the Australian

  • December 16, 1997 p. 12

    Uni stands by its decision on Rindos

  • letter by Professor Fay Gale

    I WAS surprised and disappointed at your editorial of December 11, Rindos Affair Points To Academic Hubris. The implicit thrust seems to be that universities, and vice-chancellors need to recognise the importance of accountability and transparency and should not shy away from scrutiny.

    I agree with the need for and accountability and transparency and in my eight years at the University of Western Australia have instigated major reforms to achieve these goals. However, I was surprised by your editorial as it is completely at odds with the views of most other commentators who have variously described the inquiry as, at best, a questionable use of parliamentary time and money, and, at worst, an unwarranted intrusion into the university's affairs and a threat to the traditions of academic freedom. It is also widely argued that the Rindos affair did not justify the breach of university autonomy by an exercise stained by political motivation.

    I was disappointed that a quote attributed to me in your editorial was taken completely out of context and described as "bizarre". That quote was part of my opening statement to the parliamentary inquiry in 1996 to underscore my concerns, and that of many others, that this particular inquiry could threaten academic freedom.

    This university stands by its decision to deny the late Dr Rindos tenure; has publicly conceded the issue should have been handled better initially; considers the parliamentary report flawed; has established grievance systems for staff; and believes the parliamentary inquiry denied it procedural fairness and natural justice.

    Professor FAY GALE, Vice-Chancellor, University of WA

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