How did you detect whether your trust-building efforts were successful?


Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Were you able to detect when you were successful in building trust?

Answer:
Oh yes. I would detect when I wasn't successful too because they would follow you. They would even call your hotel room at night and give you some erroneous information.

Question:
They'd test you?

Answer:
Oh yes. They'd test you. They would test your confidentiality. There's so many little things that you have to be aware of. They will tell you something and if you go to the sheriff, the chief of police, or the mayor with this information, you know you've been set up.






Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How could you detect when you were succeeding in building trust?

Answer:
How would I know that I had trust?

Question:
How could you tell that you were getting the parties to be more comfortable to trust you more, to trust the process more? What signs were they giving you?

Answer:
Well, they would reveal the level of interest in it by questions and comments about it. Beyond that, I'm not sure that I could give you much of an answer.

Question:
Was it something very overt and obvious, as them saying, "Hey, we trust you now," or was it something a little more subtle than that?

Answer:
Oh, no it would be more subtle than that, like a willingness to proceed to accept recommendations or to participate in mediation. You could also tell by their level of frankness when talking about their concerns.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So when she found out what I could do and would do and how I did it, I was her boyfriend. I don't mean literally so, but it was a situation where I wasn't going to let her down. Nor was I working for her and she knew that. She knew that I wasn't working for her, but she also knew that I wasn't going to lie to them about whatever occurred in a situation. That's how you build trust. No matter what you do in some instances, some situations, you're not going to be trusted. There's always an element of that when you're coming from the Justice Department. People are leery of government officials and Justice Department people. They've had enough experience of getting busted over the head by somebody from the established order.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Is that how you gauged how much trust they had in you and the process, by when they were ready to sit down and move forward?

Answer:
Yeah, because there was no reason for them to come to the table if they didn't trust me. Coming to the table could be dangerous for them. You've got students sitting there with the faculty and the administration, who have complete power over them. You've got administrators sitting over there with somebody from the Justice Department. They always felt like there was this potential for investigation, no matter how many times we told them, it still had its own power. If they agreed to come to the table, it generally meant they trusted that I was going to be able to protect their interest within that context. For example, not let the students just chew up and spit out the administration without any real benefit to that. Or allow the administration to just dump on the students. But that there was going to be some mutual respect and dialogue going on, and certainly there would be some venting going on, but it would be within the context of, "How do you feel about that?" "What was your response to that?" ...and not assassinating people or ticking individuals off. If they trusted me with that, then they would come to the table.






Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I also knew that certain people held grudges that would prevent it from working. You never knew who held the grudge against who. And after all the handshakes and everything else, sometimes it just wasn't good. And I knew in this situation, the poor athletes being on scholarship and everything else, weren't in the position to stand on equal ground. At least I didn't think so. So we never were going to sit down in the President's office. If there was anybody sitting down in the President's office, it was going to be me. In these types of cases I handled the conflict through on-going shuttle diplomacy.






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by Conflict Management Initiatives and the Conflict Research Consortium at the University of Colorado