Call for Submissions on UWA Affair by UWA Parliament !!
Hugh W. Jarvis (hjarvis@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Tue, 23 Apr 1996 20:53:37 -0400
On Wed, 23 Jun 1993 [!] I posted to the anthropology and archaeology
mailing lists a general article about the denial of tenure to Dr David
Rindos entitled "Suppression of Academic Freedom." It began:
"I believe it is time that the membership of Anthro-l began to discuss the
topic of academic suppression and what can be done to help our colleagues
in other parts of the world who are suffering abuse due to the personal
convictions of their superiors or government."
After sketching out what little was then know about the case, I asked the,
at that point largely rhetorical, question: "What action can the
international community take?"
It appears that now, 3 years after Dave was fired, and almost 6 years
after he made his earliest reports on the scandal existing the archaeology
department at UWA, the international community has been given the
opportunity, and, indeed, encouraged by a neutral party, to act!
On Saturday I received the text of an advertisement which appeared in the
Australian press calling for submissions to be sent to a Parliamentary
Committee which is now holding a formal, Parliamentary enquiry into the
events surrounding the denial of tenure to Dave Rindos, and the general
managment of the University of Western Australia. You are all invited to
join in and have your say!
These submissions, of course, can be as blunt and honest as one might like
because they will be fully covered by the Privilege of Parliament. You
should also note there is NO problem, given the invoking of Standing Order
324 of the West Australian Parliament, for people to request that their
testimony be kept confidential.
For background, feel free to consult the Rindos/UWA Web Site at
I personally believe that one of the most important things to stress is
that, from an international perspective, it is clear that the University
of Western Australia has made a royal mess of everything we as academics
hold dear. The enquiry is certainly interested in assessing the harm
which has been done to UWA's reputation, and even notes this point in its
Terms of Refrence.
(You might want to look at the Rindos Site in the Press and Parliamentary
areas, as well as the Net and Letters areas. The complete Terms of
Reference are on the site at the top of the "Recent Developments" page.)
It is still an amazement to me to look back and read the nonsense that UWA
felt appropriate to mention in its replies to what people have said about
this whole affair, not the least of which has been posted by various
University personnel on these lists! (Look in the Site at the Net and
Denial of Tenure areas.)
Perhaps the only good thing that has come out of this affair is that we
have collectively been able to discover the wonderful effect the Internet
can have in terms of making academia more accountable AND more
(A link to the full Terms of Reference as provided by Parliament can be
found at the top of the "Recent Developments" page on the site.)
The published Parliamentary ad gives the full Terms of Reference and then
notes the following:
= = = = = = =
"The Committee intends to report to the House by August 1996.
"Interested persons are invited to make a written submission to the
Committee. The submission need not be detailed: a short condensed
statement citing the relevance to a particular term of reference would be
sufficient. Any person wishing to meet the Committee to speak in support
of his/her written submission should make that request in the submission.
"All submissions should be sent to
Standing Committee on Government Agencies
PERTH Western Australia 6000
"SUBMISSIONS RECEIVED AFTER THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON MONDAY, MAY 6 1996
MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED BY THE COMMITTEE BECAUSE OF TIME RESTRAINTS."
Given the national, and international, attention which has occurred as a
result of the mis-treatment of Rindos and the archaeology students at UWA,
it is important that Parliament get enough information to be able to judge
the case as fully as possible.
I note, again, that terms of reference could NOT be broader, and the
concern of the WA Parliament with "proper procedures" and "need to
maintain integrity, professionalism, and international standing" of the
University make it perfectly fine for ANY interested party to respond.
If you need a copy of the terms of reference, or want to refresh yourself
on the details of the events over the past several years, remember, there
just happens to be a well-stocked Web site all ready to help you. :-)
You may access the Call for Submissions published by Parliament by
choosing the first option on the "Recent Developments" page on the site.
Given the sometimes slow movement of the mails, and the rather fast
approaching deadline, I note that the FAX for the WA Parliament is:
+ 61 9 321 2914
I would appreciate a copy of any message that you send, or if you like,
you could even send a copy off to David Rindos <email@example.com> who
would be very interested to hear all that you might have to say!
Thank you very much and let's hope this whole mess is cleared up soon
as it certainly has been a drawn out process for everyone involved! The
harm to our discipline has been severe, as has been the harm to students
and to academic freeedom!