the "Rindos / UWA Case" Site
(Site last extensively modified: Mar 27, 2002 )

[Rindos image] David Rindos passed away in his sleep early Monday, December 9, 1997 of a massive heart attack brought on by heavy stress. Although exhausted in body by his struggles, his spirit was always strong. We shall all miss his energy, his warmth, and his good counsel.

Two memorial messages were posted to the Net, one by me, and a second by one of his former students. An obituary appeared in the American Anthropology Associations Anthropology Newsletter. But while the memorials and obituary commemorate him from afar, we can very directly see his warm personality through his culinary skills (chutney recipe) and a short essay which shows a spirit refreshingly untainted by the poisonous atmosphere which tried to overwhelm him.

This site is an inter-related collection of Commentaries, Documents, and Data Resources.
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Internal Links

This portion of the Rindos Site contains the following sections, all of which are linked to other pages:

  1. Dr Rindos and the Discovery of Problems at UWA
  2. The Denial of his Tenure
  3. Letters of Support and Protest
  4. The Review of the Archaeology Department
  5. The Aftermath to his Dismissal from UWA
  6. The Case as Discussed on the Net
  7. Press Coverage
  8. Events in the West Australian Parliament
  9. Legal Aspects of the Case
  10. The Freedom of Information Commission
  11. Attempts to Censor this Site
  12. Documents found in this Web site

1. Dr Rindos and the History of his Case

Dr David Rindos, who is well-known in his field for his ground-breaking work in anthropological theory, was recruited from the USA in 1988 and offered a position in a the department of archaeology at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth, Western Australia. (A very brief summary of Dr Rindos' work, and a copy of his Curriculum Vita may be viewed here. And, in addition, a short essay which reveals the depth of his indomitable spirit has been recently disclosed.

Arriving in Australia in mid-1989, and almost immediately taking up the headship of the Department, he soon found himself on the receiving end of a large number of serious complaints from students and staff regarding inequities and victimization occurring within his new department (see the UWA regulations governing heads of departments).

His attempts to work out matters within the department failed, and he soon found both himself and his PhD students being subjected to the very same sort of victimization described in the formal complaints put to him as Head of Department.

So, only a bit over a year after arriving, he began delivering reports to high University Administrators regarding the conditions in the Department (and as will be seen in the Missing Documents Menu [UNDER DEVELOPMENT] his final report to his Head of Division, Professor Charles Oxnard, like much of the other data supporting his case has mysteriously disappeared from UWA files).

These Administrators, working in conjunction with the University Equity Office, acted promptly, and by the beginning of the new school year of 1991, they had arranged a transfer of Dr Rindos and his students to the safe-keeping of another department. Conditions there were highly favorable, the students were given many special extensions to their scholarships to make up for the poor academic conditions which had existed in Archaeology, and by mid 1991 their lives seemed to have returned to normal. This fact was reflected in the formal performance review (the second of three required) written by Professor Taylor, Head of Geography.

At around the same time, these same Administrators who had acted on behalf of Dr Rindos and his students also arranged, with the knowledge and consent of both the Vice-Chancellor and the Equity Office, for a formal investigation into the conditions in Archaeology [see, Section 4, of this Homepage]. It seemed that events were going as anybody would have expected, and that the conditions in the Department would soon return to what is normal for any academic department.

Yet, when the dust settled, the outcome of this saga was quite the reverse of what anybody might have anticipated. By mid 1993, Dr Rindos had been fired from his job, his name under a cloud, and the students who had initially been protected, along with him, by means of their transfer, had all left Australia. Meanwhile, the previous head of Department, and the focus of many of the complaints, remains employed at UWA, while Dr Rindos continues in his fight to clear his name and restore his reputation.

Follow this link for a discussion of Dr Rindos' hiring and early experiences at the University of Western Australia during the period 1988 - 1991.

This next link eventually will lead to a detailed, ethnographic treatment of the documents from the same period. At the moment it is under development.

Finally, a memorial statement posted to the Internet, an obituary, and a biography posted by the Anthropology Department of Minnesota State University, Mankato, conclude his unfortunately short life.

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2. Processes Used to Deny Tenure

The Archaeology Departmental Review Committee met during late 1991, and produced its Report, and the included series of strongly worded Recommendations during December 1991.

During this same month, members of the Committee met with the Vice-Chancellor and explained their findings in detail, noting that the specifics of the problems they had uncovered simply could not be put into a public document at that point in time. However, they did produce confidential documents providing more detail than they had put into their Report.

By the end of 1991, major changes had occurred in high administrative positions with the two previous administrators who had been involved in dealing with the problems in archaeology leaving their posts (for reasons having nothing to do with the Archaeology problems). Hence, in December 1991, when the new Head of Divison first attempted to transfer Dr Rindos and his students back to Archaeology, it was believed that this Administrator, Professor Alan Robson, simply was uniformed about the facts. Members of the Review Committee apparently spoke to him, and conditions appeared to return to normal.

In fact, it now appears that, by the end of 1991 or early 1992, a decision had been made, doubtless at the highest of levels, to get rid of Dr Rindos. By the beginning of January 1992, Dr Rindos' personnel file received exceedingly odd, and somewhat cryptic annotations. Throughout 1992 numerous confidential memoranda were circulated. These memoranda which were known only to a very small circle of administrators (which interestingly included all of the academic members of administration who were eventually to be involved in denying him tenure).

These internal memoranda only make sense if a decision to deny Dr Rindos had already been made. The problem being discussed was how to develop a reason to deny tenure that would stand up in public. Some of these memoranda actually go so far as to worry about how his previous good performance will make firing him difficult, while others worry about the effect that his heavy teaching load will have upon the Administration's future plans.

The problem caused by his heavy teaching load was able to be dealt with simply by cancelling his classes -- his now "low" teaching load was then used as an argument in favor of firing him in the internal documents (i.e. a highly confidential February 1992 letter written by a member of the Tenure Review Committee). The problem presented by his positive internal reviews proved more intractable, so after one totally unsuccessful attempt to claim that concern over alleged mental problems had motivated a positive evaluation, and another attempt to describe them as "less than supportive," failed, the solution was found -- they were simply ignored.

Perhaps not coincidently, from about the time that the Review Committee began its preliminary investigations, and right through most of 1992, Professor Bowdler, as well as her colleagues in the department, had been writing highly critical reports and making false statements about Dr Rindos, meeting with the Vice-Chancellor, and lodging exceedingly strong confidential statements against him. These rubbished his abilities and accomplishments and laid all blame for the problems being uncovered in Archaeology at his feet. None of these complaints were ever shown to Dr Rindos for reply or rejoinder, but, as will be discussed later, were placed by design into a "special" file at the University for the express purpose that he NOT be aware of either their existance or their contents!

Then, in late February 1992, at the same time that the Review Committe was presenting its formal recommendations to a University Committee -- recommendations that included calls for further inquiry and strong action to solve the problems they had uncovered -- Dr Rindos and his students were transferred, against their will, back to Archaeology. One can only imagine the welcome awaiting them there!

Dr Rindos' students, with the help of their Student Union were successful in resisting this move and were able to remain in Geography (though strong financial pressure was later placed on that department to make his students a financial burden). Dr Rindos, however, was advised by his Union that he had no choice but to accept the move back to Archaeology, and he was assigned an office -- at the other end of campus from his students -- in a unused room in the Campus Radio Station. Unlike his earlier move to Geography which had been documented in full, this move back to Archaeology was never formalised in writing -- hence, his tenure review was to be done by a person who was not only from a field totally unrelated to anthropology, but also by a person who wasn't, at least in the most narrow of senses, his official supervisor.

The new Head of Division, a mathemetician, Dr Michael Partis, who had arranged these moves, also took over the title of "Executive Head" of Archaeology when Professor Bowdler resigned the headship. Dr Partis' behaviour in his role at "Head of Department" was soon to elicit a rather caustic letter from one of the members of the Review Committee who made clear that Dr Partis seemed to be treating his responsibilities in a less than totally proper manner.

Meanwhile, despite the public appearance of further inquiries (see the discussion below on the Hotop/Clyde Report) being undertaken into the events in Archaeology, and very much behind the scenes, a few high administrators, including the Vice-Chancellor, were at work attempting to find another department to take responsibility for archaeology -- or more precisely, for Professor Bowdler.

The first attempt to find such a home for Professor Bowdler occurred in February (even before the Archaeology Review Committee had formally reported its findings). It was done by means of secret, "off the record" meetings with the History Department, but proved unsuccessful. According to a statement from a member of that department, the plan failed because people were wary of taking the widely rumoured problems in Archaeology onto themselves.

Then, in May 1992, similar discussions with Anthropology proved successful: In return for generous financial grants from the University, the Department voted to accept administrative responsiblity for the Archaeologists on campus.

In what was then described as a consequence of the Hotop Clyde report, Archaeology at the University of Western Australia became, at least in name, a Centre within the Anthropology Department -- though it remained in its same location at the opposite end of the UWA campus. And at the present time, Professor Bowlder is the only member of the 1992 Department still on the UWA payroll, the other members of her Department having since left, apparently of their own accord, to positions elsewhere.

Dr Rindos and his students were excluded in writing from being party to the new arrangment. But this probably didn't have much effect upon Dr Rindos since, by mid-1992, he had more than enough of his own problems with which to deal.

June 1992 should have seen Dr Rindos granted tenure. He had had two successful judgments of his performance, and, had his case been like any other one at UWA, the third anniversary of his appointment would have marked the day on which he was tenured.

However, in May, and following a flurry of internal memoranda, his probationary review was abruptly and improperly extended by the Vice-Chancellor for reasons unconnected to his performance. In doing this, she went against written University policy and her own earlier words.

The extension was given, following the wording suggested in a confidential internal memorandum to allow Dr Parits more time to "review" Dr Rindos' case.

Importantly, this same memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor makes obvious that a belief existed that the "problems in archaeology" provided the sole reason for questioning his "suitability" for tenure. This memo, therefore, directly contradicts the many statements made by the university in the following years that "no connection" existed between the problems in archaeology and Dr Rindos' dismissal.

The extension of his period of review was fought by Dr Rindos' Union on the grounds that it went against the written regulations of the University, but to no avail.

Vice-Chancellor Gale again extended his review period in December 1992, but this time it was apprently because legal advice on Dr Partis' reasons to deny tenure made it necessary to create a Tenure Review Committee to develop new reasons to fire him. The Vice-Chancellor's actions in extending the review period was later publicly portrayed as if it had been done for Dr Rindos' benefit!

In June 1992, Dr Rindos submitted what should have been his final yearly report, only to be told by Dr Partis that it was insufficently detalied and that he should rewrite it. This went on for several months, and in consequence rather than the 3 to 5 page yearly report normal at UWA, his report began to approach 1000 single spaced pages.

As if this were not enough to keep him busy, at this same time he was having to defend himself against charges of plagiarsm (brought by a member of the Archaeology department and finally judged to be totally groundless), sexual harassment (brought rather improbably, given the fact that Dr Rindos is openly gay, by three women from the old Archaeology Department), "pornography mongering" (brought against him by Dr Partis on the admitted basis of no evidence whatsoever, though it is now know to have originated in a "verbal" complaint by an unnamed person), and charges that one of his students had offended Aboriginal people in an article published in a leading Australian Anthropological journal (this charge was made to a State Officer by the same person who was also being kept busy by charging Dr Rindos with plagiarism).

In late 1992 Partis produced two separate reports providing his arguments for denying Dr Rindos' tenure. Neither mentioned any problems with Dr Rindos's academic performance, but instead held that he should be denied tenure because he was "unacceptable" to the members of the old Archaeology Department -- a judgment which probably should not cause any great astonishment given the numerous false and malicious letters they had already written about him.

[See: Dr Partis' Second tenure review report which was forced into release in 1994 by the Western Australia Freedom of Information Commission.]

Internal documents make clear that the University lawyers found Dr Partis' line of argument unacceptable: Tenure decisions must be made on academic grounds. Therefore, in early 1993, a Tenure Review Committee was set up to make a final judgment on Dr Rindos' tenurability. It will probably not come as a suprise that they found just such problems -- the first and only official concern ever evidenced by the University with his performance was given in the document recommending he be fired for his alleged poor performance! It will also probably come as no surprise to learn that the confidential documents surrounding the denial of his tenure -- documents which the university was forced to release by the State Freedom of Information Commissioner -- speak of his role in uncovering the problems in Archaeology rather than any problems with his academic performance.

The process invoked by the the Tenure Review Committee was to see Dr Rindos writing yet another long report on his work, and by early 1993 suspicion was growing about the fairness of his tenure review. In March 1992, a public letter written by the Head of the Archaeology Review Committee brought the matter to the attention of the larger archaeological community and numerous letters of support for Dr Rindos began to flow into UWA.

Interestingly, it was Professor Robson, the person who had first attempted the return of Dr Rindos and his students to the Archaeology Department, who made the subjective statement in the Tenure Review Report upon which the "poor performance" argument against Dr Rindos' tenure was to be based.

In a document forced into release by the Freedom of Information Office, Professor Wood attempted to reply to some of the points Dr Rindos had raised in his Reply to their Recommendation to deny tenure. In the commented transcription of this document, Wood actually puts into writing that he could not disagree with the fact that Dr Rindos had suffered major injustice at the hands of his own Committee!

Finally, in June 1993, after much last-minute confusion for the UWA Adminstration caused by two UWA departments offering to take him on as a tenured member of department (solved, as usual, by the "power of the purse"), the Vice-Chancellor denied Dr Rindos tenure.

In her letter of dismissal she misrepresented the findings of the Tenure Review Committee, falsly claimed that a decision to down-grade archaeology at UWA had been made, and provided her own purely personal reason for firing him -- the "fact" that he had been unable to get along with Professor Bowdler!

A brief summary of Dr Rindos' charges against UWA regarding the processes used in their denial of his tenure can be viewed by following this link.

Dr Rindos' submission to the State Ombudsman provides a detailed comparison of the written regulations of the University to their actions during the denial of his tenure.

A longer Commentary with links to the original documents and data resources may be viewed by following this link. It tells a remarkable story of prejudical processes secretly used by the Administration of UWA during 1992 and 1993 in refusing to confirm Dr Rindos' tenure.

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3. Letters of Support and Protest

In early 1993, as word began to informally spread that Dr Rindos was likely to be denied tenure by the University of Western Australia, letters of support from around the world began to pour into the Vice-Chancellor's Office.

By June 1993, after tenure was denied to him, on what the University kept claiming were "academic" grounds, letters were still arriving, but they had changed from letters of support to letters of protest.

Selected Quotations from these letters of support and protest may be viewed here.

The menu for the letters sent to UWA is still under development, but already contains a sample of the letters and other communications received by the University.

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4. The Review of the Archaeology Department

The Review of Archaeology which met in late 1991 and formally presented its Report in early 1992, indicated that conditions in the Archeology Department were shockingly inappropriate for University life. They reported that sexual involvements leading to victimization and rewards had been commonplace, that interference with academic freedom was rife, and that students and staff were being seriously compromised in their ability properly to do their jobs.

The members of the Review Committee wrote that the conditions were so bad as to constitute a serious threat to everything for which the university stood, and that further, very strong, action was necessary as a matter of priority.

The University administration reacted to the Report of the Archaeology Review Committee by requesting letters of testimony for a second committee of inquiry which, it was promised, would deal with the problems which had been uncovered. These letters were solicited by means of a request sent to persons who had earlier provided testimony to the Committee, but whose evidence had been intentionally destroyed because, it was believed, it would have only limited legal standing. Hence, new letters were solicited under terms which should have guaranteed that they were NOT strictly speaking "confidential", and therefore would have the needed legal standing should it be necessary to bring internal charges against those about whom complaints had been made. These were then fowarded, by the Vice-Chancellor, to two high academics for evaluation and recommendations on the proper course of action to follow.

At the end of March 1992, the second committee ("The Hotop/Clyde Committee") presented its findings to the Vice-Chancellor. According to one of the members of that Committee, however, they had received a "very carefully circumscribed" brief from Vice-Chanceloor Gale which permitted them only to review the letters of testimony which had been sent to her.

Interestingly, among the 40 letters eventually received were 6 letters from staff from other departments at UWA, and some 11 from staff members at other institutions most of whom had not made submissions to the original Bruce Review. The overwhelming majority of these were highly supportive of Professor Bowdler, but they were given no more than passing mention by Professors Hotop and Clyde, apparently because they believed that little testimony of value regarding the purely internal management of the Department could be received from those speaking from the outside.

We also now know that Professor Hotop and Clyde had been incorrectly informed about the nature of the letters they had been sent for evaluation, and believed them to be "confidential." which, of course, they were not, and by design! They were also not permitted to read any of the material already written regarding the problems in archaeology, interview the involved parties, nor to seek any further data.

Despite these obstacles, they still produced a very strongly worded report, one which took the allegations made against Professor Bowdler very seriously, and one which made clear that the Vice-Chancellor would be advised to take the strongest possible action. Importantly, their report provided their judgement that the charges against Professor Bowdler were not the result of any sort of collusion between the authors who had raised charges. They did note the existance of "critical" statments made about Dr Rindos in the context of letters of support for Professor Bowdler written by members of her staff, but made no comment on them, nor did they advice any action whatsoever to be taken in response to them. Instead, the entire report deals with how, properly, to deal with the problems surrounding allegations made about Professor Bowdler's behaviour.

Until it was rather oddly released by the Vice-Chancellor to a local journalist in March 1996, NOBODY at the University except the Vice-Chancellor has ever seen the report which resulted from this second inquiry, and even the general nature of its recommendations remained unknown (although it was widely rumoured that they dealt solely with problems arising from the behavior of Professor Bowdler, which belief was reinforced when Dr Rindos was refused supply under FoI proceedings on the grounds that it said nothing about him).

According to statements made by the vice-chancellor in press interviews dating from 1992, Professor Bowdler had been asked to reply in writing to matters arising from this second inquiry. In 1994, however, the University denied that Bowlder had ever done been asked to reply in writing, and claimed to the Freedom of Information Commissioner that all dealings with Bowdler were verbal and unminuted. In 1995, the University admitted that, in fact, she had responded in writing -- but when a copy was requested, they then claimed that her response has somehow gotten lost.

Then, in an interview reported in 1995, Professor Bowdler spoke about the questions she had been asked by the Vice-Chancellor. She noted that the questions asked of her had been so general and non-specific, that she was "scratching her head" to answer them. If her report of the questions asked is accurate (and we have no reasons to believe otherwise), then the Vice-Chancellor did not exactly follow the advice provided her in the Hotop/Clyde report. As they wrote:

"Natural justice requires that a person about whom adverse allegations have been made, and in relation to whom an adverse decision is proposed or is considered, be given a reasonable opportunity to reply to those allegations and to present his or her case against the making of the adverse decision."

Professors Hotop and Clyde, then turned to the way in which such complaints should be handled in the context where the complaintants, such as students, have shown the desire to have their names concealed:

"In cases of this kind, the appropriate course is to apprise the person, who is the subject of the allegations, of the substance of those allegations -- but yet in sufficient detail to enable that person fully to understand the nature of the cse that is made against him or her so that he or she has a reasonable opportunity to respond effectively to it.

Hence, their advice, as given, had been designed to ensure that proper procedures would be followed. As the authors of the Report noted:

"In the light of the serious nature of the abovementioned allegations and the gravity of the possible consequential courses of action, it is vital that the requirements of natural justice be observed in the handling of this matter."
Yet, as things were to work out, it appears that their recommendations were never properly implemented by the University. It appears that Professor Bowdler was never provided with the detailed kind of information which was needed, on all grounds, to ensure that justice would be served. Without such careful treatment, the relevant passages in the University Industrial Award would not be able to be invoked. Hence, after apparently having neglected properly to follow the relevant procedures, it is not all the surprising that the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Robson (who also played a central role on Dr Rindos' Tenure Review Committee) could write in a 25 February 1996 Letter to the Press that following the recepit of the Hotop/Clyde report:
"The Vice-Chancellor then consulted with an external legal industrial advocate who advised her that even if the allegations could be substantiated it would be unlikely disciplinary action could be intitiated under the relevant industrial award."

The story of the Review of Archaeology and its aftermath, complete with links to the various documents and resources, will eventually be given in a detailed commentary.

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5. The Aftermath

Following his dismissal, it was apparent that Dr Rindos' case had caused such a stir at UWA that the Vice-Chancellor took the unprecedented step of sending a letter about her decision to all staff at the University.

A transcription of Vice-Chancellor Fay Gale's Letter to UWA Staff may be found here. In this letter, as may be seen, it appears that the vice-chancellor had accepted at least some of the numerous false allegations which had been made against Dr Rindos by members of the Archaeology Department.

The Ombudsman, the Industrial Commission, and the Visitor

Immediately after he was fired, Dr Rindos went to see the Western Australian Ombudsman, a Parliamentary Officer with the power to review decisions made by Government Agencies (the University of Western Australia was brought into being by an Act of Parliament, so it is legally a Government Agency). At their first meeting in mid 1993, he was told that the Ombudsman could not act until he had exhausted his appeals in the Industrial Commission.

The Industrial Commission -- 1994/1995

Following the direction of the Ombudsman, in November 1993 Dr Rindos applied to the Industrial Commission to hear his case for unfair dismissal. The University replied to Rindos' charges by claiming he had not really been dismissed! Instead, they said, the Vice Chancellor had merely decided not to renew his contract. Therefore, or so they claimed, since no dismissal was involved, the Commission had no power to hear the case.

At the first, preliminary, meeting of the Commission held in early 1994, it was held that Dr Rindos did have a sufficiently strong case for unjust dismissal that he would be permitted to argue it before the Commission. This decision by the Commission, of course, puts to the lie the continued claim by the University that he was "not fired," but instead, that his "contract was not renewed."

The University responded to this apparent set-back by taking a new tact: they argued, successfully as it was to turn out, that Dr Rindos should be arguing his case for unfair dismissal to the University Visitor, and not to the Industrial Commission.

One of the more amusing ironies brought out by this particular development was that, during the very same week that the University was arguing in the Commission that Rindos should be going to the Visitor, UWA's Vice-Chancellor was recommending, along with all of the other Vice-Chancellor in Western Australia, that the Visitor's power to make these very sorts of judgments should be withdrawn in favor of jurisdictions such as the Industrial Commission! [See a letter published in the Australian Higher Education Newspaper].

In a process which was to drag on for over one and one-half years, Dr Rindos' appeal in the Industrial Commission was eventually refused on procedural grounds after the University's Queens Council argued that Dr Rindos should take his appeal to the University Visitor. An analysis of Rindos' attempts to find resolution to his problems in the Industrial Relations Commission and the Industrial Commissioner's Ruling will be added here in the future [see, also, the newspaper article which sumarises events leading up to the decision of the Industrial Commission.]

The February 1995 decision of the Industrial Commission was summarised in the Australian higher education newspaper, Campus Review, in the national Australian, and the local Sunday Times. A brief discussion of the nature of the ancient tradition of the Visitorial Appeal may be viewed in a local newspaper article from that time.

Reflections upon the ruling in the Industrial Commission which forced Dr Rindos to the Visitor caused Dr Rindos to write a reflective essay which is published here for the first time.

Back to the Ombudsman -- 1995/1996

Following the decision of the Industrial Commission, Dr Rindos began to work on his appeal to the Visitor. Several factors, however, conspired to delay this process.

First, at the same time that the Ruling of the Industrial Commissioner was delivered, Rindos in the middle of a complex and time-consuming appeal to the Freedom of Information Commission regarding documents that the University was refusing to release to him. After some 8 or 10 months, the Commissioner ruled in his favor and the documents he needed were finally forced into release. Hence, he was moving along on getting the documentary evidence he needed to make his appeal (excepting, of course, the literrally scores of documents which had already vanished from University files).

Second, as he had already been warned, and as had been pointed out by the previous Visitor in calling for the abolition of the office, a Visitorial appeal for a complex case (like that of Dr Rindos) was going to be a very slow, and exceedingly expensive proposition. Rindos, while being provided with much of his legal advice on a "pro bono" basis, was stuck with the fact that it would likely cost him well over $30,000 finally to put his case to the Visitor. He knew he could reduce the cost a great deal by attempting to do much of the work himself, but the costs would still be staggering (especially for somebody without a job!). Therefore, in August 1995, he put a formal appeal to the Senate of the University of Western Australia begging them for financial help so that he could follow up this route of appeal. They turned him down.

Third, (and this is NOT a joke) sometime around March 1994 his official university file -- the Personnel File -- mysteriously disappeard. This collection of documents must, by regulations and long-standing tradition, contain the complete documenatary evidence for the University's decision to deny his tenure.

In what seems to be an almost Keystone Cops development, the University hired, in December 1995, a Private Investigator to track down the missing file. Needless to say, he was not successful in finding this file -- one that should contain the most important evidence relating to Dr Rindos' treatment by the University. His conclusion, as given in his report to the University, was that the most likely explanation for the files' disappearance was "destruction or concealment by party or parties unknown" either to cause the University embarassment or to interfer with Rindos' ability to make his case to the Visitor [see, the press reports on this matter in Sunday Times and the Australian newspapers].

Finally, as was pointed out to him by his legal advisors, he had (way way back in 1993) begun with the Ombudsman, and based on normal procedures it was proper for him to return to that jurisdiction before taking off along any other path such as the Visitor. Of course, unlike the Visitor, the Ombudsman does not have the power to force the University to change its decision in his case, but, also unlike the Visitor, the appeal to the Ombudsman is relatively informal -- hence, Rindos would be able to write the appeal himself. He believed, all in all, that going through the Ombudman would not only be cheaper, but would also end up providing him with draft of the same case he would have to eventually make to the Visitor. His plan, therefore, was to submit to the Ombudsman while his lawyers worked up the same data base into a form appropriate to the Visitor.

He submitted his preliminary statement to the Ombudsman in January 1996 (as soon as he had heard that the "missing" Personnel File was not about to be found). The University submitted its rejoinder in mid-March. They managed to evade or ignore all of the procedural faults he had identified, but did admit that none of his formal performance reviews found any problems with his academic performance, such faults only being found for the first time by his Tenure Review Committee a few months before he was given the sack.

Shortly after the University put in its statement to the Ombudsman, he withdrew from the case entirely. This, of course, was related to the fact that a Parliamentary Inquiry into the events surrounding Dr Rindos' denail of tenure had already begun. For more data on this development, see the Parliamentary section of this file.

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6. Commentaries about the case from the Net

Dr Rindos' case came to the attention of the international anthropological and scholarly net-community when Hugh Jarvis posted a brief summary of UWA's actions on the major professional mailing lists.

This link leads to the Net Menu which contains Commentaries, such as the three postings by Hugh Jarvis, replies by both Dr Rindos and the University of Western Australia, and comments, letters and postings by other involved and interested individuals.

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7. The Press Coverage of the Case

The coverage of first, the events unfolding during 1992 in the Archaeology Department, and then the story of what happened to Dr Rindos, all as reported in the Australian and International Press can be viewed by looking at the Menu of Press Reports. This (still under construction) library of documents is presented in chronological order.

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8. Events in the West Australian Parliament

By the end of 1993, local interest in the fate Dr Rindos had suffered at the hands of UWA had increased to the point that his Case began to be be raised in the State Parliament, with members of the State Labor Party, in particular, beginning to attempt to find the truth behind the facade of vague, and oftentimes misleading public statements eminating from UWA.

In December 1993, the first questions about Dr Rindos' case were raised in the State Parliament by the Hon Mark Nevill, a member of the Upper House [The Legislative Council]. These questions were followed by others, all put the the Education Minister, the Hon Norman Moore, and initially answered by the University on his behalf.

Dr Rindos provided documented replies to the University's claims as put before the West Australian Parliament, which led to a warning letter being sent the Vice-Chancellor from the Chief Advisor to the Ministry on University matters.

Possibly as a result (under WA Law providing misleading statements to Parliament can, and has, led to jail sentences), the University began to evade questions as forwarded to it by the Education Minister, a situation which caused the Hon Mr Moore to make public, unfavorable, comment.

In December 1995, Hon Mark Nevill gave a speech in the Western Australian Upper House, presented evidence to the powerful Government Agencies Committee, and tabled a large number of documents related to the "Archaeology Affair" at UWA

Then, in March 1996, the Committee announced it would hold a full inquiry into the matters surrounding the denial of tenure to Dr Rindos, and the management of the University.

Dec 4, 1997, the Parliamentary Report has finally been completed and released. (I hope to have a copy on the site early in 1998!) Dave Rindos has been completely vindicated of all claims made against him. The essence is that he was denied natural justice, that the procedures of the University were at fault, and that the behaviour of some of those at UWA whose task it was to conduct a fair and comprehensive internal inquiry into the matter was questionable (see the email message by Leon Deleuil for initial details.) UWA has replied that this is not really the case, but I do not yet have the details on that.

The Parliamentary Menu contains links to all of the documents mentioned here, as well as comments upon them.

Updates on the developments in the Western Australian Parliament will be provided as quickly as is possible, with links being placed in the first instance on the "New Developments" page of this site.

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9. Legal Aspects of the Case

This section of the Site is still somewhat under development, but the Hardwick case sub-section in fairly complete. It also contains links to other sites which discuss this precedent setting decision regarding defamation on the Net.

The Legal Menu contains:
  1. The Industrial Relations Case
  2. The Visitorial Appeal
  3. The Hardwick Case: History, Court Ruling, and Comments.
  4. The Reporter March 6, 1997 Trouble in cyberspace summary of events at the University at Buffalo

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10. The Freedom of Information Case

The Menu for the Freedom of Information appeal, covering Dr Rindos' attempts to obtain documents related to his case from the University contains, at this point in time, Dr Rindos' "Statutory Declaration" on his treatment by UWA, and the Decision of the Freedom of Information Commissioner of Western Australia which was delivered in July 1995.

This decision did not uphold the University's claim that academics would write negative comments about a colleague ONLY IF their comments were kept totally confidential. Instead, the Commissioner noted that to hold such a view goes against the ethical standards we should expect of professionals.

The Commissioner also ruled that certain documents which otherwise would have normally been held confidential had to be released to Dr Rindos because the University could provide no evidence of poor performance, or official concern about this alleged "poor performance." Many commentators on events at UWA have noted that this judgement pretty well knocked the props out from under UWA's central claim against Dr Rindos -- that real problems with his academic performance were the only reasons that he was fired from UWA.

Finally, the Commissioner complained about improper actions by the University such as releasing internal FOI communications to the press, and misrepresenting them as formal rulings. The Commissioner also noted, in very strong terms, that despite being required to produce evidence in the form of a sworn statement, the University did not do so.

A few selected quotations from the FoI Commissioners' Ruling are also found in the Third Posting by Hugh Jarvis.

11. Censorship of this Site by UWA

Around the same time that it was becoming clear that a Parliamentary Inquiry would likely occur into the events surrounding the denial of tenure to Dr Rindos, the University began to make legal threats against news media and individuals who sought to make the existance of this site known. This was followed by a letter making legal threats against the State University of New York for allowing this Site to occupy disk space on one of its computers. SUNY replied saying it was blameless, and at this point in time, UWA has yet to reply. The University at Buffalo paper, The Reporter, has published a summary of these events in a feature article called "Trouble in cyberspace...".

Some of the documents connected to this action by UWA, as well as a set of links to material from UWA's computing system (including UWA Senate Minutes!) on the case, may be found by selecting the link to the Menu dealing with these developments.

12. Documents found in this Web Site:

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