Happy 2nd
Anniversary
11 April
 Witch-Hunt in Norway  
by Glenn Campbell
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Chapter 8:
First Contact

April 23, 2014,
Bergamo, Italy





Alistair Robertson, Deputy Rektor, UWCRCN
So I was sitting at Logan Airport in Boston on April 8, waiting for my first flight toward Norway (and trying to find a Skype-able connection to Hero), when I received my first substantive communication from the school where I was to speak. I have already quoted from this email in Chapter 3, but here is the entire "Welcome" message from Alistair...
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2014 17:28:03 +0200
Subject: UWC RCN
From: Alistair Robertson <_______@staff.rcnuwc.no>
To: glenn@glenn-campbell.com

Dear Glenn,

I hear from my colleague Dr. Erik Pedersen that you will be visiting RCN to present on "The case against marriage" in the "World Today" event this Friday 11th April, Erik being the teacher responsible for this activity.

You are welcome to dine in the College kantine beforehand - I am sure Erik and some students, including [Hero], will be pleased to welcome you.

In the interests of openness, I'm afraid I must comment that one of our students who you met this winter in Copenhagen expressed some concern to the Rektor that you would be visiting RCN this w/end. In confidence, she felt uncomfortable with some of your interactions with her on social media. I discussed this with the four members of our Education Management Team this afternoon - including the Senior House Mentor responsible for student welfare - and they asked me to pass on this concern directly to you.

Please understand we take our duty of care for our students very seriously, and ask that you observe the sensitivities surrounding adults interacting with students in a residential context for students of this age-group.

I'd appreciate if you could let me know your plans for visiting RCN: the time of your arrival, where you will overnight, and when you will depart.

I appreciate this is late in the day, but the Rektor usually requires me to request a reference / recommendation for a guest speaker coming for the first time to our College.

I look forward to hearing from you, and to meeting you.

With best wishes,

Alistair.

There is a lot of data in short email. Let me see if I can tease it out. Alistair is making two requests. He wants my travel plans, which is something I understand and am capable of giving him, and he wants a "reference/recommendation", which I don't understand at all.

For a moment, I was in a panic about the second request. I only had about 30 minutes before my flight departure, and my mind was racing. I was trying to think of some famous or distinguished person who could vouch for my character before I boarded my overseas flight.

Then I realized, "This is insane!" It was insane on so many different levels that I didn't know where to begin. Nonetheless, my flight to New York was about to board, and I wanted to reply to Alistair quickly, just to show that I was responsive to this rare communication. I wrote (only to Alistair because there were no CC's):

Hi Alistair!

Hey, great! Thanks for contacting me! I was wondering if anyone ever would. It was exceedingly strange to be heading for an speaking engagement when the people in charge had never been in touch with me.

I knew there was _something_ upsetting management, but I couldn't figure out what it was. There are 60,000 entries about me on the internet, so I tried to figure out what I had done or posted that had got me into trouble.

The Facebook thing takes me totally by surprise. Yes, I friended all the students I met in Copenhagen, and I have been in contact with all of them. I have treated them all as adults and the same way I respond to all the rest of my FB friends, so I honestly don't know which one complained. (As you can see I am an extremely active Facebook user.) Usually, when you say something that upsets someone on Facebook, they just unfriend you or restrict you. Right now, all of the people I friended are still my friends, without any obvious restrictions, and _ALL_ of them messaged me that they were looking forward to seeing me on campus... so I am suffering from a bit of a disconnect.

Do you see my confusion? If one of these students finds my contact upsetting, why are they still connected to me?

Nonetheless, I assure you that I will tread VERY CAREFULLY on campus, and will carefully watch my online contact with all of your students. My mistake, perhaps, was treating them all as adults, not even asking their age.

That said, I am _VERY EXCITED_ about my talk on Marriage. I have been working on it in my head for the last few days, and I'm ready to go! Given the apparent tensions on your end, I am pleased that you are still letting me do it.

> I appreciate this is late in the day, but the Rektor usually requires me to request a reference / recommendation for a guest speaker coming for the first time to our College. <

Oh wait... but this reference... Hmmm!.... How are we going to work that out?

I will think about this and write you a new message in a few minutes.

FYI: I am at the Boston airport now, beginning the first of my flights toward Bergen. (That much is certain!) ....so my internet may be intermittent today.

Glenn Campbell

Keep in mind that at this point I still have no idea which of the students reported me or what had upset them. All I could do was point out the fact that all the UWCRCN students were still my friends on Facebook and communicating positively with me. Any "victim" of unwanted attention can't have things both ways: voluntarily communicating with someone while at the same time complaining about the contact.

Although Alistair wanted my travel plans, I declined to give them to him. I realized that whatever information I gave him would be used against me. They had shown no interest in my travel plans until now, so I would release those plans only in a time and manner of my own choosing.

The "reference/recommendation" was a knotty problem, which is why I deferred it to the next email. It was an idiotic request on multiple levels, but I didn't want to say that or I definitely wouldn't be speaking. It seemed to me that Alistair was trying to stop the lecture. He had invented this unfulfillable request at the 11th Hour so he would have an excuse to cancel the event when I could not comply.

Do you think the school has ever requested a reference/recommendation from any first-time speaker on the campus? The usual idea is that you "invite" someone to the campus to give a talk on a subject of his or her expertise. They are doing you a courtesy, not the other way around, and you don't make them jump through hoops for the privilege of speaking. I believe this "reference/recommendation" was a requirement invented solely for me, perhaps as a means of cancelling my lecture while still saving face with the students.

Instead of giving Alistair the ammunition to cancel me (by saying what I really thought), I pretended that the request was sane and responded accordingly. On the flight from Boston to New York, I composed a reply to that issue, which I emailed to Alistair (without CC's) during my transfer to my overseas flight at JFK Airport:

> I appreciate this is late in the day, but the Rektor usually requires me to request a reference / recommendation for a guest speaker coming for the first time to our College. <

Alistair ~

This request stopped me in my tracks. I have no idea how to go about getting a "reference or recommendation", especially when I am already in the air heading in your direction. I assume this means a letter or contact information for someone more important and prestigious than myself who can vouch for my character or speaking skills.

I have no connection with academia. I don't know any professors or important people in government. I am not a professional speaker, so I don't have anybody to vouch for my presentation skills. I have hundreds of friends, some prestigious in their own fields, who I am sure could write glowing recommendations for me, but I also have detractors who could probably offer disturbing accounts of my character. Who do you believe?

The only relevant reference I can think of is the professor who sponsored my talk on the "Case Against Marriage" at Daytona College. I can't remember his name, but even if I could dig him up and you could contact him before I get to Flekke, he could only say that I was a good speaker. You can probably evaluate this better yourself by listening to my YouTube recording of the presentation.

What I can give you in its place is about a million real-world references, and they're right at your fingertips. There aren't many people who live their lives more publicly than I do or who have such a huge volume of data on the internet. On my website you'll find major feature articles on me in the New York Times and Las Vegas Sun. These were thorough journalists who dug into my past. I will confess that I was arrested once near Area 51, and that's in a news article also linked to my website. (No arrests since then.) If you take some time on Google, you can dig up countless documents about me that I choose not to link to my website, including the claims of my opponents.


My flight from JFK to LHR, via Instagram.
(not included in email)
But probably the best recommendation of all is to actually meet me! My plan is to be in Flekke on Thursday afternoon. Perhaps you, I, [Hero] and anyone else involved in the program can sit down and chat. I will answer any question at all and will discuss my plans for the presentation. At that point, there will be no commitment to do the talk on Friday. If you want to go ahead, [Hero] can print up some posters and we're off! If you prefer not to do the talk, I will gracefully leave campus and continue my tour of the Norway coast.

Just tell me when and where on Thursday and I'll be there. (16:00 or after is preferred so I can have a leisurely drive from Bergen.)

About my presentation: It is pretty easy to gauge what my talk will be about from the Daytona College audio recording and the two videos on my Case Against Marriage page. My talk will be like the videos except highly interactive, responding to the questions and challenges of the students. I won't talk about any other topic, and I will limit my presentation to an hour (with a possible extension for questions at your discretion).

FYI: I'm just about to board my flight to London. I will probably be out of internet range until I get to my hostel in Bergen on Wednesday afternoon.

Glenn

Then I got on my plane to London.

Continue to Next Chapter (But don't miss any Notes below ↓ )

↓         Notes and Feedback         ↓

April 25, 07:00 — A Facebook follower writes (after Chapter 8):
This reminds me of the free speech fighting we students had with our college administration around 1964-65 (same time as the Berkeley Free Speech Movement). They wanted college approval of any off-campus speaker, then retreated to requiring such a speaker be sponsored by an approved on-campus organization. We set up shell organizations for this purpose.
RCN students may not have the same cultural background in free speech that we Americans do. Many come from countries with not much history of it. In addition, most of them are on scholarship, and any "misbehavior" will be reported back to the National Committees that sponsored them, so they're not inclined to rock the boat. The school encourages rigorous debate, but only within the topics the school has defined (like the Model United Nations). In America it seems like every college student aspires to be Woodward and Bernstein, but I have been unable to convince any RCN student of the value of free speech beyond the carefully managed events and activities the school has supplied.
April 25, 07:00 — A Facebook friend (a published author) writes (after Chapter 8):
These [chapters] are absolutely riveting!
Thanks! That's the first positive feedback I've received. Most of what I've got so far is essentially "You shouldn't be doing this," and "You're making a mountain out of a molehill. Time to move on."
April 25, 07:35 — Here is an older comment from April 18 (after Chapter 3). I assume it comes from someone at the school.
Hello Glen,

I see your point about everything what has happened and I have some thoughts about the situation. Let's take a look.

You are a grown up man, 50 + years old, traveling all around the world, but where do you get all the money from? Working like a [employment withheld] would not give you enough funds to cover all of your expenses. In addition, you worked at area 51. Quite a strange background, isn't it. You met teenagers at the motel in Copenhagen and added them on Facebook, although not knowing them almost at all. You began spending a lot of time on your reports about colleges they were admitted to. Of course, people would start to worry about your attitude. What's your business, they would ask.

After that you decide to appear at their college. It's obvious that they would go to the administration and tell the rector that they don't know you at all. There already was an accident in Norway, one guy came to the same school and killed teenagers. Red Cross students probably know it very well and will do everything to protect themselves. Even though you seem to be a nice guy, everything you do is creepy.

Glenn, in my eyes your new name is Creepy guy. Perhaps you had good intentions over all, but you didn't succeed in the end!

Everyone has the right to decide for themselves who or what is "creepy". That's a feeling, not a fact. Anyone different from the norm can be considered deviant to some. Is the fact that a 50-something male is interacting with teenagers proof in itself of creepiness? I'll let others apply their own feelings to it, and I can't argue with those feelings because everyone has the right to feel what they feel.

But if you are going to bring up my gender (which I do not deny) and my age (which I decline to verify), why not judge me also on my race, religion, sexual orientation, culture or country of origin? Where does the discrimination end? All that I or any other member of an oppressed minority really want is to be treated as an individual, not as a member of a class that you choose to apply a stereotype to. What exactly does your school teach? That people should be evaluated based on a creepiness factor? That individuals should be prejudged based on a stereotype of the demographic group to which they belong? What are the stated principles of your school in this regard?

Researching colleges for two graduating students with their consent could be considered creepy—because anything can be if you are in the right frame of mind, but there is nothing overtly damaging or nefarious in the act itself. It's not pornography by anyone's standards. On the surface, it is a generous act, where one person is detecting the needs of another human being, talking with them about it and trying his best to fill those needs. The fact that he is not asking any payment for this service may seem "creepy" if you come from a world where such generosity rarely happens, but the act itself is not a valid basis for judging the person badly.

And I want to emphasize, again, that I offered to visit these colleges; the students gave me their enthusiastic consent before I visited, then they thanked me profusely when I gave them what they wanted — just like any non-creepy transaction. There were no "personal space" intrusions here, like when someone forces advice on you you didn't ask for.

"In addition, you worked at area 51. Quite a strange background, isn't it." — Or an "interesting" background. (BTW: I didn't really work "at" Area 51.) Apparently, the school doesn't want anyone with an unusual background speaking on campus, only people who took understandable straight-line paths in academia or diplomatic service. For example, the school seems to worship Nelson Mandela now, but would they have welcomed him as a speaker back in the early days when he was actively fighting for the cause he is known for? I seriously doubt it. He would have lacked any academic or diplomatic credentials and would have been too "creepy", "strange" and politically controversial for your paternalistic and risk-averse administrators to ever accept.

How do I travel the world on a limited income? It's easy! I have no fixed residence, no debt and no family to support so not many bills to pay. Most of my discretionary income goes to travel. Combine a cut-rate airfare with staying at hostels or sleeping in a rental car and you can see a huge portion of the world for very little money. Everyone is capable of traveling widely if they really wanted to, but most people create barriers for themselves that make it impossible.

But this line is pretty incredible: "There already was an accident in Norway, one guy came to the same school and killed teenagers."

OMG, I want to know more about that! This could help explain the overwhelming paranoia emanating from the school.

Someone please tell me more about this incident. What, when, where? Did it make the newspapers?

[The answer is found in the comments on Chapter 13.]

BTW: What I am doing here in this little document, where I run down every lead and won't let anything get swept under the carpet is called... journalism! They really should teach you about that at this elite school of yours. What is it good for? Why do society need it? If you don't understand then I really can't explain it to you. All I can do is show you how it's done.


Thank you for your responses. Keep 'em coming!

Happy 2nd
Anniversary
11 April
 Witch-Hunt in Norway  
by Glenn Campbell
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 Next Chapter Facebook Anonymous Feedback
Videos: Leadership Crisis | Finnmark | Tiny Little War | Assault Summary | College Choices | Introduction
Changes to this document are now recorded on the Facebook Page - Active in Summer 2016!
This document is a work in progress, subject to change. Its appearance on Google remains negotiable.

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