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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

St. Olaf's Wayward Prof

There are some things that are inexplicable. A professor at St. Olaf's college in Minnesota, Phil Busse, has done the Internet equivalent of streaking by bragging of the thrill he got by stealing yard signs for McCain, at at night. He explains :
yanking out the signs and running like a scared rabbit back to my idling car was one of the single-most exhilarating and empowering political acts that I have ever done.

There is something so emotionally disturbing and self destructive about this person that it seems to me it calls for psychological intervention.

But leaving the professor to his own mental devils, I was very curious about St. Olaf's reaction. I was expecting lots of circling wagons of the kind that Ward Churchill got after his "little Eichmans" epistle.

So I picked up the phone and called St. Olaf. I reached Cathleen Carr, Executive Assistant to the President and I explained that I was a blogger and wanted to find out what St. Olaf had decided to do about Mr. Busse. I was transferred to Mr. Steve Blodgett, Director of Communications.

Steve told me that the first time they had heard about this was Friday morning after Busse posted his essay on the Huffington Post. The matter was immediately referred by the college to the local police and Mr. Busse had resigned.

It was actually a pleasant conversation and I believe that St. Olaf handled itself very well.

There is still one lesson that St. Olaf has not learned. They were willing to send a statement to one of the dead tree newspapers in their community, but were unwilling to send the same statement to a "blogger." It takes virtually no effort to prepare a statement for distribution via e-mail these days. You would think that St. Olaf, having done the right thing, would want that known far and wide. If they think that sending a statement to the Northfield News (circulation 5000) is the way to get their story out, they are living in the last century.

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