Date: Sat, 11 Nov 1995 17:41:25 -0500
From: "Hugh W. Jarvis" [hjarvis@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU]
To: Multiple recipients of list ANTHRO-L [ANTHRO-L@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU]
Newsgroups: bit.listserv.anthro-l
[CC: Multiple recipients of list ARCH-L]
Subject: Rindos Chronicles- End in Site? (sorry for pun)

For over two years [!] I have been posting occasional updates about the unfair treatment of Dave Rindos at the hands of the University of Western Australia. Recently, (October 28th) a major breakthrough occurred with the publication of a long, front-page, article in the "Review" section of The Weekend Australian. This described, in some detail, the serious injustices meeted out to Dr. Rindos and to the students in archaeology.

Then, in a remarkable step, the article was followed-up on Monday by a *damning* editorial calling for justice to finally prevail. I append a copy of the editorial. I think you will agree it is pretty powerful.

Given that The Australian is apparently the major, or perhaps better said, ONLY national newspaper in the country, their action in making public the absurdity of what went on at UWA could not possibly help but bring this to a long overdue conclusion (assuming that UWA has the smarts finally to admit what everybody else in the academic world already knows -- that it blew it, and blew it in the worst way!).

Anybody who would like to express their feeling about what has been happening at the University of Western Australia directly to the source should send their comments to the university's vice-chancellor. She can be reached on:

In another development, I will soon be announcing a Web Site which will contain the feature article mentioned in the editorial. This will be expanded, in the very near future, into a site considering all the details of the now notorious Archaeology Affair at the UWA. This has great potential, not only for people interested in following this specific case of a "University Gone Bad," from both an anthropological and general interest perspective, but will also serve as an example of how the Web can be applied to making information resources available in ways that were simply not possible before.

Dave, who as we all now know did not come up to the "high academic standards of the UWA," has told me that he is working on an ethnographic analysis of the documents he received via Freedom of Information processes, and will be contributing that to the site too! It all looks to be VERY interesting. As he wrote to me: "THE important conclusion that appears to be coming out from the ongoing analysis of the data is that, in fact, post-modernism, has a *great deal* to offer to the construction of a more realistic, and wholistic, cultural-selectionist model for cultural change. I guess I would have to say I am a bit blown away by it all, but that is where the data is leading. . .."

Now, here is the Editorial which appeared in Australia on Monday the 30th:

---- start of article -----

THE AUSTRALIAN, 30 October 1995


An injustice appears to have been done to Dr David Rindos by the University of Western Australia and it needs sorting out. The university claims to have refused him tenure because of insufficient productivity -- that is, that he had not published enough academic papers. Yet Dr Rindos, a renowned archaeologist, has not lost his high reputation among professionals worldwide. In view of what seems to have happened to him during his probationary period at the university it is not surprising if his academic work suffered.

Kate Legge's report in The Weekend Australian on Saturday shows how Dr Rindos academic life was made unbearable. He was shunted around between departments and kept away from the resources he needed to do his job. Minor and major irritants were put in his way, apparently arising from alleged problems in the archaeology department that senior academics say were never properly investigated. Legge's account is that of a man who was hailed as a genius when he was recruited but who became the target of a campaign to undermine him.

There are serious problems about the way the case was handled by the university. First, it ignored recommendations by its own internal review, which had sought a full-scale investigation of allegations made against Dr Rindos. Instead, the university gave two academics a brief that was really confined to reviewing written submission, and no report was released.

Second, the process used by the university's tenure review committee to assess his performance was riddled with inequity. Dr Rindos was denied tenure on the grounds of low research output. These grounds can only be called specious. The committee acknowledged other academics had been granted tenure despite turning in a poorer productivity rate, but said a "lowest common denominator" approach should not be used to judge him. Fair enough. But the committee did not take into account the extraordinary obstacles put in his path. Dr Rindos was pushed around by a series of transfers and departmental mergers. He was even relegated to the campus radio station office, with no departmental affiliation, support staff or resources.

The tenure review committee said it could not judge whether his alleged low output was influenced by personal limitations or outside forces. Frankly, a committee which cannot consider such matters is not doing its job properly. Dr Rindos has appealed to the University Visitor for his case to be reviewed. This is the university's opportunity to put things right. The Rindos case continues to be controversial because it was not investigated as thoroughly as it should have been at the appropriate time. It warrants a complete re-examination -- and if there has been an injustice it is up to the university to admit it and take steps to rectify it.

---- end of article -----


        Hugh Jarvis