Branford College Dean Daniel Tauss will resign at the end of the year, he announced in an e-mail to all Branford students Tuesday afternoon.
Although Tauss expressed regret over stepping down, he did not give the reason for his coming departure. Tauss, who will complete his first three-year term as dean at the end of this academic year, added in the e-mail that he does not know where he will be next year.
Tauss is in Indonesia on vacation until Dec. 1, said Alicia Heaney, senior administrative assistant for Branford Master Steven Smith, and so was unavailable for comment.
Smith said in an e-mail to the News Tuesday that Tauss has always supported the interests of Branford and its students.
“Dean Tauss has always exhibited great enthusiasm for Branford,” Smith wrote. “I am sure that everyone in Branford wishes him the best of luck for the future.”
Three Branfordians interviewed said they were not surprised by the news because rumors of Tauss’ departure had been circulating since the beginning of the fall term.
When Tauss started his tenure as dean in 2007, he immediately faced the task of handling a freshman class in crisis. In September of that year, a Branford freshman in Vanderbilt Hall’s entryway B received a series of death threats and had his room ransacked. A week later, his roommate withdrew from the University for medical reasons. And in October, Andromahi “Mahi” Trivellas ’11 was critically injured when she was hit by a car. (Trivellas has since transferred to Jonathan Edwards College.)
But the problems did not end after his first year. Just this past October, a Branford student sparked an accidental fire on the first floor of the entryway G of the college. And Nov. 1, Branford sophomore Andre Narcisse ’12 was found dead of unknown causes in his suite the morning after Halloween.
Yale College Dean Mary Miller praised Tauss for his performance during difficult times.
“I think that we have all experienced the compassion and thoughtfulness of Dean Tauss during the past month as we’ve seen difficult situations unfold in Branford,” Miller wrote in an e-mail Tuesday night.
Ann Chou ’10, Branford College Council president and a freshman counselor, said she did not think these hardships factored into Tauss’s decision.
“Being a dean in any college is very challenging,” Miller said. “The burden is very heavy.”
Chou said Tauss’ resignation came as a surprise to Branfordians, and said that the freshmen she oversees will have to deal with a rocky beginning to their sophomore year while a new dean transitions.
Patrick Ouziel ’13 said he was disappointed when he heard of Tauss’ resignation, since he has only gotten to know Tauss over the last three months.
Every three years, the overall operation of the residential college dean’s office under the dean’s leadership is reviewed by a committee of faculty and students, according to Mary Miller who last spring announced the formation of the customary committee to review Tauss’ professional performance. Smith, who participated in the committee’s deliberations, said the committee evaluations are completely confidential.
Dean of Academic Affairs Mark Schenker will cover Tauss’ post until he returns to work Dec. 1.