Please Note: This message was initially posted to anthro-l, arch-l, and the Usenet Newsgroups sci.anthropology, sci.archaeology, and sci.archaeology.moderated by the author. Someone unknown then forwarded it to several Australian Usenet groups including wa.general, aus.politics, and wa.politics.

Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 12:42:01 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Hugh W. Jarvis"
To: Anthropology List {},
Archaeology List {}
Newsgrps: sci.anthropology, sci.archaeology, sci.archaeology.moderated, wa.general, aus.politics, wa.politics
Subject: An update on events between the Univ. Western Australia and D. Rindos

  • Regrettably, I am obliged to send out this update to the Net without input from the University of Western Australia. I sent a copy of my proposed posting to the Vice Chancellor's Office on June 22nd, and to their Legal Counsel on July 16th, soliciting comment or additions to what follows below, but neither correspondence was even acknowledged. I find it quite frustrating to provide a balanced discussion of all sides of this whole issue when one of the major parties is unwilling to contribute! Quite recently there have also been some further developments, but they will have to wait for the next update. This post has been delayed long enough! (The usual apologies to any who receive it more than once, as I am posting it the same lists and groups as always and know that some of you are subscribed to more than one.)

  • Several months have passed since I last brought you up to date on the status of Dr. David Rindos and his quest for justice with the University of Western Australia. Events in Western Australia have been developing in directions which none of us would likely have anticipated!

  • While details are fleshed out at the Rindos/UWA Sites, with one entry page at:
    a few of the main events of the past few months are outlined here.

  • The Western Australian Parliament's Standing Committee on Government Agencies has begun investigating both the events surrounding Rindos' dismissal and allegations of wrongdoings at UWA. They have been interviewing and taking statements from scads of people, including officials and faculty from UWA, Rindos himself, and students and former students of the now defunct Archaeology Department. These Parliamentary sessions have received considerable press coverage in Australia, including not only the print media, but also radio and TV.

  • UWA has been highly critical of the committee from the beginning, raising objections to its operations, pointing to possible "political" aggendae in its creation, and noting that it was cooperating with Parliament "under protest." According to recent press reports, the Committee should have a preliminary report out by the end of this year. This apparently will only consider Dave's treatment and further inquiries into the general managment problems which led to the archaeology scandal at UWA will continue next year.

  • In what might be described as a rather bizarre development directly related to the Rindos/UWA Site itself, a number of Australian newspapers and the national Australian Broadcasting Corporation have received threatening letters from UWA's lawyers. Similar letters have come to SUNY, directed towards myself, and to an Australian academic who had merely mentioned the Site's address in a letter to the newspaper (which was published in their editorial section).

  • UWA's position as given in its lawyer's letters is that the Site and my various updates on the events at UWA contains unspecified material defamatory of unnamed persons at UWA. UWA's lawyers demanded that SUNY monitor the site, and ensure that I never again posted (IN ANY MEDIUM!) on this topic!

  • In other lawyers' letters to Australian newspapers, and television and radio stations, they made the (rather remarkable) claim that the mere publication of the Site's URL, or the creation of links to it, IN AND OF ITSELF CONSTITUTES DEFAMATION! UWA has also forced its own "independent" students' organization to remove links to the Site and to delete material about the case. This deleted material included newspaper coverage and a speech in the West Australian Parliament! They are also rumoured to have tried to get their computing department to erradicate all links from peoples' personal pages, and even from their "bookmarks" files!!

  • Requests from yours truly for clarification regarding what they might consider offensive on the Site have been ignored aside by UWA, and all of my attempts to encourage them to present their point of view have proven unsuccessful. As noted above, my most recent communications with their administration, in connection with this posting, have gone totally unanswered. While UWA continues to act as if it were not being allowed to present its point of view, it has done little but complain about the facts which are presented, and threaten unspecified legal actions. It seems totally uninterested in presenting its own version of the sequence of events.

  • The Rindos/UWA Site has recently been updated to reflect these important developments in the Parliamentary and Legal spheres. In addition, details of the Site have been posted at a number of locations, including the Anthropology Departmental Site at the University of North Dakota:
    Links have also appeared on the home pages of various individuals in Australia in defiance of UWA's ban and stated intent to take legal action against anyone who posts or provides information on sources of information on the whole scandal.

  • Finally a second location for the Site is now provided at the Justice on Campus Project Site at MIT:


    Hugh Jarvis

    Return to the Net Menu