The story examines the surprisingly recurrent phenomenon of receivership in academe. Academic receivership is nearly always involuntary -- an arrangement imposed at the behest of an administrator when ideological and personal infighting within a department become so intense that hiring, tenuring and curriculum decisions grind to a standstill. Faculty in an affected department may find themselves beholden to colleagues from other disciplines for everything from paper clips to promotions. Although universities don't like to talk about them, they are hard to keep quiet. Word eventually gets out that administrators have judged the faculty in question incapable of managing their own affairs. The stigma notwithstanding, receivership may be a flaw built into the present-day academic system.
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