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11 April
 Witch-Hunt in Norway  
by Glenn Campbell
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Chapter 13:
The Rektor

April 29-30, 2014,
Orlando, Florida
14 June 2016 - New section added "The Rektor's Mistakes" in Pano Platres, Cyprus.

I have great sympathy for the Rektor and the difficult position he is in. He is the operational head of an organization he has only limited control over. This isn't like a corporation or military unit where the boss says, "Jump!" and everybody jumps. Running an educational institution is more like herding cats than commanding an army. When the Rektor stepped into the job less than two years ago, there were structures, personalities and problems already in place that he had to cope with. On the surface his position may seem powerful, but I'm sure his day-to-day life feels more like navigating a political minefield.

In my case, unfortunately, he blindly walked into a minefield and set off all the mines.

Although I have found no resume for him, the Rektor's background appears to be in English literature. (See one of his scholarly articles.) He is relatively young, as evidenced by his complete lack of grey hair (just like myself). In 2012, he was recruited from outside the United World College system by a competitive search. He was no stranger to UWC, however, having spent some time as an exchange teacher at the Swaziland franchise in 2009. While not an alumnus or prior staff member of Red Cross Nordic, it is fair to say he understood the school and its goals before stepping into the job. The preexisting local politics are another matter. The intrigues and dynamics of the school and its sponsors is probably a learning curve he is still working out.

Prior to being recruited to RCN, the Rektor was Head of Upper School at Marlborough College (wikipedia, website), an Upper Crust boarding school in England dating to 1843. Marlborough College is a fascinating place, and I spent a good deal of Mr. Google's resources trying to figure out its culture. In American terms, this is the equivalent of a residential prep school for students ages 13 to 18 (high school). Think Hogwarts without the Quidditch. Notable alumnae of the school include none other than Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, currently employed as the bearer of heirs to the British throne. (See article.) You go to Marlborough mainly because your daddy can shell out 32,280/year for tuition, although scholarships are available and the school prides itself on its academic excellence. As best I can translate the British language, "Head of Upper School" means manager of the portion of the school for older students (the college being divided into Upper and Lower schools).

The Rektor spent a short time at the Swaziland UWC school (a term or a year) because it has a teacher exchange program with Marlborough. This suggests that the Rektor started as a teacher at Marlborough (presumably teaching English) and worked his way through the ranks to Head of English and then mid-level administrator. (It is unclear to me whether "Head of Upper School" is a full-time position or held simultaneously with being a teacher.) While the Marlborough students were largely Upper Crust, the Swaziland students were not, and I don't think it mattered to the Rektor. There is no reason to question his dedication to his profession and to the students in his charge. Young and dynamic with a background at UWC, I can see how he would appeal to the selection committee.

The Rektor shows the Queen of Norway around campus,
April 3, 2014
Although Red Cross Nordic is a much smaller place than Marlborough (200 students vs. 850+), this job has to be a major step up in complexity. As head of one division of Marlborough, not its headmaster, he was probably dealing only with the internal matters of the school. At Red Cross, he is also handling its complicated external relations. He has to interface with the Gordian network of sponsoring organizations, up to and including the Queen of Norway (photos). In fact, the Queen put in a two-day appearance at the school only a few days before my arrival in Bergen, and the Rektor apparently conducted the whole orchestra of her visit. The last thing he needed, after the Royal entourage safely departed, was a troublemaker from America arriving on his doorstep. (Imagine King Harold, having successfully dealt with the Norwegians at Stamford Bridge, suddenly having to face the Normans at Hastings. Perfect analogy, don't you think?)

I assume the Rektor stepped into the Great Glenn Campbell Debacle nearly blind. He probably had no idea who this guy was or why he was coming to the school, and since no one on the staff had contacted me (or apparently even Googled me) all he had to go on was rumors and high school gossip.

The high school gossip reached the Rektor through Abigail and later Alistair. My best reconstruction of the sequence of events is this...

The Rektor and the school's board of directors visiting
the Danish Parliament in November (source)
Being the kind of guy I think he is, the Rektor has probably set himself up not as an authoritarian figure but as a friend to the students. His policy is probably: "My door is always open. Drop in anytime. Talk to me about anything." So one student did.

Abigail's action's were naive, but I can't say they were evil or wrong. She was obviously feeling some ambivalence about my communication and wanted to talk to someone older and wiser. It was the Rektor's responsibility to sort out feelings from fact. One of the unfortunate side effects of having an open-door policy is that a lot of things are going to come through that door that really don't belong in the Rektor's office. Management openness can be abused, where people take their problems directly to the top instead of passing through a normal chain of command where they might be handled more effectively. Surely, the school must have counselors trained to handle the psychological and interpersonal issues of the students with the experience to determine if something improper is taking place, but Alistair's welcome email suggests this student bypassed these normal mechanisms and went directly to the top.

I don't know what transpired between the Rektor and Abigail or what he did next, but somehow the matter fell into the hands of Deputy Rektor Alistair Robertson and the witchcraft trials began. We will learn in the next chapters that if you have a delicate diplomatic matter, the worst thing you can possibly do is give it to Dr. Robertson, but Abigail's report shouldn't have gone that far. While Abigail was still in his office (or wherever they met), the Rektor should have boiled the feelings down to facts. He should have asked exactly what this middle aged American said or did that was disturbing. I'm sure he has a computer in his office. He could have called up Facebook and had Abigail show him our interactions. This may sound a bit too forthright for a polite Englishman, but if I were the leader of any organization, I would want to make sure I had the facts, not just a person's emotional impressions, before I decided what action to take.

I'm sure there is great sensitivity on campus about the administration snooping around on students' Facebook pages. Prior to the Massacre, I noticed that every student was friended to just about every other student, but I did not see them friended to any member of the faculty or staff. I assume this reflects a deliberate policy, and it is a good one for both groups. I believe the administration should not be policing Facebook or even looking at students' public pages without compelling cause. In this case, however, a student had reported to a school authority certain disturbing Facebook contact with an outside party. Under this circumstance, it is perfectly reasonable for the authority to ask, "Can I see the contact?"

If the Rektor had asked that, he would have seen only what you have seen, an innocuous discussion of colleges, and the matter would have evaporated. This Rektor, I suspect, was much too polite, declining to pry into a student's social media activity even when the student was bringing it to his attention. I suspect Abigail knew this before she spoke to the Rektor—that he was a nice guy who would take her at her word and not ask too many hard questions.

The Rektor's nice-guy tendencies and neglect of facts emerged again in the second part of the crisis. On April 9, he was drawn into the showdown between myself and Alistair when I announced that I needed to meet someone on the staff on Thursday or no parade. (See Chapter 10.) As he apparently did with Abigail, the Rektor seemed to take the emotional assertions of Alistair at face value without drilling down to actual facts. He probably did not ask Alistair, "Show me the emails" (not already cc'd to him) because if he had, he would have seen a more complicated situation than Alistair portrayed. He also did not seek more information directly from me before jumping directly into new ultimatums—the demand that I speak to them on the phone before leaving Bergen. This new demand only inflamed the situation, pushed me into a position where I couldn't back down and ultimately lead to this document.

Instead of stopping the action and saying, "Wait, what's really going on here?" the Rektor jumped into the battle in blind support of his inept colleagues. Since both Erik and Alistair had already screwed things up badly, the Rektor's participation merely endorsed those errors and pushed us toward open warfare.

I am sympathetic to the Rektor's situation, but these are still major management errors a professional in his position should not be making. In the section below (newly written in June 2016), I'd like to review these blunders in detail.

 The Rektor's Mistakes 

New Section added 14-18 June 2016 in Cyprus and Greece

My contact with the Rektor came late in the game and was relatively brief, but in that short time he made some serious diplomatic gaffs that pushed us into open warfare. This is an international school purporting to be training tomorrow's leaders. You would expect the leader of this school to be a paragon of tact, restraint and good judgment, serving as a role model for everyone else, but in my case none of that was on display. The Rektor allowed himself to swept along by hysteria and soon became an instrument of it. I'm not saying his intentions were bad, but his intellectual discipline wouldn't live up to the high standards expected of students. Any one of his errors could be seen as a forgivable, but we do not expect so many of them from a professional diplomat, which is essentially the position he has been entrusted with.

These are the Rektor's failures as I identify them, based on the record already given...

1) The Rektor failed to respond to the student's initial email presenting my speaking proposal.

Recall that my speaking proposal was conveyed to the administration in an email sent by my student sponsor on Dec. 15, 2013. I was not cc'ed in this email, but I saw it quoted at the bottom of a later email. The email went to the Rektor, Deputy Rektor, Dr. Pederson and the World Today Committee. Only the Deputy Rektor responded, asking about funding. After it was determined that no funding was required, he said, in essence, "It's not my problem."

If I were the Rektor, I would have responded to this email myself. The incoming message was brief and the outgoing one could have been even shorter. You have a student doing what the school has asked students to do: bringing new ideas to campus. Even if the idea was inappropriate, I think the student at least deserved an acknowledgment and a Thank You.

If this were the President of Harvard, he would not be involved in little details like a speaking program, but RCN is a tiny school and it is reasonable to expect the Rektor to have his finger on any unusual event, especially where it concerns the school's external relations. The Rektor can't be involved in every detail of the school's operation, but he is responsible for seeing that external diplomatic courtesies are observed and that new tasks are clearly delegated. I see the Rektor's position as that of a spider in the center of a web. If something jiggles the web, he should at least know about it, check it out and insert a leadership presence where necessary.

The Rektor's response would have been easy. If I were him, this is what I would have written immediately to the student, cc'ed to Dr. Pederson:

Dear Hero,

Thank you for this proposal. I appreciate your initiative! Dr. Pederson is the responsible faculty member for the speaking program, so you should talk to him. Let me know if you need anything.


That's four sentences! They don't say much, but had the Rektor actually sent this email in December, I don't think any crisis would have occurred in April.

Let me analyze those four hypothetical sentences:

"Thanks for this proposal. I appreciate your initiative!" - Acknowledging the student and his effort, without actually judging the proposal itself. Note that the Rektor wouldn't have to read my 3-page proposal to write this response.

"Dr. Pederson is the responsible faculty member for the speaking program, so you should talk to him." - Clearly delegating responsibility. Now both the student and Dr. P know who is in charge.

"Let me know if you need anything." - Gives the student permission to return to the Rektor if he isn't getting a satisfactory response from Dr. P.

After a year and a half on the job, the Rektor should already recognize that Dr. P is not a high-energy staff member, so it would be wise to give the student some recourse. After all, the Rektor is a very important person on campus, and it can feel intimidating to talk to him if he hasn't already given you permission.

As it happens, Dr. P did nothing, as Dr. P is wont to do, not responding to the email or the proposal in any way that I am aware of. With the Rektor's hypothetical email in hand, the student would have known who to press for an answer and would have felt comfortable going back to the Rektor if Dr. P didn't act. Without the email, things were just left hanging in limbo for four months, and this extremely polite student didn't know what to do. An adult might have figured things out and made some waves, but teenagers need more guidance. Sometimes, they need explicit permission to contact people, and the email would have provided it.

The Rektor also missed a second opportunity to respond when Hero forwarded me the Deputy Rektor's message on funding, and I responded with a message that was cc'ed to all the original parties. The Rektor could have hit the "Reply" button and typed a short message directly to me.

Dear Glenn,

Thank for you for your proposal. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it looks interesting. Dr. Pederson is the responsible faculty member for the speaking program, so Hero should talk to him. Let me know if you need anything.


I received no such email, so I didn't know who was in charge of the speaking program until I was boarding my plane for Norway.

2) When Abigail took her complaint to the Rektor, it appears that he failed to ask her any hard questions, like "Have you unfriended him?"

Just imagine if you were the Rektor and Abigail came to you. Wouldn't the conversation go like this?...
ABIGAIL: That speaker who is coming next weekend, Glenn Campbell: I'm not comfortable with some of my interactions with him on social media.

REKTOR: What social media are you interacting on?

ABIGAIL: Facebook.

REKTOR: Have you unfriended him?

This question has to be asked even before the Rektor inquires about the content of the communication, because it helps establish his jurisdiction. The whole rest of the investigation hinges on the answer. If she HAS unfriended this outsider but he's still finding ways to annoy her, the line of questioning would expand. If she HASN'T unfriended him and continues to willingly communicating with him, does the school have any right to investigate or intervene at all? (Especially since she is over 18.) Don't students have some responsibility to moderate their own relationships?

"Have you unfriended him?" I hammer on this in many other places in this document because I think it is extremely important. There have to be all sorts of analogies in other kinds of conflicts and disciplinary cases that come before the Rektor and Deputy Rektor. The fact that the question apparently wasn't asked suggests a condescending and paternalistic culture where "We're going protect you" while completely disregarding your own rights and responsibilities.

Imagine a sexual harassment complaint where a young woman claims a young man is bothering her but she has never directly told him she doesn't want to see him. If the school takes action to "protect" this woman, it is in fact deeply disrespecting both parties. Shouldn't the woman be attempting to resolve her own problems before calling on the school? The situation is also ripe for abuse. Why would you want to go through all the pain of breaking up with your boyfriend/girlfiend if you could just complain to the Rektor about them instead? He'll ask no hard questions, and the Deputy Rektor will humiliate this person for you.

3) When the complaint emerged, the Rektor failed to contact me directly. Instead he placed my student sponsor in the untenable position of being forced to defend me without being allowed to talk to me about what was happening.

So there's this secret trial, and this poor kid who doesn't really represent me was forced to act as my lawyer even though he wasn't allowed to tell me what's going on and get my side of the story. I didn't know what was happening. I only knew my student sponsor was going through hell. Hero told me what the allegations were only after Alistair's email, and I suspect even then it was against the administration's wishes.

What would have been the alternative? What would have been the most grown-up, leaderly, effective thing for the Rektor to do?

He could have contacted me directly!

I don't mean that he should have contacted me to tell me about Abigail's charges. He should have contacted me just to make contact. Regardless of whether Abigail's claims had any merit, contact is a good thing. Diplomats and business leaders engage in contact all the time, even when there isn't much content to the contact. They have lunch. They invite each other to cocktail parties. It's just to open the lines of communication.

If I was the Rektor and Abigail came to me with her claims, regardless of her answer to"Have you unfriended him?", I would instantly orient myself toward this visitor. Who is Glenn Campbell? As the Rektor, I'm the spider in the middle of my web and there are these vibrations in the web I don't understand, so I would immediately try to figure them out. Immediately after talking to Abigail, I would be typing "Glenn Campbell" into Google. Wouldn't you? Shortly after that, I would have obtained his email address, reviewed my prior communication with him and sent him a note of welcome.

Dear Glenn -

I am Rektor, or Headmaster, at Red Cross Nordic. I understand you're coming to speak on our campus next weekend. It looks like we have been remiss in not contacting you earlier. I can't find anyone on our staff who has actually talked to you, so I want to offer you a belated welcome to our school.

Do you think we can talk on the phone within the next day or two to discuss your visit? My direct line in Norway is 00000000, but I'd be happy to call you to save you the charges. Just tell me an appropriate time to call.

Richard L----

Telephone can be a wonderful thing, often neglected in the internet age. Over the phone you can feel people out in ways you never can by email. Of course, the best way to understand someone is a face-to-face meeting, but barring that the telephone is a wonderful investigative instrument.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the telephone or how a telephone conversation works, it's actually pretty simple. You ask a question. The other person answers the question, and based on their answer maybe you ask another question that's more specific. Over time, you are "talking" and getting to understand who the other person is, how their mind works and what their intentions are.

Instead of taking this obvious direct approach, the Rektor (or his proxy) chose to grill my student sponsor during the course of multiple meetings and forced him into the uncomfortable and untenable position of having to defend me.

I ask you, is this leadership? Is this protecting the students in your charge? Or is it just laziness, forcing a student to cover for your own lack of initiative?

4) The Rektor delegated the important "Welcome" email to a subordinate instead of sending it himself.

Around April 2, it was clear that the administration was regarding my coming visit with alarm. A student had complained directly to the Rektor about me, and tense meetings were being held to try to figure out what to do. If there was ever a time for a leader to take charge it was this. If I were the Rektor, I would have immediately sent a Welcome email to the speaker, merely as a diplomatic courtesy and to open a line of communication. The Rektor never sent any such email. Instead, he passed the matter to his second-in-command, who sent me a perfunctory Welcome email a week later.

Whether or not Abigail's complaint had any merit, the fact that she made it directly to the Rektor meant it was now the Rektor's responsibility, and he should have taken control from there. Instead, he avoided responsibility by passing the matter to someone else.

5) The Rektor opened his communication with me with an ultimatum.

This was a colossal strategic blunder that no true diplomat would ever make.

Recall that my first significant communication with the Rektor (only his second email to me) was a demand that I speak with them by conference call at one of two specific times dictated by him. This is the equivalent of immediately threatening another country with nuclear weapons without attempting diplomacy first.

(To be fair, he first offered a phone call as a "suggestion" to address "misunderstandings", but he never responded to my main objection that phone calls cost me $2/minute. Instead, he jumped directly to the ultimatum in the next email.)

I can't emphasize what a serious tactical error this was. The Rektor knew nothing about me at this point, apart from the distorted information provided by Alistair. By issuing a course ultimatum without any preliminaries or means of escape, he was backing me into a corner, forcing me to harden my own position. His ultimatum: conference call or no lecture. My ultimatum: in-person meeting or no lecture. On the surface, these positions aren't so far apart that they couldn't be resolved by diplomacy, but no resolution is possible once threats are issued. As much as I would have liked to avoid it, the wheels of war were already turning.

The essence of diplomacy is dialog. You want to feel out your opponent and see where he is coming from before you commit to any action. You don't open a dialog by issuing threats. Threatening to use your nukes right off the bat only guarantees that no dialog can take place.

How do you open a dialog? It's really easy. You ask a question! It is immaterial what the question is. The Rektor could have asked me, "How's the weather down there in Bergen?" and I would have responded. Then we would have been talking and the ultimatums on both sides probably wouldn't have been needed.

That's Diplomacy 101. If the leader of your sensitive international organization never took that course, your institution is in deep trouble.

6) The Rektor did not respond to my objection that phone calls cost me $2/minute in Norway.

Before the Rektor issued his Ultimatum, I informed him that phone calls in Norway were very expensive for me, but that didn't change his insistence on an open-ended conference call.

His first email to me came across as reasonable and said...

I recommend that you speak directly to Alistair and Erik on the phone this afternoon to go carefully through what looks like a series of misunderstandings.
At this point he was making a suggestion, not issuing an ultimatum, so at least he gave diplomacy a tentative try.

My brief reply expressed my genuine concern about how much these calls cost me...

There is a problem: my only phone is an American one where the calls cost two dollars a minute. It is cheaper to come to Flekke, which I intend to do anyway.
(In 2016, I travel with a cellphone plan that allows me to talk for free within the country I'm visiting, but I didn't have that option in 2014.)

The Rektor never acknowledged this cost. Instead, in his next email, he issued his Ultimatum. Not only was he ordering me to participate in an open-ended group interrogation on his terms, he was knowingly asking me to pay for it at $2/minute.

7) The Rektor demanded a conference call when a personal call between me and him would have been more effective.

I wasn't keen on spending $2/minute of my own money to defend myself before a telephonic tribunal starring Alistair, but I may have been more receptive to the idea of talking to the Rektor alone. Given that my negotiations with the Deputy Rektor had already broken down, the Rektor had an opportunity to restart them afresh by simply asking to speak with me on the phone. Instead of the inflexible ultimatum that I speak to the whole group at a specific time, he could have simply said in an email, "There seems to be a lot of confusion here. Could you give me a call today so we can clear this up?"

I would still be paying $2/minute but I wouldn't be facing the prospect of a never-ending bull session dominated by the Deputy Rektor. Two people can negotiate. A whole gaggle of them can't, especially when someone who has already screwed up is part of the party.

This insistence on a conference call, not a personal call, strikes me as peculiar and not particularly leader-like. If a true leader has a conflict with someone, he is first going to try to contact that person directly to get their take, not create a series of bureaucratic layers between himself and his opponent. There may be places where conference calls can accomplish something, but they just muddy the waters in cases of high tension.

However, a conference call is consistent with how I think the Rektor views his own role at the school. I don't think he sees himself as the "leader" of the school. I think he sees himself as the spokesman for what other people at the school have already decided. If there is a conflict, he calls a bunch of people into a room and gets their take on things. Whatever the group agrees on, he implements. He wouldn't be able to use this strategy if he were speaking to me on the phone alone.

Notice how his ultimatum email begins: "I have just had a meeting with Alistair and Erik and Hero we all agree that..." That position is subtly different than: "After consulting with Alistair, Erik and Hero, I have decided that..." In the latter case, he would have been personally accepting responsibility. In the former case, he was just passing along the consensus of the group with no one clearly in charge.

I think this reflects a key observation I have made about the Rektor's personality. I see him a follower by temperament who has been placed in a leadership position. He is "leading" in the only way he knows how, which is to follow the advice of others.

This means in essence that Alistair and other mid-level bureaucrats really run the show, and the Rektor is just there to blindly endorse their decisions.

8) When the crisis came to his attention, the Rektor accepted the word of his subordinates without seeking his own information.

When the Rektor jumped into the crisis, he received a briefing from Dr. Robertson (as indicated in his email) who evidently gave the Rektor a verbal description of our communication, not the emails themselves. There is no indication that Rektor sought any of the direct evidence in Alistair's possession or conducted any research for himself (say, by Googling me). He simply took Alistair's word that I was being non-cooperative.

Alistair and I had exchanged a half-dozen key emails that were not cc'ed to anyone else. You've read these emails, and I hope you see that I was doing my best to be reasonable. There is no indication that the Rektor read them, however. He based his ultimatum—often a prelude to war—based only on rumors and gossip, not data.

When Kennedy faced down Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he had the hard data in front of him. He could see the aerial surveillance images of the missiles on the ground. He wasn't just taking the word of his generals. Such hard data seemed to be of no interest to the Rektor. Just the emotional assertions of Alistair were sufficient for him to issue his ultimatum and launch his organization into war.

9) The Rektor failed to take responsibility for his own decision to cancel the lecture and announce it to me directly. Instead, he manipulated a student or students into making the decision for him and informing me of the decision.

Boy, this makes me mad!

Once the Rektor issued the ultimatum, it was his responsibility to follow through with it. If the Romulan ship is approaching, and Captain Picard says, "Halt or we'll fire our photon torpedos!" Picard is also the one who gives the order to shoot. That is why you have leaders and pay them so much money: for fast, wise decisions in the heat of battle.

Leaders are in place to handle crises—events that are out of the ordinary. If there appears to be a threat to the organization, the leader often has to take unilateral action. You don't run it through a series of committees or you'd already be overrun by the Romulans. Whether the decision is right or wrong is not as important as one person taking responsibility and clearly conveying their decision to others.

I crossed an ocean for this lecture. The least I could expect was a direct message from the leader announcing his decision and explaining it to me. If the Rektor were a true diplomat, it would have been framed as an apology:

Dear Glenn:

I'm terribly sorry about all the confusion here. I certainly appreciate your offer to speak, but I'm afraid there are too many unanswered questions and we're just not prepared to receive you at the moment. It is our fault for not being in touch with you earlier.

It is hard to underestimate the power of words like "Thank You" and "I'm sorry." Even if that are only diplomatic gestures, they are the right ones for a wide array of difficult situations because they give the other party the sense that they are being respected. "Thank You" and "I'm sorry" are not words that I ever heard in my contact with the school.

Any sort of direct diplomatic response from the leader of the organization, accepting responsibility and offering apologies, would have completely disabled my Tiny Little War. Instead, some student I had no prior contact with was manipulated into informing me that "due to unforeseen circumstances" my lecture was cancelled. In other words, instead of taking responsibility for their own decision, the Rektor and Deputy Rektor placed a new student in the firing line, letting him serve as the lightning rod for my inevitable anger.

I don't use the word "manipulated" lightly. I think the Rektor and Deputy Rektor decided that I shouldn't speak, based on my failure to comply with their impossible ultimatum. However, instead of announcing their own decision, they pretended to consult with the World Today Committee, giving them their version of the situation. (I have no proof that such a meeting took place. It's only my best theory.) Since this twisted version of reality was the only one the students had access to, of course they gave the administrators exactly they wanted. A student from the committee, obviously not experienced in diplomacy, was tasked to inform me, and as soon as I received his email our Tiny Little War began.

I think I understand how the brains of the Rektor and Deputy Rektor work. I think they believed they were being "diplomatic" by running their own already firm decision through the student committee instead of announcing it unilaterally, but in the bigger picture, that's not diplomacy but diplomatic cover. It's pushing your own responsibility onto a much weaker and more vulnerable party.

Grrrrrr! Over two years have gone by, and I'm still mad as hell! I'm upset because I did react with anger to that new student's email, assuming he was just another incompetent administrator. I couldn't imagine at the time how an innocent student could be set up as the administration's patsy.

If the Rektor isn't willing to take public responsibility for critical decisions like this, then why the hell is he there?

10) The Rektor keeps the Deputy Rektor in power, so he shares responsibility for the Deputy Rektor's judgment and actions.

In most organizations, the Second-in-Command serves at the will of the Commanding Officer. First Officer is not usually a tenured position but a discretionary one. This is only natural, because the First Officer is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the ship, and the commander has to have complete confidence him. Deciding who should be fulfilling that role and evaluating their performance is one of the key responsibilities of command.

If you think that any of Alistair's emails or actions described herein reflect a lack of core competence, that is the Rektor's responsibility more than Alistair's because the Rektor has implicitly endorsed him in this position. If you take a janitor and elevate him into a position he's not qualified for, that's not really the janitor's fault if he can't perform the duties required. The superior bears the burden of deciding whether his subordinate is qualified for a job.

If he serves at the Rektor's will, the Deputy Rektor's mistakes are essentially the Rektor's mistakes—which pretty much triples the number of Rektor's Mistakes I could include in the section. (Instead, I have chronicled Alistair's massive oeuvre of errors in their own chapter.) You have to see them as a team, like Laurel and Hardy. If Alistair screws up, it's the Rektor's fault for empowering him to do so.

The Glenn Campbell matter was a one-time event, but other campus crises and conflicts must be happening almost every week. The key question we should ask is, How do these nine errors reflect on the Rektor's handling of other problems on campus?

In issuing an ultimatum and forcing us into war without even Googling me, the Rektor unwittingly engaged an experienced opponent who was well-practiced in sticking up for his rights. I was in a strong position to fight back precisely because I had no direct connection to the school. Other people involved in campus conflicts and disciplinary cases at the school are in a much weaker position. If the Rektor and his Deputy, the most powerful figures on campus, fail to follow any disciplined procedures or connected logic, then weaker parties are going to get hurt. I feel that I must be rigorous in pointing out the defects in my case to help protect these future victims.

You can argue that as an outsider, I had no right to fair treatment by the school or its representatives, but that doesn't mean my case is going away. My experience turned into a sort of test case. If I was treated this way based only on internet communication that any reader should see as reasonable, how do you think students and faculty members are going to be treated when their more complex and emotionally charged cases come before the Rektor?


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I would like to know who the previous Rektor was and why he left, since these conditions no doubt affected the selection of the new Rektor. There is probably an interesting story there, but it is beyond the scope of the current inquiry (and anyone named "John" is really hard to Google).

An earlier anonymous comment (Chapter 8) made this interesting reference: "There already was an accident in Norway, one guy came to the same school and killed teenagers." I wonder if there is any connection to the previous Rektor's departure—or to the whole paranoia about my own appearance on campus. (Personally, I accept no responsibility or guilt for what "one guy" did, as long as he wasn't me.)

Oops! But it looks like I got this all wrong. See below.

I have seen the Rektor addressed as both "Richard" and "Larry", but I don't know where Larry comes from, since "L" is not one of the initials of his middle name. I'm confused.
Larry and Alistair gave a workshop on leadership in March 2013. "Integrity and unselfishness always permeate good leadership," says the preview. Yes, but the real key to good leadership is making the right decisions. Integrity and unselfishness don't help anyone if you make a lot of bad decisions based on faulty information.
April 29, 12:30 — Google works fast! If you google for the Rektor's name (in quotes), Chapters 9 and 10 of this document already comes up on the first results page, and my "Witch-Hunt" banner also comes up on the first page of the image search.

You may notice that the Rektor's name does not appear anywhere on this page. That is deliberate. (And it is within my power to suppress the other pages from search engines as I choose.)

April 30, 14:30 — New comment from the anonymous queue...
I think this is getting out of control Glenn, quit while you have the chance and stop looking for people to blame. We understand that things were handled badly but nothing is going to change with either parties involved and by the looks of comments that students at this school have been making they are really seeing no benefit or use of your blog.
For some reason this little passage comes to mind....

May 1, 13:00 — Anonymous comment....
It's pretty impressive that the Queen of Norway visited a few days before you (didn't) - I wonder who her reference was?
LOL! Yes, that's a knotty problem. Who would the Queen of Norway get a reference from? I guess the Queen of England or the Duchess of Cambridge, obviously much higher in the tabloid pecking order.
May 1, 13:05 — Anonymous comment...
When talking about the incident in Norway you really should be a bit more sensitive. It really was a terrible day in norwegian history. Many unnecessary lives were lost and thousands of people were affected.
Oh, so that's the incident. I got it all wrong! When an anonymous correspondent said, "There already was an accident in Norway, one guy came to the same school and killed teenagers," (Chapter 8) I thought they were talking about some incident that happened at Red Cross Nordic itself. I was thinking that some visitor came to the campus, gave some students a ride in his car and there was an accident, killing students. I was looking for some connection between this and the paranoia about me. I even suspected it was connected to the previous Rektor's departure.

What they were talking about instead was the 2011 mass shootings by Anders Behring Breivik near Oslo. Duh!

Gimme a break, guys! This is absurd. This is paranoia in its most virulent form. I may talk about knives and gun-toting Americans, but that's just a literary metaphor. I honestly don't own any guns, don't know how to use a gun and couldn't possibly get a gun through airport security. It's utterly absurd to cancel a lecture because some speaker who nobody bothered to research might possible come to the campus and kill teenagers. It's completely insane that the Breivik incident is even being brought up.

There are big cultural differences here. We Americans have mass shootings all the time. I'm sad to say they're fairly routine and aren't as big a news story as, say, the crisis in Ukraine. That explains how I can come to Norway without even thinking about the Breivik incident. It never entered my calculus in any form. It is a big thing in Norway, where these things aren't supposed to happen, and I'm sure it has registered on the national consciousness much more so than it ever would in America. I understand the paranoia, but its still stupid, baseless paranoia. Intelligent people who have taken required courses in critical thinking ought to be able to see through it.

I reiterate: I am not responsible for, do not feel any guilt for, and will I modify my words or actions for, anything that "some guy" did in Oslo. It's crazy that I should be thrown into that pot just because I happen to be "some guy" too. Witch-hunt indeed!

May 1, 13:35 — Anonymous comment (sent after the above chapter was published)...
Look up the German word 'Besserwisser' and you will find: "A know-it-all or know-all is a person who obnoxiously purports an expansive comprehension of a topic and/or situation when in reality, his/her comprehension is inaccurate or limited."

It's funny, because I actually thought you sounded quite interesting when I first heard about you. Now, however, I am more than happy that you were never allowed to come. What a waste of time it would have been listening to someone who is obviously more interested in picking odd fights over odd matters, rather than actually trying to promote, constructively, his ideas about the 'real world' (which you have yet to define what is). The last two chapters has really shown the meaning of the loaded title "Witch Hunt in Norway". Surely, most people would say that you are committed to a witch hunt based on a very short interacting with and some lesser mistakes by an institution that you honestly have no clue about. Redefine your life, your approach to people and your general attitude and you might one day achieve some of the recognition that you seem to be so desperately seeking.

Duly noted. Besserwisser. The German's have great words for things! Here is a
Twitter feed of them.
May 1, 23:30 — Some guy gives a lecture at a school. Student thanks him. This isn't a fantasy. It actually happened in America. Here is the
Thank You note.


Happy 2nd
11 April
 Witch-Hunt in Norway  
by Glenn Campbell
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