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As tutors leave Dunster House at a rapid rate (eight will not be returning next year), one thing remains the same; the masters of the House, Karel F. And Hetty Liem, will be back.
Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57, in consultation with President Neil L. Rudenstine, has decided to renew the Liems' appointment for the next two years. That the normal appointment is five years indicates that Jewett may have had his doubts. It's too bad he didn't listen to them.
The Liems were part of a controversy last year that featured allegations of nepotism in the hiring of several tutors. Last fall, eight Dunster tutors accused Vincent W. Li '87, assistant senior tutor in charge of hiring, of improperly influencing Karel Liem to hire Li's friends and relatives as tutors.
The Liems failed to take the steps necessary to rectify the situation and attempted to coverup the controversy. This cover-up consisted of a campaign aimed at silencing tutors in the House who were willing to speak against the unfair hirings. One tutor who has since left said, "[Karel] Liem trampled on all the principles of free speech and made many tutors and students afraid of speaking out." Liem was accused last year of threatening to fire tutors who criticized the hiring policies.
Liem appears to have had sucess mending his reputation. A former tutor, David C. Bear '92, one of Liem's critics last year, said recently that Liem has "a good heart and good intentions."
The Liems' term was renewed in March despite the past controversy. But no public announcement was ever made, and students apparently only learned of the renewal this week.
Karel Liem's actions last year have lost him the respect of some in Dunster House. His abuses of power were serious enough to merit him being denied the position of House Master again.
At the very least, Jewett and Rudenstine should have consulted sudents and tutors within the House before making their final decision.
The administration has given itself a two-year window, but it must use the opportunity to rectify their mistake. We urge the administration to take a stand, and provide Dunster House a fresh start with a new House Master.
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