Fired Tutor Sends Angry Mass E-mail

Eliot House resident tutor David D. Kane was on top of the world. He was the proud father of one-year-old daughter Michaela, enjoyed popularity with many House residents and was about to graduate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government with a Ph. D. in political economy and government in June.

Then came his dismissal from his role as a resident tutor.

Kane and his wife, Kay, also an Eliot resident tutor, were officially told by House Co-Masters Steven A. Mitchell and Kristine Forsgard in an April e-mail that they were no longer needed next year after four years of service to the House.

However, Mitchell contends that Kane was told "long, long ago that it was unlikely that he would be asked back for 1997-98."

Even though Kane had applied to do post-doctoral work at Yale University and for senior tutor positions in various other houses--indicating that he had considered leaving Eliot House--Kane nonetheless called the firing "an abuse of authority" in a vitriolic eight-page e-mail he sent out last Tuesday to over 200 Eliot House residents--including seniors, the masters and fellow resident tutors.

Kane recently received notice that he has not gotten any of the positions he applied for and will go into the business world next year, according to the e-mail.

To prevent other resident tutors from similar predicaments, Kane said that the House ought to adopt "Kane's Rule," which would ensure that "no Eliot tutor shall be denied reappointment from office for the following academic year after January."

Meanwhile, the mass e-mail has generated a mini-controversy in Eliot.

According to Kane's e-mail, Mitchell is a "two-faced liar" while Forsgard has "shut-the-hell-up dagger eyes."

Mitchell said that the strong tone of Kane's e-mail expressed emotion over accuracy: "The construction and interpretation of events he gives is much closer to what he must be feeling than it is to the historical record."

Mitchell was particularly disturbed by Kane's "gratuitous personal attacks, unjustified and untrue as they are, on my wife, who does more for the House as a whole and for the individuals within it than anyone I know."

In retrospect, Kane said that his dismissal was not the first time he felt ill-treated by the masters.

He details the frustration he felt at having to move to various suites throughout the House in search of a de-leaded room for the baby he and Kay were expecting.

They moved from N-43 to J-11 to B-13. Kane said that the masters had promised only one move but then reneged on the promise.

Mitchell declined "to respond point-by-point to Dave's letter." He said, "I was brought up to respect privacy and although I understand Dave's desire to vent his feeling, I hardly want to prompt future rounds of commentary."