Dickinson Students Destroy Ice Fest Sculptures: Police

Ben Warren '25, Associate Editor

According to the Carlisle Police Department, Dickinson students destroyed 4 ice sculptures on display for the Carlisle Ice Art Fest earlier this month. The students, who have not been publicly identified, may face criminal mischief charges and disciplinary action from the College. 

Jeff Wood ’85, who owns and runs Whistlestop Bookshop on West High Street, said he felt “surprise, anger, and despair” at the destruction of his much-loved “Hodge the Cat” sculpture. Whistlestop had displayed the piece each year in the festival’s 6-year history. “I had little kids showing up and asking, ‘Where’s Hodge?’” Wood said.  

In addition to “Hodge the Cat,” students vandalized similar art pieces outside of Bosler Memorial Library, Molly Pitcher Brewing Company, and Sanctuary Boutique, all located on West High Street near the Dickinson campus. 

The Carlisle Police department confirmed in a statement to The Dickinsonian that “Dickinson students have been found to have caused the damage to the 4 ice sculptures.” They contacted the students immediately after the incident and have since determined that though the 4 students were together, “not all of them physically caused the damage.” They will face fines of varying amounts if charged. 

In a statement on behalf of Dickinson, Craig Layne, Assistant Director of Media Relations, said, “We are deeply disappointed that this vandalism occurred. The matter is being addressed through the college disciplinary process.” 

Virginia Mauk, Business Development Specialist at the Downtown Carlisle Association, who hosted the event, said that though the community was disappointed at the destruction of the sculptures, the event retained its overall success. “The intention of the event is to get people to spend more money downtown,” she said, in order to “help our businesses during a slower time of the year.” She firmly believes that this goal was accomplished. “Some businesses say Saturday was the best day they’d had since opening 20+ years ago,” she reported.  

On behalf of the local business community, Mauk said, “They really would just like an apology.” She urges the students to “take accountability for their actions… There is always the opportunity to make amends.” 

Wood agrees. As an alum, he has always felt a strong connection to Dickinson. He opened the Carlisle location of his bookstore in 1988, just a few years after he graduated. Since then, he has gotten to know many professors and even once taught a course at the College. Given this strong bond, he says there was a “certain edge” to the information that Dickinson students were responsible for vandalizing his statue. He said it “felt like a betrayal, like violence without a point.”  

Wood said that Dickinson should be “just as trustworthy” as any other institution in Carlisle, but that incidents like this put that trust in danger. He called on the Dickinson administration to reach out to the Carlisle community about the incident, and for students to hold each other accountable.  

Though business owners like Wood and members of the Carlisle community at-large are disappointed and angry at the destruction of the statues, Mauk is optimistic about the continued strength of the relationship between Dickinson and its neighbors in downtown Carlisle. She says, “We’ve always had a great relationship between businesses and Dickinson…It works both ways – between the two of us, we make Carlisle stronger.”