“It reads like something out of one of those interregnum historical pot-boilers,” Pamela answered. She shook her head. “Apparently the former Chancellor announced today was a holiday, told everyone on the staff to stay home, and when the protesters occupied the Hall, at first no one allegedly knew they were doing this. Outside the building, there are whole bunch of students and faculty who are on the other side. The two groups are shouting names at each other.”
“When did all this start?” Chelan asked. “I would’ve thought that we did some advance warning that there was a problem.”
“Conti says that there was a meeting on one of the athletic fields,” Pamela said, “and at some point the people who don’t want you marched over here and occupied the building. There was some amount of underground organization, since Conti says this demonstration didn’t seem to be spontaneous. He emphasizes that he still trying to find out what’s really going on, since our people on the ground were on the far side of campus, parked to defend the library in accord with Seldon Legion customs.”
“Did someone threaten the library?” Chelan asked, his tone of voice suddenly turning much grimmer.
“That’s a negative, sir,” Pamela answered.
“We seem to have a good example of what happens when you don’t have adequate intelligence or people on the ground in advance,” Chelan said. “If I’d known this was happening, I could have advanced to the local Residence Inn, announced I was having a delayed breakfast, and let our good people find out what was happening without the people inside the Hall getting to claim that they’d disrupted the Senate’s plans. Now I’m committed to landing, waving at people, and giving the folks inside the Hall some cockamamie claim that they’d won.”
“Group Leader Conti,” Pamela said, “ reports that there are groups of faculty members who want to meet with you, the student government group that wrote the report on academic standards would be delighted to speak to you whenever you want, there are several groups of administrators who wish to deliver their non-negotiable demands, and it goes on from there.”
“Pamela,” Chelan said, “you’re doing a magnificent job of listening to me and listening to Conti at the same time, which is perhaps asking too much. Please ask Conti it can find the half-dozen faculty members who wrote that peculiar report saying there was an issue here, and find the short list — I think there were four of them — of students who wrote the final draft of the student government report. Is the press there yet?”
“Apparently whoever organized this sent them notices while we were en route. Their local stringers reported that interesting things might happen, so there are at least four camera crews and a bunch of the classical press in attendance.”