Here is a memo the University of Western Australia Vice Chancellor's Office released to the press in response to recent comments and questions made in Parliament (about which I have already posted).
I will follow this with a second message which contains correspondence between me and the Vice Chancellor's Office. I decided to separate them so that neither would get lost in the shuffle.
STATEMENT TO THE MEDIA
Dr Rindos and The University of Western Australia
Former University academic Dr David Rindos was denied tenure in 1993 because his research performance was significantly below that normally expected of a Senior Lecturer in the University. His probationary contract was consequently allowed to lapse.
Recent press reports have erroneously attempted to demonstrate a direct causal relationship between problems in the Department of Archaeology in 1990/91 and the subsequent decision taken after due process not to grant Rindos tenure.
There is no connection between these two matters.
In April 1991 the University established guidelines for the review of academic departments as part of its policy of linking together strategic planning, departmental performance, and budget allocations. Since then some thirty-eight departments have been reviewed. Archaeology as selected for review in 1991 on the grounds that it was relatively new and small. It was the fifth department to be reviewed using this policy.
The Review Committee completed its report in December 1991. The Report contained twelve recommendations the first of which was that "as a matter of priority the Vice-Chancellor investigates the management practice in the department". The Report additionally recommended "that the Vice-Chancellor resolves the divisions that have developed within the department" and "investigates the purportedly inequitable behaviour within the department". The major division in the department had been cased by a developing dispute between the Head of Department, Professor Bowdler and Dr Rindos over his work as Acting Head during her absence on study leave. In the course of its investigations the Review Committee had received several submissions from staff and students concerning a range of matters. In accordance with established procedures laid down the Review Committee's Report was submitted to the Planning and Resources Committee of the University's Academic Council on 20 February 1992 which resolved that it be transmitted to the Vice-Chancellor for implementation.
Acting immediately the Vice-Chancellor wrote to Professor Bowdler on 24 February asking her to stand aside from the Departmental Headship pending further inquiries of matters raised in the review. On 28 February the Vice-Chancellor commissioned Professors Clyde and Hotop to provide her with "advice on what further action, if any, should be taken in this matter", having regard to the Review Report and submissions from students sent to her following the Review's enquiries. Some submissions concerned alleged unsafe work practices, interference with research and lack of departmental support. However most of the submissions were very supportive of Professor Bowdler. No formal complaints of sexual impropriety in relation to Professor Bowdler have been received by the Vice-Chancellor or by the University's Equity Office.
The Clyde/Hotop Report advised the Vice-Chancellor that while some of the allegations made against Professor Bowdler were of concern, they would need lengthy and thorough investigation if they were to be substantiated. The Vice-Chancellor then consulted an external legal industrial advocate who advised her that even if the allegations could be substantiated it would be unlikely that disciplinary action could be initiated under the relevant
The Vice-Chancellor subsequently questioned Professor Bowdler in the presence of her Union representative for more than an hour and a half and advised her of the general nature of the complaints raised against her. The Vice-Chancellor instructed Professor Bowdler to submit without delay a full response to all the matters which had been raised. Professor Bowdler did so and was able to satisfy the Vice-Chancellor that there were no grounds for pursuing a case of misconduct. The Vice-Chancellor concluded however, that there had been problems in the management of the Department of Archaeology and subsequently transferred the responsibility for Archaeology to the Department of Anthropology.
20 February 1996