By Kylie Jue
Justin and Terese Grimmer will be stepping down as the resident fellows (RFs) of Cedro next Tuesday, March 3. The couple notified residents of their coming departure on Wednesday evening. This was their first year as RFs.
“It just wasn’t a great fit for our family,” Justin Grimmer said.
According to Justin Grimmer, the couple was planning on retiring from their RF roles next year and had been in the process of looking for nearby housing that would allow their autistic son to remain in the Nixon school district, where he could receive a specific kind of special education class.
“It was our intention to stay on as Resident Fellows through the year,” Justin Grimmer said. “We had expressed that intention many times over – that we probably could maintain a presence in the dorm, work with the staff, attend house meetings.”
When they found an opportunity at Stanford West Apartments, the Grimmers had still wanted to work as RFs remotely for the remainder of the year, despite moving to the new apartment. However, according to Justin Grimmer, dean of Residential Education (ResEd) Deborah Golder asked them to resign.
“Deborah articulated a preference to have someone actually in the cottage,” Justin Grimmer said. “There were real concerns about not having an RF in the cottage, and that’s why they asked us to resign.”
Koren Bakkegard, associate dean of ResEd, explained that having RFs living with the residents is an essential part of the RF role.
“Although the Grimmers expressed a desire to continue working with the staff and residents of Cedro from their new home, we believe that a live-in presence in the residence is at the heart of the RF role,” Bakkegard wrote in a statement to The Daily.
When asked if he would ever consider returning to an RF role, Justin Grimmer said that he would need to consult with his wife but also that they would hope to be more involved in the dorm’s intellectual community.
“I think that if there were a role where the RF was this intellectual leader in the dorm and was helping people bridge from their classes to what’s going on in the world and exploring intellectually what is going on, then I think we’d be much more excited to do that role,” Justin Grimmer said.
According to Bakkegard, Residence Dean (RD) Leigh Thiedeman will become the Cedro RF, moving in during finals week. For the remainder of the quarter, RD John Giammalva will act as the interim RF and will live in the Cedro RF cottage.
Bakkegard also explained that ResEd is in the process of looking for RFs for Cedro next year.
“ResEd is very fortunate, every year, to have more interested and qualified RFs than we have RF openings,” Bakkegard said.
The Grimmers’ retirement comes less than a month after three Cedro resident assistants were fired for drinking and smoking with their residents. The new staff members have now completely settled in, Bakkegard said.
Furthermore, the hiring process for Cedro’s 2015-16 staff has also progressed on schedule as planned.
“I don’t think we’ve seen anything at all unusual in the number of candidates applying or interviewing for positions in Cedro,” Bakkegard said. “Staff interviews for all positions conclude this coming weekend with preference lists due from houses and candidates next week.”
Caleb Smith contributed to this report.