“Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.”

E’s story is typical. She got three NO votes on her promotion, a nonfatal but disturbing outcome. Indeed, she is so disturbed that she now stops talking to three colleagues she suspects.

The situation should not go this bad. First, the meeting is supposed to be confidential. But apparently her confident told her all. The breach makes P. a causality of academic politics: because of his less supportive comments, he is now E’s archenemy.

The other two enemies are largely E’s own making. Two years ago, the Boss wanted to screw his oppositions with tailored measures. But like Obama, he wants to lead from behind, watching others to fight the war for him. Despite colleagues’ warnings, E did the fight for the benefit of one more resume line,  believing that will seal her case. But she failed to see the political cost of upsetting B and R, who cast the critical votes on her promotion.

E will get the promotion, time will heal the wound, but the scar of the school politics will forever stay.


[Rocky Mountain National Park , CO, 5/3/2013]


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