A New Yorker article about a literary/academic fraud named Hache Carrillo, who was a colleague of UD‘s (she sat on the tenure committee that wisely turned him down, unlike the unwise GW history department that tenured his fellow fraud Jessica Krug, and as a result spent years very publicly paddling up shit’s creek), has appeared.
You’re probably not interested in the patented New Yorker long-form details of this pretty trivial cultural figure, but the article does feature a neat and sweet summary of the many literary frauds (venture even slightly out of just this one fraud category, and you’ll end up with an article too long even for the long-form New Yorker) who’ve tried to put one over on us in the last decade or so.
Go ahead and think of all the successful, high-functioning frauds who must as we speak be running around our literary landscape befrauding everyone cuz they haven’t been (won’t be?) caught.
I guess administrators like the one in my title are worth thinking about. Before we condemn this anonymous person, let’s stipulate that a lot depends on the letter this person received. Was the letter writer a credible source? Oh yes. Is it likely that the letter was a naked example of envy, paranoia, nuttiness? Very, very unlikely. Does an administrator routinely get letters warning that a faculty member is a fraud? No. Does that mean you dismiss it as just a weird thing and throw it away? No.
Maybe you worry that anything you do could trigger litigation from Carrillo if he gets wind of it and so you toss it.
Okay, but let’s say you should do something. Fraud being as popular as it is, you should indeed do something. What do you do?
UD suggests that you pass it along to the dept chair/head of creative writing basically without comment. Maybe you scrawl a couple of question marks atop the letter by way of saying huh I dunno you deal with it. Hell, maybe that’s what was done, and the person we need to talk to about doing nothing is/was inside the English department.
But anyway we fired the dude, and he died a few years ago, so none of it amounts to much beyond another lesson universities should learn (most won’t) about the not inconsiderable number of people out there laying siege to their schools through fraud. Schools spend a lot of time worrying about larcenists and sexual predators, as well they should; but frauds do really really serious harm, and the fact that GW had two in succession – and tenured one! – is an institutional embarrassment.