrence declined to comment on the reason Wilcox became unenrolled, citing Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act’s restrictions on sharing student information.
“Any act of vandalism, whether targeted at a specific group or not, is deeply unsettling,” Lawrence wrote. “We deplore violence of any kind and look forward to a just resolution of this matter.”
While campus groups and the College condemned the vandalism as an anti-Semitic act of violence, Hanover Police chief Charlie Dennis said that there was “insufficient” evidence to pursue a hate crime charge. He declined to comment on how and when the department identified Wilcox as a suspect or if police had been able to assign a motive.
“Our case is closed unless we receive any additional evidence that may reopen it,” Dennis said when asked about whether or not the department is investigating the potential involvement of other individuals. A video taken from the Hanover Inn the night of the shooting and investigated by the Hanover Police showed two individuals, one carrying a long, narrow object, walking toward the Green on the night of the incident.
The involvement of a Dartmouth student is disheartening to many members of the College’s Jewish community. Chabad Rabbi Moshe Leib Gray, who said he is a witness in the investigation, noted that while he was pleased that a suspect was identified, he had hoped that it would not be a Dartmouth student.
“When the act first happened, it didn’t look like [the Hanover Police] were going to be able to find him, but they were able to piece things together with some eyewitnesses,” Gray said. “However, [Dartmouth students] are of a higher standard, and for a [student] to do that is disappointing.”
Hillel president David Kantor ’22 said that the incident “shook” the Jewish community on campus “pretty heavily.” He added that while he is thankful Wilcox was indicted, it was “disturbing” that a Dartmouth student was the alleged perpetrator.
“It calls into question how much anti-Semitism there really is at Dartmouth that goes unnoticed,” Kantor said.
Chabad president Ben Cape ’22 said that the indictment did not bring him closure, noting that the vandalism involved a “Jewish object on campus” but no hate crime charge was filed.
“It’s a little terrifying to know that this person was in our community,” Cape said.
Gray said that while the vandalism was a “purposeful act” and that Wilcox should be liable financially, he also hopes to see “restorative justice” in the case.
“This is a young man at the beginning of his life who made a mistake, and going to jail doesn’t really serve a purpose,” Gray said. “Something restorative could be sitting and hearing from community people about what he did and how that made people feel, especially at a time of rising anti-Semitism.”
Wilcox previously wrote and edited for The Dartmouth Review and was also a member of the College Republicans. Wilcox’s articles have apparently been removed from the Review’s website: Though a list of them is still accessible on muckrack.com, a site that aggregates online newspaper articles by byline, almost every link leads to a “page not found” error.
The Review has come under fire in past decades for allegedly anti-Semitic acts by staff. In 1988, the paper published a column likening the policies of former Dartmouth President James Freedman, who is Jewish, to the Holocaust. Two years later, it faced outrage for printing a quote from “Mein Kampf” about “warding off the Jews.”
Review editor-in-chief Rachel Gambee ’21 wrote in an emailed statement that she found the incident to be “deeply disturbing” and that she “could never have imagined” that the suspect would be a Dartmouth student. She added that Wilcox is no longer affiliated with the Review.
“This destructive act of vandalism has caused great distress for the Dartmouth community,” Gambee wrote. “We hope this matter is resolved with justice.”
College Republicans president Griffin Mackey ’21 wrote in an emailed statement that the College Republicans denounce all acts of violence, vandalism and anti-Semitism.
Wilcox’s attorney, S. Amy Spencer of the New Hampshire law firm Shaheen & Gordon, declined to comment on the investigation.
Grafton County attorney Marcie Hornick, the lead prosecutor in this case, could not be reached for comment by press time.