This paper takes as its cue recurrent critiques of academia as a toxic enterprise. It asks what it will take to breathe care into the “university”? Nerds, bullies and academic nannies are foregrounded as typical examples of poisonous neoliberal academic subjectivities requiring radical transformation. Through these typologies, I intend to demonstrate the various ways in which the university has been asphyxiated, and also how through its praxis continues to strangle its subjects. I conclude by advocating for a future university where care, human dignity and ethics are deliberately injected as central organizing principle.