Re: Tenure for Dr D Rindos
I received a copy of your letter 20/3/93. I am a leading consultant in Australian archaeology and a Visiting Fellow with the Department of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies at the Australian National University. I feel obligated to make some comments in support of Dr D Rindos. Several points come immediately to mind.
The first, and perhaps most obvious, is that many of the difficulties experienced by Dr Rindos were, in a sense, predictable. The circumstances of the last two years are consistent with a general pattern of behaviour for which the Department of Archaeology is well known. The department has, without doubt, a most curious and eccentric reputation. It is a department known for its difficult and conspiring personalities and its questionable professional activities.
When Dr Rindos applied for and was awarded a teaching position in the department he was forewarned of the procedural and personal difficulties he was likely to face. Most colleagues I spoke to felt Dr Rindos was "a better man than they" for taking the position. Many felt he may well be sorry, but the general consensus was that he had the kind of durable, optimistic, good humoured and gregarious nature to cope. In other words, Dr Rindos was warned, but most felt he could survive. None of us expected the problems to become as bad as they have.
One may ask, as a consequence of this observation, why Dr Rindos was appointed in the first place. There are, after all, numerous intelligent and capable Australian and international scholars keen to work within the University system. Part of the answer may be that the Australian scholars knew the personalities involved and were not keen to apply for the position. But the main reason was that Dr Rindos was enthusiastically encouraged to apply by key departmental members. I was at the international conference in which most of these negotiations took place. It is no exaggeration to say that such was Dr Rindos reputation, and such was his extravagant, congenial and entertaining personality that the Australian contingent, particularly from Western Australia, took him under their wing. He was seen as brilliant, inspiring, and a lot of fun. The fact that he was homosexual added to his attraction in the eyes of the department.
Dr Rindos' international reputation is, as you will well know, of the highest order. The Australian National University was trying hard to create a position for him but Western Australia beat them to the punch.
I have seen Dr Rindos at two international conferences. In both his papers have been of the highest order and most original character. His interaction with others revealed him to be a significant and respected international scholar. This makes the allegation of plagiarism both difficult to believe and, given his innovative mind, somewhat unlikely. If the suggestion is that he plagiarised work from someone in the department, I can't help but asking myself who in the department is likely to have ideas worthy of being copied. I know most of the scholars in the department and can't help shaking my head in disbelief.
This allegation, together with the possible sexual harassment charge, really makes me think there is some kind of conspiracy against Dr Rindos. Given Dr Rindos' sexual preferences, the prospect of sexual harassment against women is just bizarre.
This whole saga reflects a sorry and seemingly desperate state of affairs. I know it reflects badly on the department (and unfortunately the University) throughout the discipline and I shudder to think what it is doing to your international reputation.
I would have to agree that Dr Rindos has been treated most unfairly. I hope the relevant authorities within the university have the integrity and sense of justice to rectify the obvious injustice Dr Rindos has suffered.
Dr Scott Cane