the West Australian

  • December 5, 1997, p. 10

    UWA unfair to Rindos, says committee report

  • By Michael Day

    THE University of WA had not acted sufficiently fairly when it decided to deny a permanent contract to David Rindos, according to a report by a WA parliamentary committee.

    Dr Rindos did not have adequate and fair opportunities to present his case for tenure, the Legislative Council's Public Administration Committee ..said in a report which has been condemned by UWA as denying the university natural justice and procedural fairness.

    The committee released its report into tenure processes yesterday, about 20 months after it began its inquiry into the denial of tenure to Dr Rindos in 1993, and after three original members had been replaced and the chairman changed.

    Dr Rindos, who died in December last year, was appointed senior lecturer in archaeology at UWA in 1989.

    The report said Dr Rindos was not afforded common law procedural fairness on the tenure issue "due to the university administration's apparent reliance on material not disclosed to Dr Rindos".

    "The committee finds that the procedures adopted by the university to review and determine the tenure of Dr Rindos and his subsequent appeals were ad hoc, and overall, did not adhere sufficiently to the common law rules of procedural fairness given that all relevant information was not disclosed to Dr Rindos for his assessment and rebuttal."

    The committee also criticised UWA'S record-keeping and asserted the WA Parliament's right to hold UWA accountable.

    The committee said the UWA Senate inquiry report did not address the concerns still expressed by students, staff and commentators that there had been serious mismanagement within the archaeology department.

    Vice-chancellor Professor Fay Gale, who said UWA stood by its tenure decision, said yesterday the report contained errors and misrepresentations and had denied procedural fairness to the university by seeing witnesses in private.

    There had been a breach of privilege by the committee when a draft report was given to people critical of the university and yet denied to UWA.

    Professor Gale claimed the committee had misled UWA and had based its most damning conclusion on an incorrect assumption because UWA neither relied on, nor needed to rely on, material not disclosed to Dr Rindos to decide he was unsuitable for tenure.

    A call for UWA to send an apology and an ex gratia payment to Dr Rindos' children has come from Mark Nevill MLC, who had attacked Professor Gale under protection of parliamentary privilege.

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