Comments from Dr. Rindos on UWA vs Rindos

Hugh W. Jarvis (hjarvis@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Mon, 31 Jul 1995 01:48:04 -0400

Here are the worthy Dr. David Rindos's comments on my recent post to
arch-l and anthro-l about his troubles with the University of Western

Hugh Jarvis


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 1995 08:37:09 +0800 (WST)
From: Dave Rindos <>
To: "Hugh W. Jarvis" <>
Subject: Reply (with additions) (fwd)


Thanks for the advance copy of your post. I believe that you have
summarised the developments well, and I really can't think of any
significant modifications to suggest. I do believe that you hit the nail
on the head when you pointed out the importance of standing up for PROPER
academic standards, including (as was stressed by the FoI Commissioner)

I though you might be interested in a few additions (assuming you have
space in an already long posting).

1) The documents which were forced into release by the FoI ruling make
what seem to be astonishing admissions.

Professor Robert Wood, who chaired my Tenure Review Committee, wrote a
document replying to my complaints about his Recommendation to sack me by
means of denying me tenure.
I had written that being suddenly sacked without proven reasons and
without "ANY previous warning of inadequate performance, in and of itself,
His reply was "I have no argument with this."
I also wrote "A proper and complete rebuttal of the Committee's
findings REQUIRES that we be provided with ALL the relevant evidence
raised in, or related to, the Report. I must know the names of my
accusers, the nature of their complaints, the evidence indicating that
their complaints are valid and not mere defamatory constructions, and the
data which has been used in what appears to be a campaign designed to
destroy my career and my good name and reputation."
His response was "I interpret this as a threat."
I could give many more quotations from this document, but I think you
get the point! [as well as an idea of possible reasons why it was not
provided to me :{) ]

Another document forced into release was written by a member of the
Committee who did not attend the second meeting. This person seems to
have made clear what the whole business was REALLY about. He said, in
enumerating his reasons for denying me tenure, that "most importantly for
the University, [he] has been involved in creating an atmosphere in which
his colleagues and superiors find it impossible to cooperate with him or
he with them." It seems the true reasons for denying me tenure are at
least put into writing here, and that the false and harmful complaints
about me had their intended effect.

It really is too bad that a decision was made to break WRITTEN
University regulations and hide all of those harmful documents so that I
could not even be aware of them, no less respond. I could have very
easily replied to the false complaints made about me. It was also
unfortunate that the University decided to prohibit me from appearing
before the Review Committee or even speaking to its members. It is
especially sad that they made the decision specifically to exclude ANYBODY
who could represent my point of view, and that they chose not to involve
the biological anthropologist who had written the two formal Reviews of my
performance (both of which were positive, but neither of which were
mentioned in the Recommendation to deny tenure). It might have been nice
to have at least ONE member of my field on the Committee (as it was, the
decision on my tenurability was made by a surgeon, the manager of a State
Enterprise, and experts on Business Management, Classical Theatre, and
Mediterranean Legumes.)

Another formal performance report, written by the Head of the
Department to which I was assigned after being moved from archaeology,
and now forced into supply was never mentioned in any of the
Recommendations to deny tenure. I now know that it said about me: "He
is a very enthusiastic researcher and has become productive in the past
few months since the burden of conflict has been removed from his
situation. . . . He is a pleasure to have in the Department and wishes
to fit in with the staff and functioning of the Department." I can see
why they might have believed acknowledging this document might cause
them problems!

A document written while I was in Geography by Professor Bowdler, the
then Head of Archaeology, and newly released to me, makes reference to
events which were to be used (maliciously, in my view) as the basis for
charges of sexual harassment one year later. She wrote regarding these
events "I should make it clear that I am not insinuating any sort of
sexual harassment here." Nevertheless, charges were later brought against
me (no doubt coincidently :{( ) at the very same time as my tenure
was scheduled to be confirmed. According to sworn statements, the "fact"
of said charges were passed around by the Vice-Chancellor and other high
UWA administrators, even before I was made aware of them. Hmmm......

2) You may not be aware that I am now in the process of appealing to the
University Visitor (which is an ancient jurisdiction, and is essentially
equivalent to making an appeal to the Crown itself). This is a very
expensive and time-consuming process, but I am hopeful that justice will
soon be done. We will have to prove to the Visitor that I was treated in
an improper fashion. I believe that the FoI Commissioner's Ruling and the
recently released documents will make our job at least a bit easier! :{)
Importantly, the Visitor has the right to set aside ANY decision made by
the University, and also has the power fully to investigate the larger
issues connected to my case.

3) It became publicly known in the last few days that another university
in Perth had been holding secret negotiations with UWA in an attempt to
find a solution. The hope was that I could be quietly reinstated and then
moved to another posting. Sadly, after initially agreeing to negotiate,
it is reported that UWA rejected the offer, even though it appears it
would have been at little or no cost to them. It also became publicly
known that Members of Parliament are now considering an open and full
inquiry into events at UWA. I hope it does not have to go this far for
fear that harm might be done to the vast majority of UWA Staff who, as I
noted in reply to your last post, have shown great support for myself and
the students who were disadvantaged during this affair.

4) Last, but far from least, I hope that a fair resolution of my case will
permit these same students a chance to clear their own names and allow
them to regain their faith in academia as an institution. All three
students who originally went with me to Geography have left Australia. As
one of these women recently wrote me, she feels like a rape victim who has
been told that she was "asking for it." This makes me very sad, indeed,
but it also reinforces my resolve to continue fighting. As we used to say
"if you ain't part of the solution, then you're part of the problem."

Thank you again for making the current problems known. And as before, you
may do with this letter whatever you please. I would very much
appreciate, however, if you could let people know the VC's e-mail address

I believe that it might help a great deal if they were to send her a note
of support for my case in that hopes that a settlement could be obtained.


Dave Rindos
20 Herdsmans Parade Wembley WA 6014 AUSTRALIA
Ph:+61 9 387 6281 (GMT+8) FAX:+61 9 387 1415 (USEDT+12)

God is not dead. He's just changed His name to Culture and
may be reached through your local anthropology department.