My job interview at Okanagan College was conducted by four tenured faculty members, a student, and the associate dean. I’d never met any of them before, of course. The associate dean didn’t show, and, I learned later, he never showed: he was completing his own PhD while the college paid his salary, and his own intensive studies claimed all his time. The four faculty members turned out to be two couples: the Chair had invited her husband, and her best friend, both faculty members in the same department, to represent the Communications department. To make sure they got their way, that they only hired people they liked, they stacked the interview committee even further; the external faculty member they chose was the husband of the best friend. The two couples didn’t declare themselves as couples to me then. I didn't know this about them until after I had accepted the job. There wasn’t then, and there isn’t now, any rule against nepotism at the college, nor against associate deans pursuing their own personal education while being paid a full-time salary to oversee the education of thousands of paying students, two goals which are not legitimately, or ethically, obtainable at the same time.
The development of cliques, coteries and factions, at institutions or organizations which lack either the political will or managerial acumen to enact and enforce polices that prevent them, is inevitable. You almost sort of can’t blame those four people, those two professory couples. They identified systemic weaknesses in the existing rules—weaknesses they could exploit to consolidate power—so they did. God help you if you ever decide to speak out against a well-entrenched nest of nepotism: people who have grown accustomed to bending justice in their own favour aren’t inclined to capitulation when challenged. They’re a gang. They’ll stomp you back into oblivion. They’ve had their way with hiring so long, that there’s no one left with the courage or political capital to take them on. Even their bosses have become afraid of them.