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When it comes to appointment of teachers, Dumbledore exercised high-level of nepotism. Some examples: Lupin, Snape, Slughorn, Trelawney, Hagrid etc.

Why didn't the Ministry of Magic intervene?

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    Is there any evidence that Lupin, Snape or Slughorn were not good at their jobs or appointed through a fair process? – Jontia Jun 6 at 8:36
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    There's a quote in Order, if someone wants to look it up, that shows that the Ministry don't have the authority to override Dumbledore's hiring decisions. Possibly the school board does, but if so I don't believe that's ever mentioned. – Harry Johnston Jun 6 at 8:49
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    Well, Snape and Slughorn were both really competent potions maker (and competent teacher, when they feel it that way). Lupin was there because finding a DADA teacher is really difficult when they know the post is cursed. Trelawney made a really important prophecy and needs to be protected. We don't really have informations if the MoM tried to intervene before OOP, but I guess that Umbridge was quite an intervention, no? – Lyzvaleska Jun 6 at 8:53
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    You should justify your claim that Dumbledore was exercising nepotism. Lupin was one of the most competent DADA teachers they had (barring a few days each month indisposed); Snape was highly knowledgeable and competent in his subject (albeit with House biases); Slughorn also, with the benefit of decades of teaching experience; Trelawney was hired due to her actually demonstrating Seer powers during the interview. What nepotism? – Rand al'Thor Jun 6 at 8:55
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    No, but it does make it difficult for a charge of Nepotism to stick. And apart from Trelawny's interview we never see anything of the School's hiring process. There is no evidence that the school does not have a robust and fair hiring process and it just happens that Dumbledore knows everyone already. – Jontia Jun 6 at 9:00
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In Chapter Thirty-Six of Goblet of Fire we find the following statement form the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge:

"Now, see here, Dumbledore," he said, waving a threatening finger. "I've given you free rein, always. I've had a lot of respect for you. I might not have agreed with some of your decisions, but I've kept quiet. There aren't many who'd have let you hire werewolves, or keep Hagrid, or decide what to teach your students without reference to the Ministry. But if you're going to work against me –"

Here he explicitly states that he wasn't really comfortable with how Dumbledore staffed the school but he didn't intervene because he respected Dumbledore.

10

Was there nepotism?

The magical community of Great Britain seems to be rather small and insular, perhaps under 10,000 people, with most people having a general acquaintance with the major families. There simply are not many magical folk in the nation.

As such, it may well be that the witches and wizards who were skilled enough to join Dumbledore's group for fighting a powerful wizard and his army, and focused enough on helping others to be willing to teach and able to teach well, might have had significant overlap with those who were skilled enough to teach at Hogwarts. And generally, a 115-year-old is going to be somewhat familiar with everyone in such a small population.

Indeed, all the evidence suggests that Lupin, Snape, and Slughorn were all very good at what they taught, perhaps at the top of their fields.

Slughorn was easily able to make sophisticated potions such as Amortentia, Felix Felicis, and Polyjuice potion in the short time between when Dumbledore recruited him and the beginning of classes. Note also that Slughorn had taught at Hogwarts before Dumbledore was in charge of hiring decisions, so it might make sense to bring back a respected professor emeritus.

Snape was an excellent potions master, so much so that he was the standard by which Slughorn measured Harry's supposed Potion's brilliance. His expertise with Defense Against the Dark Arts, as a result of his expertise with the Dark Arts themselves, is obvious: he was invented dangerous curses that only he could treat during his time at Hogwarts, and was one of the few to master Voldemort's method of broomless flight.

Lupin was the only good Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher that Harry ever had, and a competent enough teacher to help a young student, albeit talented, learn advanced magic such as the Patronus Charm.

Trelawney was only kept on because Dumbledore didn't want Voldemort or his followers to find out about the prophecy; however, if, as seems likely, her form of channeling is one of the few legitimate forms of Divination (and we see, at best, some slight indications that Centaur divination also works, in a broad sense), she may well be one of the best-qualified teachers for this difficult subject simply by virtue of being a Seer, if an unconscious one. Besides, it's hardly nepotism given that Dumbledore didn't know Trelawney well before interviewing her.

So in the case of two teachers, Lupin and Snape, their qualifications for the Order of the Phoenix were the same as for teaching; in the case of the other two, Dumbledore's motivations for hiring them, though personal, didn't really qualify as nepotism (favoring friends and family), particularly since they were well qualified. Certainly there would be little to suggest to the Ministry that there was anything untoward in hiring.

What authority did the Ministry have?

Until the passage of all those Educational Decrees in Harry's fifth year, the Ministry did not necessarily have the power to directly remove teachers. Only once the High Inquisitor was appointed did they have this authority, and this was clearly an overstep of their general powers. Indeed, that was the purpose of appointing the High Inquisitor in the first place. If the Ministry had had the authority to suspend teachers beforehand, there'd be little need for Umbridge.

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    The Trelawney's were a renown family of seers, no one would question that appointment, even though those close to her found her skills lacking. – rtaft Jun 6 at 13:12
  • Hogwarts has, what, fifty first-year pupils per year? Fifty times, let's be generous, a hundred years, that's five thousand wizards in all of Britain. And Dumbledore was headmaster since when? – Karl Jun 6 at 19:23
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Think of Hogwarts like it was Harvard. The government can not simply implement their own rules onto the school, nor affect harvard's hiring policies. Not unless it implemented law that allowed it. Dumbledore had the right to hire whoever he wanted for his school.

  • The day Harvard's management hire their relatives without any process, US Department of Education would step in. You have no idea how powerful governments are. – Lobo Jun 6 at 15:38
  • @ILoveYou3000 Sorry, that's a conspiracy theory. Harvard is a privately-owned institution. And at a state university, this would be a criminal case, not one where the government has a say. Actually it's the same at Harvard, because another word for nepotism is fraud. – Karl Jun 6 at 19:32
  • @Karl Privately-owned institutions are also regulated by governments. – Lobo Jun 6 at 20:53
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    @ILoveYou3000 You are mixing up things that are well separated. The law is upheld by your jurisdiction, which the governmentally controlled e.g. police is required to help. Of course not in JK Rowlings magical Britain. They've got no checks and balances. – Karl Jun 7 at 0:35

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