The Coldest War
The Academics were once those faculty and students of the University of Washington who survived the Madness, driven together in the old Suzallo Library. They have embraced the resources available to them and, using their wealth of old books have made themselves into a valuable provider of technological items and electricity.
The Academics now pride themselves on eccentricity. Each one is said to obsess over some now-useless field of academia that is no longer even remotely relevant to the survival of the tribes of Seattle. They spend hours poring over exotic and long-forgotten books in the depths of the Suzallo Palace educating themselves on the anthropology of distant Amazon tribes, or the etymology of obscure medieval French words, or something equally pointless.
That said, they all seem to agree that those books, schematics, and diagrams that show how create some new forgotten piece of technology or pharmacology is more valuable than all the salvage in the Spires.
The Academics may be odd, but beware of offending them. They have knowledge that, in this age, borders on magic.