Picking Your Masters
PRESIDENT BOK'S DECISION to appoint Masters for three and five-year terms is a welcome improvement. Too often Masterships, given for indefinite lengths of time, have been held by individuals so distant from students or so bored by their House that their presence has lost its intended impact.
Reforming the manner of choosing House Masters has long been necessary. House life is the one arena in which students and faculty should meet on ground most comfortable to the students. Limiting the term of Masterships is a first step in that direction. But Bok has failed to adhere to the spirit of reform in recent Master appointments. In making some of these selections he has apparently ignored lengthy lists of desirable candidates drawn up by students. This behavior was either an uncalled-for snub or a serious failure of communication.
The rapid turnover of Masters is as unhealthy as the presence in some Houses of detached Masters. President Bok's move to regulate more closely House Masterships should receive the support of everyone within the University community, and those who have served as Masters for more than five years should voluntarily participate in a thorough-going review of their positions.