One of the problems of the federal bureaucracy, at least the part I knew, and I believe one of the problems of the teaching profession and, as outlined in Dilbert, the other bureaucracies of the world, is how to give honest evaluations. Part of the problem is the lack of clear standards, usually because it's difficult in a bureaucracy to set such standards. And part of the problem is our human tendency to avoid conflict. Maybe I see that tendency so clearly because it's such a big part of my own psyche.
Anyway, all of the above is prologue to this blog post: Historiann is a feminist professor in Colorado who's passing on an appeal for advice from another professor. Note the conflict between adherence to professional standards of excellence and avoidance of conflict with the student and her advisor. (No, I won't go with "ze" and "hir", the feminist neutral pronouns.) Easy for an outsider to judge this, not so easy if one's in the room.