Happy 2nd
Anniversary
11 April
 Witch-Hunt in Norway  
by Glenn Campbell
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Chapter 10:
The Rektor Takes Charge

April 26, 2014,
Palm Bay, Florida


"Hold it right there, stranger. Conference
call or you ain't leavin' Bergen."
"The schedule called for a meeting in
person, so that's what I'm aimin' to do."
After my long flight from the USA and some sightseeing in Bergen, I took a nap at my hostel around 5pm on Wednesday. I was scheduled to speak at UWCRCN two days later, Friday, but I was planning to drive to the campus the day before, Thursday, as was originally requested of me. When I went to sleep, things looked stable. You could almost detect a conciliatory tone in Alistair's last emails. It looked like it might even be possible for this lecture to happen. The key was to get them to actually meet me. I didn't think a conference call would be any more effective in clearing things up than our emails had been.

I slept for about an hour and a half, waking up around 6:30pm, and when I checked my email I found a message from the folks up north. Things had gotten a whole lot worse. The Rektor, Richard D A Lamont, had stepped in and taken charge, but instead of asserting some leadership and bringing the tensions down, he ramped them up a couple of notches by blindly supporting his colleagues. His message...

Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 17:03:16 +0200
Subject: RE: Reference/Recommendation
From: "Richard" <________@staff.rcnuwc.no>
To: "'Glenn Campbell'" Cc: [Hero] <_________@stud.rcnuwc.no>, "Erik Overgaard Pedersen" <_______@gmail.com>, <alistair@staff.rcnuwc.no>

Dear Glenn

I have been informed by Alistair that you are unwilling to talk on the phone before visiting to clear up these misunderstandings.

I have just had a meeting with Alistair and Erik (the staff in charge of this visit) and [Hero] — we all agree that it is important that a) this phone call takes place before you depart Bergen b) that you are welcome on our campus on Friday and Saturday (but not on Thursday).

Please can you give Alistair a telephone number or equivalent so that contact can be made. I have asked [Hero], Erik and Alistair to be free at 5.30pm this evening (on 00 47 5773 7006) or again at 10am tomorrow morning so that they can be on speakerphone — with a view to everyone being connected and solutions found.

Please understand that all of us agree that you should not come to our College if you are not prepared to speak in advance on the telephone to help clear up these misunderstandings.

Kind regards

Richard

Sigh! The poor Rektor stepped into a quagmire. He rushed in to put out the fire but instead threw gasoline on it. Let's see what data we can tease out of his email....

"I have been informed by Alistair that you are unwilling to talk on the phone before visiting to clear up these misunderstandings."

Unwilling to talk on the phone. Based on what you read in the last chapter, is this the best way to characterize the private exchange between Alistair and myself? I thought I detected a note of conciliation in Alistair's last message, but he also has a history of distorting things and blaming others for his own mistakes. This goes all the way back to our brief email exchange in January (Chapter 5) when he failed to read my proposal then tried to blame Hero for his own error.

Demanding a phone conference before I set foot on campus was within the Rektor's legal rights. He alone can determine who belongs on campus and who doesn't, and he can impose any terms he wants. It was absurd, however, to demand that the phone conference take place while I was in Bergen. The Rektor has no control over my movements within Norway or where I conduct a phone call. As you saw in the last chapter, I offered to meet any member of the staff in Flekke, away from the campus, but even that was not acceptable. Apparently, it had to be by phone from Bergen at 10am or not at all (since I already slept through the 5:30pm deadline).

The Rektor probably came into this tense situation with very little information—certainly far less background than what you have now. All he had to go on were the verbal claims of his subordinates, who had already screwed things up badly. He chose to endorse their errors without serious investigation and thereby became a party to them. He was probably not asking them for any hard data, like the email history between myself and Alistair. He was just following the usual knee-jerk reaction of defending members of his own organization, who must be right, against an evil outsider, who must be wrong.

Remember that the Rektor is the same guy who first took Abigail's complaint (according to Alistair's Welcome email). There, too, the Rektor apparently took the emotional claims at face value without seeking data or asking any hard questions (like "Have you unfriended him?"). Richard "Larry" Lamont has been on the job for less than two years. Could he be known as someone who is easily manipulated? This could help explain the mystery of why Abigail went directly to him with her complaint and not to a more experienced counselor who might have seen through it. For an educated scholar who should be familiar with the scientific method, the Rektor seems remarkably undisciplined regarding the collection of data and the separation of feelings from facts.

At the time I received the email, the 5:30pm deadline had already passed, which left only the 10am deadline. I was scheduled to pick up my rental car at the airport at 9am that morning, then head into the Norwegian outback from there. Trying to take a conference call at 10am was incompatible with my plans and beyond my cellphone budget. Furthermore, I had already declared that no lecture would take place without a face-to-face meeting on Thursday, and I was in no mood to back down from this position.


Rektor Richard Lamont escorting the Queen of Norway
on her visit to the campus, April 3-4, 2014
(You see the act I was following! She was the Friday
speaker just before me. It's a wonder they
would even schedule a commoner such as I.)
It was clear from the Rektor's email that the battle was lost. There would be no lecture. The only thing I could do is put the issues in clear focus. This is the email I sent at 7:42 in the evening....
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 13:42:50 -0400
Subject: Re: Reference/Recommendation
From: Glenn Campbell
To: Richard <_________@staff.rcnuwc.no>
Cc: [Hero] <________@stud.rcnuwc.no>, Erik Overgaard Pedersen <________@gmail.com>, alistair <alistair@staff.rcnuwc.no>, UWCRCN World Today <wt@stud.rcnuwc.no>

> Please understand that all of us agree that you should not come to our College if you are not prepared to speak in advance on the telephone to help clear up these misunderstandings.<

Respectfully, I must decline. Too many insults. Too many hoops to jump through. You are demanding to talk to me on the phone, when you never cared to contact me once before yesterday.

I simply do not have reasonable access to a phone in Bergen, and I am certainly not going to fight to come to a place that does not really want me.

I am still eager to come and do the talk. I want to do it for the students, not for you. I am ready for it, and I think your students would be excited about it, but the telephone requirement is one insult too many. This is simply not the way you treat speakers who have come thousands of miles at their own expense to give your students some different perspectives.

I want to make it clear that I stand ready to do the talk. I WILL come to Flekke tomorrow on my journey northward, but I will not set foot on your campus.

The only impasse we face is that I want to speak to someone from the college on Thursday, and you want me to talk to you at 10:00 am on Thursday from a phone in Bergen. These two demands are incompatible, so we are stuck.

I think it is a tragedy that you are standing in the way of useful resource for your students, but this is out of my hands. You have already made a decision that you don't want me, and I have no choice but to respect it.

Glenn Campbell

I had had enough of this ship of fools. They weren't worth any more of my time. No one seemed to comprehend the concept that I was trying to do the school a favor by speaking, and it was clear I couldn't explain it to them. These guys were just too dense.

At this point, I had thrown in the towel. I was kaput, finished with this school and "moving on with my life" without difficulty. I now had a rental car for four days and all of Norway to explore. As I thought about it more, I figured I would skip Flekke altogether and take the direct route north, through Førde, to all the scenic and nutritious fjordiness Norway is known for. (Map of my actual route.) Tensions were so high on campus that even Hero probably wouldn't escape the POW camp to see me. I regretted nothing about this misadventure except all the hell Alistair put Hero through on my behalf.

I went to bed a free man. The next morning, Thursday, I slept in. There were no new emails in the morning, which is what I expected, and the 10am deadline came and went. At my leisure, I checked out of the hostel and took the bus to the airport to pick up my rental car, getting there about 11:00 instead of 9:00. My first stop after picking up the car was a grocery store in a shopping mall to stock up on horrendously priced Norwegian foodstuffs.

That's when someone at the school made a fatal mistake. While I was shopping for groceries, I received one final message on my cellphone. It was the last communication I received from them right up to the time of this writing. It came from someone I am calling "MJ" who I had had no contact with until this point.

Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:13:35 +0200
Subject: Cancelation of World Today speech
From: [MJ] <________@stud.rcnuwc.no>
To: glenn@glenn-campbell.com

Dear Mr Campbell,

It is with our deepest regrets that due to unforeseen circumstances we must formally withdraw our invitation to you to come to our school.

Yours sincerely,

[MJ], on behalf of the World Today team


The World Today Committee, receiving whatever
information the administrators want it to have.
I didn't realize at the time that this was probably a student at the school. The "stud" in the domain name suggests so, but I didn't see that at first and I assumed he was just another inept administrator. I now realize MJ was probably an innocent party in this, which is why I have removed his name.

So who was MJ and how did he come into the picture? My theory is he was a student member of the "World Today Committee". I don't know the composition of this committee or what it's official role was (since I had never had any contact with it), but apparently it is supposed to be involved in arranging speakers for the World Today lecture series on Friday evenings. I assume it was composed wholly or partially of students, advised (if you could call it that) by the somnolent Dr. Pedersen.

My theory of how "MJ" came to send the fatal email is this: Once the three administrators decided they wanted to stop the lecture, they felt the need to bring the matter before the committee and pretend to consult with it. It would be politically awkward for the administration to set up a student committee and give it some power then bypass it when making decisions. Once again, I was tried in abstentia, based on charges and evidence unknown to me. The committee was receiving only the information the administrators chose to give it, so the only conclusion that could come to was the one the leaders wanted. The committee was "independent" of the administration only in the sense that the Russian Politburo is independent of Vladimir Putin—a rubber stamp for a decision already made.

The fact that administrators don't trust the World Today committee with opposing information is clearly shown by their disabling of World Today email address (wt@stud.rcnuwc.no) shortly after I started raising a protest. (It starting bouncing back to me as undeliverable after I released the first installment of this opus.) If you doubt the administration would censor the information received by students, this is the proof.

That email from MJ, of course, was the point where I went over the edge. (See Chapter 1.) I went ballistic, almost postal, prodded into action. Had I not received that email, I probably wouldn't be writing this opus.

So what what happens when Psychospy, veteran of many battles against incompetent bureaucrats, comes out of retirement and "goes ballistic". I am afraid it isn't pretty. It's kind of like pissing off Dr. Bruce Banner and finding yourself face-to-face with the Incredible Hulk. I'm not always in control of what that crazy guy says or does, but in the interests of thorough journalism, I need to show it to you anyway.

Continue to Next Chapter


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
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