The students’ trust in the administration is decreased

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The management of the hiring process of the new university director at UiS has received a lot of media attention. StOr-president Daniel Haug Nystad stated at the last board meeting that the students have lost a lot of their trust in the vice-directors.

By: Eirik Ravnestad Eikefet (text) & Stian Skjerping (photo). Translated by: Rebecca Charboneau.

DISAPPOINTED: President of StOr, Daniel Haug Nystad, is not happy with the way the staff-directors handled the conflicts around the hiring process of the new UiS-director.

A lot has been said and a lot has been done in the tense issue surrounding the appointment of a new university director at the University of Stavanger (UiS). Many have claimed that the way in which this issue was handled influenced who won the rector election.

Recommendations, letters of mistrust and other letters which were not meant to be publically published, were leaked to Stavanger Aftenblad. The vice-directors at the university have never tried to hide who they wanted as the university director; they wanted the current director, Per Ramvi, to continue.

UiS has again managed to make a process that was demanding enough to begin with, to a nearly unmanageable situation. – Daniel Haug Nystad, president of StOr.

Responsibility for managing conflicts
The Student Organization (StOr) works closely with the administration at UiS. Daniel Haug Nystad is the president of StOr, but also is part of the recommendation committee, which presented to the university board who they believed should be the new director at UiS. At the university’s previous board meeting, the StOr president informed the board that the students’ trust in the staff directors was greatly decreased.

– UiS has again managed to make a process that was demanding enough to begin with, to a nearly unmanageable situation. We in StOr see how this affects the students, and we receive feedback from students who feel this has been a difficult situation. There is not a large ocean between the students and the employees. We are in exactly the same place. In our opinion, the staff directors, who are a central part of the administration, have a large responsibility for managing conflicts. They have not contributed to that in this case, said Haug Nystad at the meeting.

Tarnished
The StOr president emphasizes that the Student Organization still trusts the vice-directors, but that the trust has been tarnished. Both the student parliament and the student board agree with StOr. They react strongly at the fact that the vice-directors wrote letters about the secret decision in a personnel case which should not have been made public. When this was leaked out, nothing was done to control the situation.

– It is frustrating and sad to see that the informal meeting places have almost disappeared and that conversations are occurring between third persons, such as Aftenbladet and the internet. Based on this, it is not possible for the students and the Student Organization to draw any other conclusions than that the vice-directors have lost a lot of our trust. It is clear that this will impact how we work, says Nystad during the board meeting.

It is not possible for the students and the Student Organization to draw any other conclusions than that the vice-directors have lost a lot of our trust. – Daniel Haug Nystad, president of StOr.

– Not a problem
It has now been decided that the new university director will be the current resource director, John B. Møst. Before the appointment, all of the vice-directors, except Møst, sent a letter to the board where they wrote that the resource director was not qualified for the job. The personnel director, Halfdan Hagen, who was one of the letter-writers, will not say anything about how it will be to work for a person he believed was not qualified for the job.

– The board has made a decision. I will act professionally according to this decision and take it into consideration, says Hagen.

The current rector, Aslaug Mikkelsen, does not believe it will be a problem that Møst was hired and thus will be the letter-writers’ boss.

– This will be resolved. All employees are professional, she says.

Møst also believes this will not be a problem.

– It is clear there are different opinions. There are six people who have written this letter – not all of the employees at UiS. We must take this up with those who have protested. But they need to act according to the board’s decision, he says.

This has happened

  • The position period of six years as university director ends i August. Thus UiS advertised the position.
  • The position received five applicants, among them the current university director, Per Ramvi, who wanted to continue.
  • The appointment committee recommended only the current resource director, John B. Møst, for the position as new director.
  • Many employees have protested against that Ramvi was not recommended, and feel it was unfair to him to not inform him of this before he applied. This has come forward as a result of the internal documents that have been leaked to the media.
  • Among other things, all the staff directors, except Møst, wrote a letter to the board saying that only the current director, Per Ramvi, was qualified for the position.
  • On top of this, an anonymous website was created where many internal documents that were not for the public, were published.
  • The UiS board was supposed to hire a new director at the board meeting February 15, but sent the case back to the appointment committee. This was because they did not feel sufficiently informed.
  • According to Aftenbladet, Ramvi was recommended as the second choice for the position after the second round in the appointment committee.
  • The issue was taken up again at an extra meeting March 30. Finally, John B. Møst was hired.

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