Dunster Dismisses Vocal Tutor

Masters Criticize Ignatiev's Conduct During Toaster Controversy

Dunster House will not rehire the non-resident tutor who vocally objected to a University-subsidized kosher toaster, house officials said yesterday.

Dunster House Co-Master Hetty Liem said non-resident tutor Noel Ignatiev is being released because his conduct during the toaster oven controversy was "unbecoming of a Harvard tutor."

Ignative created a storm of controversy earlier this year by objecting to the University's purchase of a kosher toaster oven for the house dining hall.

Dunster House Master Karel F. Liem's decisions to release Ignatiev has sparked cries of protest from students.

A letter from the "Dunster Students for Free Expression" was distributed in the house on Friday. The letter alleged that "the integrity of the Dunster community [had been] seriously violated" by the incident.

The house masters responded to the door-drop with an open letter to members of the house yesterday.

"Noel Ignatiev has served full-term for four years; that he is not being re-appointed as a tutor is not a reflection of his abilities as a teacher nor of his right to express his opinions," the Liems wrote.

Hetty Liem said it is the job of a tutor "to foster a sense of community and tolerance and to serve as a role model for the students," and that Ignatiev had not been able to do this.

Liem said Ignatiev had tried to "impress his own beliefs on others," and to"single-handedly and unilaterally demand reversalof a house policy," with regard to the koshertoaster oven.

She said Ignatiev could have held a roundatablediscussion to address the issue, but instead actedlike "a bull charging in a shop."

Ignatiev said he disagreed with Liem'scharacterization of his actions. "I think I tookthe appropriate response," he said.

"I had a disagreement with a policy introducedby Harvard Dining Services, and so communicateddirectly with them. I think I did it in areasonable, civilized way," he said.

Ignatiev said he wrote a letter to the mastersinforming them of his actions and said he believedhe was acting through the proper channels.

"When I wrote to the Dining Services, I gave acopy to the house master. It's not that I wentbehind his back," he said.

Ignatiev said he views his firing as aninfringement of students' rights to hear a varietyof opinions. "It is more of an injustice to thehouse than it is to me," he said.