REPORT TO PROFESSOR FAYE GALE VICE CHANCELLOR UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRAILIA ON THE REPORT OF THE "WOOD COMMITTEE" REGARDING TENURE FOR DR. DAVID RINDOS 15 APRIL 1993
Summary of Objections
DETAILS OF MY OBJECTIONS
Letter to Vice Chancellor
20 Herdsmans Parade
Professor Faye Gale, Vice-Chancellor
University of Western Australia
Nedlands 6001 WA
15 April 1993
Dear Professor Gale:
I include here my preliminary response to the Report of the Committee chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Wood. Assuming that this letter covers all questions you hold to be relevant to my tenuring and that no other issues are of major concern to you, then as already agreed to by Professor Wood, I will submit my final response following provision of certain essential documents and evidence as noted herein.
In saying this, we recognise and accept the contractually established time limitations imposed upon us. We regret that the extraordinary delays occasioned in my tenuring (protested by us in writing from the beginning), which originated solely in the University administration, and were therefore totally beyond our control, have prohibited us the opportunity to reply to any recommendation before this time.
I totally reject the conclusion of the Wood Committee's Report. If implemented, this recommendation would deny me natural justice, and would treat me in a discriminatory and a grossly unfair manner.
Furthermore, especially given the nature of some of the false charges brought against me, it would have the effect of doing serious injury to my good name and the excellent reputation I have in my field, and thereby interfere with my ability to make a living in my the profession in which I have been trained.
1) The Tenure Review Committee has been inappropriately constituted and lacks the expertise necessary to carry out its task.
2) The Report's "standards," as well as their application, are invalid, arbitrary, and incompatible to international tenuring standards. Indeed, it is left totally unclear whether these "standards" are even intended to find applicability beyond the specifics of my own case.
3) The Report's conclusions are biased by the selective choice of evidence, evidence which, itself, is both fragmentary and incomplete.
3a) The evidence is not accompanied by any supporting documentation which would permit independent evaluation of the validity of the claims made. Essential comparative data is totally lacking. Comparative data presented here unambiguously shows that my productivity is far superior to that of my academic colleagues in Australia.
3b) Evidence has been improperly obtained and negative testimony apparently has been actively solicited by Dr Partis in a manner which clearly abrogated a pre-existing understanding.
3c) The Committee reports that Dr Partis provided them with some incorrect data. All of his statements, hence, must be provided to myself and my legal representatives to ensure their factuality.
3d) None of the negative evidence cited has been presented to me previously for response or rebuttal, and both the source and nature of the accusations as well as the names of my accusers have been withheld from me at all stages of the review. Hence, I have not been able, at any stage in these proceedings, to reply to matters on which I now find myself being judged.
4) Much ado has been made about whether I was able to "get along" with other archaeolgists on campus. This argument is irrelevant to the granting of tenure.
4a) If accepted as a valid reason, or even if seen to be accepted as such, it institutionalises the discrimination I experienced in the Archaeology Department and leads to a sitation in which ad hominum attacks, even if false or produced under coercion, are recognised as a valid reasons for denying tenure. This would be a total outrage.
4b) It must be noted that TWO of the four archaeologists currently assigned to Anthropology have announced that they will leaving UWA in June. A third, who apparently is not teaching in any case [and who has widely broadcast that she "will resign" if I am granted tenure], is on a short term contract. Hence, we are quickly reaching the point where there are almost no staff left with whom it is apparently claimed that I "cannot get along." Even raising such an issue has become moot in terms of a program which seems, itself, to be in the process of rather rapid self-destruction.
5) The Committee identifies, but unambiguously states it is unable to evaluate, a central, indeed the critical, factor for judging my overall performance -- whether I was somehow disadvantaged in the past few years. Everybody familiar with the situation knows that both myself and my students have been disadvantaged, and in the case of the my students, this judgement is in writing. How could they have been disadvantaged while I remained untouched?
5a) The Committee, it must be stressed, clearly was not provided the evidence it believed was necessary to complete its task, and the Report clearly and repeatedly notes this fact. How, therefore, could it make any sort of informed judgement?
5b) The Committee's admitted inability, or unwillingness, to judge whether I was disadvanted makes their recommendation invalid since it presumes, but does not even attempt to demonstrate, "guilt" on my part. Natural justice necessitates that barring CONVINCING evidence that the fault IN FACT was mine, then the benefit of the doubt must be given to me.
6) A proper and complete rebuttal of the Committee's findings requires that we be provided with all the relevant evidence raised in, or related to, the Report. I must know the names of my accusers, the nature of their complaints, the evidence indicating that their complaints are valid and not mere defamatory constructions, and the data which has been used in what appears to be a campaign designed to destroy my career and my good name and reputation. Details on specifically what is required are given below.
7) The Committee has ignored good evidence indicating satisfactory performance before this final period of review and the final recommendation, hence, is out of character with all previous judgments of my tenurability. This evidence must be reviewed.
7a) Both of my previous yearly evaluations have been satisfactory. Hence, barring some sort of event occuring solely during my third year of residence (and no such specific evidence is given), how can the final evaluation be other than satisfactory?
7b) If deficiencies prohibiting tenuring were to have existed, which, in fact, is not the case, I still would have had no opportunity to correct them since no negative judgment had earlier been given to me. To deny tenure at this point in time, without any previous warning of inadequate performance, in and of itself, constitutes serious injustice.
8) Many achievements of great importance relating to my performance are ignored, as is the overwhelmingly positive judgement of my peers in the world archaeological community. This evidence must be taken into account.
8a) The "standards" used by the Committee to judge my productivity do not properly account for my actual productivity. Here, it must be noted that my productivity, judged by comparative statistics supplied below, is over 10 times that typical for scholars in my field. Even if we adopt the "stndards" used by the Committee, my productivity is still more than 150% that for others in my field.
9) The fact that a willingness has been expressed to discuss my placement in both the Geography and Anatomy Departments on this campus (given the current difficulties, probably in the context of affiliation with a Centre) is totally ignored, and my previous placement in Geography, an arrangement found more than satisfactory to all parties concerned, is not even mentioned.
Professor Gale, permit me to speak frankly. Everybody is perfectly aware that my performance is satisfactory, indeed better than merely satisfactory, and that I am the type of international scholar this University should be trying to attract, rather than trying to persecute. It is also clear to everybody, both on and off this university campus, that an agenda other than my performance has played the central role in recent events surrounding my tenuring. It is only by reference to this factor -- the brouhaha surrounding archaeology -- that the continual delays, extraordinary administrative procedures, false and malicious statements made about me, and the absurd amounts of gossip and publicity which my tenuring has engendered can be understood. And we all know, for a fact, that several malicious campaigns against me have been contrived by parties who have much to gain from them.
I have always maintained a grave fear that issues of justice and demonstrated academic performance might be overlooked in the need to find "structural solutions" to our current problems. Concern with this very issue was why, acting under the direction of my supervisor in Geography, Professor Michael Taylor, we attempted to help in developing new options with our proposed "Programme in Archaeology."
I stress that this concept was developed with the full cooperation and support of other archaeologists on campus who also are not members of the Anthropology Department (the belief that there is only "one" archaeology programme or group of archaeologist on this campus has never had a factual basis). At the time, we believed this option might provide us with a constructive way to get around existing difficulties. Even Dr Partis admitted that the programme was academically sound, would enhance education in archaeology at our University, and would create many opportunities for cooperation in reasearch and tuition: indeed, his sole objection to it (given at a meeting with me on or around 5 Feb 1992) was that it would not be "acceptable" to the "Professorial block on campus" (or words to that effect) and, therefore, that he would not support it. I still maintain that this idea of an interdepartmental programme has real merit by evading current difficulties through a structural solution, and I would be more than happy to discuss it in further detail.
I would like to remind you that over the past year I have attempted to remain quiet while just and fair solutions to our current problems are implemented. This was not always easy. I have also cooperated with the University in any and all ways open to me, going so far as attempting to live with what I knew would be an ill-fated transfer back into the then Archaeology Department. Even before that time, I treated all of the problems I was going through in Archaeology in what I believed was a proper, internal, manner.
I must stress that during my professional career, and before arriving at UWA, I have had long-term (one semester or greater) involvements with 8 Departments at 5 different Universities. I have visited for shorter periods of time at many many more, and have attended Congresses, Colloquia, and International Meetings on a regular basis. Never before have any questions been raised about my collegiality or my ability to interact in a totally professional manner with my coworkers, and I know that my colleagues both here and around the world would be more than willing to attest to this fact. I am afraid that the same may not be said for certain other persons with whom I had to interact at UWA; furthermore, numerous examples unprofessionalism in their treatment of both myself and their students are now very well documented.
I hope that the time has now come when the University will deal with the real problem of creating a viable, and exciting archaeology programme at this University instead of looking as if it were seeking in me a scapegoat to evade, and perhaps even serve as a cover-up for, its true responsibilities. It is simply a fact that I have done nothing improper. It is simply the truth that I am a fine scholar and a good teacher who wishes only to return to his work in a stable, secure, and productive environment. And it is simply high time for the University to provide me the situation in which I may do so.
The Committee did not have the academic credentials or expertise to judge my performance or my contribution to my discipline. It therefore simply could not provide a "valid professional judgement" (p2).
None of the members are in a field even tangentially related to my several areas of expertise. None are major scholars in my field.
I have no objection to Professor Wood in his capacity of Chair of the Committee, although as noted below, it seems that he might not have properly fulfilled his duties in this capacity. However, I strongly dispute his ability to judge my professional merits.
Professor Jory, as Head of Division where Archaeology now resides should have excluded himself on the grounds of conflict of interest, especially given his managerial responsibility and personal involvement with certain other archaeologists on campus. He was also absent from the final meeting and could neither question nor be informed on matters brought up during the discussion.
[For some selected quotes from a letter written by Professor Jory and forced into release by the WA FoI Office, follow this linkProfessor Robson should have disqualified himself for personal reasons: Discussions I had with him on or about 5 December 1991 and also on 13 January 1992 (when he was attempting certain actions eventually accomplished by Dr Partis,) point to a strong pre-existing prejudice in his views of me, my work, and my role in archaeology at this university. My personal diary notes on these discussions can be provided if required.
Ms Brenda Robbins should not have been appointed to an academic committee of this nature. She is not an an academic and does not have the training, expertise or experience to evaluate my academic performance. The Report (p3) notes she was "guided by the academic member's views . . .," and, hence, even the Committee saw problems in this regard.
It is highly significant that the uniform judgment of my peers, that is, world-class scholars in the discipline of archaeology, is exceedingly positive. Statements requested by me, and still other statements which have appeared at UWA as my situation has become know throughout the world, disagree completely with the Committee's recommendations (see Appendix I and forthcoming letters of support).
While I must confess embarrassment at having been forced to ask for these letters, I must also admit I have been pleased to discover the willingness with they were provided and the very high regard in which my work is held by the best scholars in my discipline. You should note that we provide totally independent assessment of the credentials of the writers, and hence of their ability to submit statements on my behalf.
Finally, the very existence of the Committee is problematic and points to me being treated differently to all other persons granted tenure here. To the best of my knowledge, the procedures followed in my case are unique: no other staff member ever has had to go through this process of review by non-peers in achieving tenure. Hence the very invocation of an ad hoc committee to stand in judgement of me may have prejudged my case. Given that this Committee has the appearance of an ad hoc solution to an unstated problem, I need to know the grounds on which this Committee was convened and the nature of the procedural processes which were used to justify its creation.
I stress that we did not ask for or approve of the delay in my tenuring process which led, after many false starts, to the creation and meetings of this particular Committee. Instead, we protested in writing from the beginning the improper and likely illegal extension of my review period.
I also need to be informed if any academic staff have undergone a final tenure review, or have otherwise been granted a tenured position her, since June 1992. If such has occurred I need to know the composition and nature of their tenure review committee and the specific objective standards invoked for tenuring or tenure review. I hold that if any other staff have gone through a final review or have received tenure without such review since my committee-based review process was invoked, or if such was done under rules and standards different to mine, then I clearly have been singled out and subjected to intolerable and likely illegitimate administrative procedures. Arguments such as I was without Departmental affiliation are illegitimate since the administration itself created the situation which serves as justification and they could have as easily ensured that I was in a situation in which proper and normal procedures could have been applied.
II.The Standards Invoked for Tenure.
Universal, international, standards exist for tenuring. The "standards" listed on page 3 do not conform to these in any manner.
Scholars both inside of Australia and from overseas feel capable of commenting upon my suitability for tenure here (see statements in Appendix I). This clearly demonstrates that universal standards for tenuring must exist.
If UWA now claims to adopt standards different from those of other internationally respected universities in the world, then they have a duty properly to inform applicants for positions of this fact.
Clearly, certain proper procedures would have to be invoked to bring about any change in University of Western Australia's standards for tenuring. The Committee makes no reference to any procedural grounds which might have been invoked in the development of, or which provide justification for, the new "standards" which they apply to me.
I probably would not have accepted any job if I knew tenure was to rest solely upon those publications written and actually appearing in final printed form during the first three years of my residence.
Even if I had accepted a position here, knowing such conditions, I certainly would not have agreed to accept a Departmental Headship immediately after my arrival. Nor would I have agreed to accept as many postgraduate students as I have. Nor would I have agreed to contribute in so many other ways to University and community service.
The Tenuring Standards used by the Committee.
The Report claims that the only criterion for tenure would be "performance . . . since he commenced." This is not in keeping with internationally recognised, standards for tenuring discussed above, which holds that while recent performance may be stressed in any review, general performance and overall professional reputation must form the basis for a decision to grant or deny tenure.
If performance since arrival at UWA constitutes all that is relevant to granting tenure at this university, then the University could never hire a tenured scholar without a tenure review period. This, however, has been done in the past and continues to be a permissable option in certain cases.
The Report clearly states that other people with a "lower performance" have received tenure at UWA "at some time in the past" (pg 3), They provide no idea of when this "past" ended or when the standards they seek to apply to me came into force, nor of the means by which these new standards were implemented.
UWA should indeed seek to improve its standards and is free to change its procedures. But it then has a clear duty to inform new applicants and existing staff of any new standards and procedures and how and when they are to be applied. Certainly, ex post facto application of new procedures is highly irregular and, as such, should completely invalidate these proceedings thereby abrogating any conclusions resulting from it.
Justice demands that standards not be changed at the last moment without notification or warning. This rule is implicit in the yearly reviews to which I was subjected, and all of which held my performance to be "satisfactory." This rule is given explicitly in the guidelines for tenure at Sydney University (see Appendix II).
It is also a general condition of natural justice that if deficiencies in performance occur, these should be made known to the person concerned, and that person allowed time and opportunity for improvement. As already noted on several occasions, my previous reviews were uniformly satisfactory, so how could the sum of a series of satisfactory performances be judged unsatisfactory?
Justice demands that standards not be changed in an ex post facto fashion and then seemingly be applied to only one individual. The Committee, in rejecting "a 'lowest common denominator' approach" clearly states that it does so only in "establishing the standards to judge Dr Rindos' performance." If their new standards are to be stated, why do they not do so in general terms which would apply to all applicants seeking tenure?
The Committee's invocation of "short term contracts" is irrelevant, for I can state without reservation that I would never have come to UWA under such a contract, and, in any case, it is not to that sort of contract which the University has already committed itself. Does the Committee wish to change the nature of my contract in an ex post facto manner? If not, then why do they even raise this particular, totally irrelevant, issue?
Comparative Statistics and Tenure.
Extremely important data relating to my level of performance, and clearly alluded to in this section of the Report, have not been provided to me. I formally request a copy of the detailed "information provided by Professor Robson" which apparently provides quantitative data regarding what is held to be "normal" performance at the Senior Lecturer level.
Furthermore, I understand the number of tenurable Senior Lecturer positions coming up for conversion to tenure in any one year is very few indeed. How many people am I being compared with? As well as requesting this number, I would also like to know the actual performances of the Senior Lecturers who did achieve tenure in the "last three years," so that we could judge if indeed their performance was "higher" than mine. I also need to know how their publication performance compares to the overall performance of tenured and Senior Lecturers (I note that the publication lists of all Senior Lecturers during the past 5 years are known to the University and are available as they have been collected by the "A Factor" Subcommittee of the University Research Committee).
I believe it is also important to know how the research productivity of Senior Lecturers is to be judged by the University. Here I would like to know how quality of publication (as opposed to quantity) is judged.
It is also important to consider the academic environment given to staff is taken into account. For example, what sorts of other duties did these person undertake? How many were Head of Department for more than one year during the probationary period? How many moved offices four times during their first three years? How many had to work outside of any formal departmental affiliation as has been the case for me for most of the past year? What was the nature of the University support (such as a departmental office, a computer link, secretarial help, or a xerox machine) provided to these other persons but not provided to me?
All of this information, of course, could be provided in a way that protects the confidentiality of the presons concerned (assuming it should be held that data on publications and the like require such protection).
Time-span invoked for Comparisons.
I would also like to know why three years, rather than four, two or some other interval of time was chosen by the Committee in regards to choosing a pool of comparative data. Here, given the small size of the potential data-base, a very small change in the temporal period invoked in the creation of a comparison-group could well make major differences in the characteristics of that group.
The Committee recognises this problem and attempts to deal with the troubling implications arising from it when it claim to reject comparisons to the "past" in creation of a pool of comparative data. However, by providing neither specific data nor a rational basis for its decisions on this matter, it can do nothing more than invoke unspecified and likely highly subjective "beliefs" regarding the nature of objective performance accomplishments of other persons recently granted tenure at UWA. This, of course, is a totally unsatisfactory standard for analysis and decision-making.
Finally, I must make note of the fact that the Committee claims that its "belief" on normal performance could be "confirmed or refuted through a review of the relevant personnel files." I am shocked that a tenure committee involved in a procedure which has results as significant as my continued employment or my sacking should not have already examined this material before making a recommendation. This is indeed cavalier treatment. Such unprofessional informality in most serious proceedings cannot do other than raise grave and serious doubts about any and all of the statements made by the Committee regarding my tenuring in any circumstances where the hard data does not accompany and justify the statements made.
III. The "Data" as provided in the Report.
(1) The written recommendations of Dr Partis to the Committee has never been supplied to me and I, therefore, have not had the opportunity to rebut any false or misleading statements therein. I now formally request this statement since it is clearly necessary for me to prepare my full defence.
(2) Possibly mischievous reasons for the disapperance of important data on my teaching were not apparently followed up by the Committee. As I noted in my reply (29 Jan) to the first series of questions of this Committee, I have written proof that these reports were originally held in Archaeology Department files. Despite repeated requests, they were never forwarded to Geography after I was transferred to that Department. What has happened to them? Could it be that they were too positive about my teaching performance? I now request a direct answer from you on this matter.
(3) Extensive performance data provided by me at great cost of time and effort, and prepared under the express direction of my then supervisor, Dr Partis, were left unexamined by the Committee. Yet it is this very data which provides the basis for my claims of good performance in terms of teaching, administration, and research.
The Chair of the Committee actually states that the "level" of the material contained in these appendices was not "comprehensible to members of the Committee." How is the Committee capable of coming to an informed and valid professional judgement of my performance if the data on which the performance is to be judged is beyond their comprehension, presumably due to the specialised nature of its contents?
While this material was made "available" to Committee members, did any read it in any depth? What was their judgment of the contents of this material? Recall, I was required to prepare this data base, and it provides the factual basis for proof of my performance. If it can be demonstrated (which appears likely) that the data submitted was not read, then the conclusions of the Committee must be held to be invalid because evidence directly solicited from me was ignored in arriving at their final judgement.
(4) While the statements of the two outside professional referees might well be confidential, is it necessary that the general conclusions of these reports be treated in the same manner? Certainly, the general nature of their joint recommendation could be released without compromising confidentiality of the individual writers.
(5) I note that I had arranged with Dr Partis to have letters of reference sent to him in confidence. He did not inform me that he would independently seek letters from other archaeology staff on campus. In fact, knowing full well the nature of the ongoing campaign being waged against me at that time, on or about 16 June 1992 I had come to an understanding with Dr Partis (notes of discussion can be made available) that neither of us would seek outside letters without notification and that he would permit me the right of challenge, and exclusion, to submissions by certain specified parties on the grounds of preexisting prejudice. This agreement was acknowledged by the Committee, but only in the context of the two outside referees, when in fact the agreement with Dr Partis had been of a far more general nature. I note that I kept Dr Partis totally informed of any and all persons I asked to write on my behalf. I find out only now that he went against the terms of our agreement, a matter which I now protest in the strongest of terms. I now formally request a full and complete statement from Dr Partis explaining his unilateral withdrawl from his agreement with me.
The letters alluded to here, from sources unknown to me but, by content, obviously members of the now defunct Department of Archaeology, must be removed from consideration since they likely constitute no more than ad hominum attack without foundation in fact; furthermore, they were clearly obtained under conditions that went against a preexisting agreement and were entered into the record in a manner which clearly excluded defence or rejoinder by me. These letters and any and all implications drawn from them must be excluded from consideration in these proceedings, and all these documents must be supplied to me for comment and appropriate response in whatever manner is necessary and appropriate.
(6) I have good reasons to believe that both Professors Moulden and Taylor disagree with the general recommendation of the Committee that I be denied tenure (although in this judgement, they are not alone). Hence the substance of their verbal comments to the Committee must be made known.
(7) Again, I have good reasons to believe that Professor Oxnard also disagrees with the general recommendation of the Committee that I be denied tenure. In this context, Dr Partis' characterisation of my 1991 performance evaluation done by Professor Oxnard and Professor Oxnard's comments upon this matter also must be made part of the record of my tenure proceedings.
IV. The Effect of "Whistle Blowing" on my Tenure.
The final two paragraphs on page 4 and the first paragraph on page 5 raise a very significant, indeed central, matter regarding my tenure.
The issue of my tenure, clearly, and according to the statements made in this Report, cannot be separated from the problems which have plagued archaeology on this campus.
A very brief history of my association with Archaeology at UWA.
Within a year of my arrival at UWA, and while performing the duties of Head of the Department of Archaeology, I became aware of exceedingly serious and pervasive problems in the management, interpersonal relationships, and academic, professional, and ethical standards and behaviour of certain members of that very small department.
As you are well aware, Professor Bowdler in particular was implicated in a series of lesbian involvements with her students and staff which, in your own words, "damaged the objectivity" of the Department. She was also involved in many other activities which appeared to me to gravely hindered the proper development of a viable archaeology programme at UWA. I reported upon these happening in great detail to the Review Committee for Archaeology (the "Bruce Committee") and I summarised my findings to you for the use of the Clyde-Hotop Committee. I note here that I have always hoped that the University would be able to handle these manners in a quiet manner, in part because of the very sensitive and potentially gravely damaging nature of the problems involved. I stress that, unlike others, I have acted upon that basis over the past several years.
I, properly, reported the problems I observed (in the first instance during second semester 1990) to the then Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Parfitt, who encouraged me to report all problems and supply all relevant data, saying words to the effect "we have been long aware of serious problems in that department but cannot act without complaints."
Sightly earlier, I had already reported a serious problem to the Science Faculty in which a student appeared to be subjected to harassment by staff. This could not be proven at the time. Note of the problem, however, already had been made several months earlier by me as Head of Department in a confidential attachment to the yearly review of the staff member concerned, Dr Ian Lilly. I mention this item soley for the role it plays in setting the time at which I began to identify the serious nature of the problems in the then Department of Archaeology, and the means by which I came to discover them.
About the same time that I met with Prof Parfitt, I spoke with Mr Robin Slater in Personnel regarding the possible effects of reporting such complaints upon my tenuring. He said to me that I should simply do my job and not worry. He stressed that tenure confirmation was very much of a non-event at this university, and said words very close or identical to: "you would have to rape the VC's daughter to be denied tenure here." The irony of those words now becomes painfully apparent.
On the advice of Mr Slater and Professor Parfitt, I began to keep the Head of the newly created Division, Prof Oxnard, informed of the exceedingly serious problems in archaeology, including items such as apparently odd accounting procedures (including personal loans) and peculiar arrangements apparently designed to ensure that payment went regularly to a particular individual with whom Professor Bowder was personally involved. I stated on several occasions that I felt this sort of behaviour had the effect of interfering with the proper pursuit of research, scholarship and teaching in my chosen field. I note that in all of this I was acting through the proper "chain of command" as it evolved and became known to me.
Events over the next year should be well known to you and need not be rehearsed here, although I reserve my right to do so at a later time should it prove necessary. In brief, I was moved to Geography by Prof Oxnard with several students for our protection from the continual, totally unprofessional, intentionally disruptive, and unethical harassment originating in archaeology. This harassment was apparently due in large part to the malicious activities of Professor Bowdler. While the relocation seemed to present the opportunity for a long-term solution to the difficulties in archaeology, developments in late 1991 and early 1992, as you are aware, destroyed the prospect of peace, hope, and the opportunities which could have arisen from the solution which Prof Oxnard had so carefully constructed.
My alleged inability to work with other staff.
Seen in this context, the inclusion of a quote from Dr Partis that I "had demonstrated no capacity for working with other Archaeological staff" amounts to no more than the old saw "blame the victim and shoot the messenger." I am shocked, given the overwhelming objective evidence to the contrary, that such a harmful statement could be permitted to be made to my tenure review Committee and, even worse, that that the members of that Committee were in no position to scrutinise such statements on the basis of objective evidence or testimony by either myself or other informed parties. I now formally request that you provide me an complete accounting of any and all statements, either written or presented verbally, which have been used to justify such an outrageous judgement.
It is important in this context to note that the interlocking relationships of the other archaeology staff on campus are quite "unusual" by standards at other Universities, and that problems in relating to any one staff member, or even one staff member perceiving that problems exist, might easily become problems in relating to all. We cannot afford to ignore the fact that all academic members of staff (save for one who I understand are is leaving in June without having obtained employment elsewhere) have been at one time or another either Professor Sandra Bowdler's lover, her student, or both of these. All present and all other continuing academic staff save for Dr Lilly (who, as noted above is leaving) have received their degrees under her sole direction. Such intense inbreeding would be most undesirable in domestic stock; it appears to have equally tragic consequences for an academic department.
That the Department's "objectivity" might suffer under these conditions seems understandable and that they might portray my behaviour in a malicious and possibly defamatory manner becomes boringly predictable given their previous behaviour and their close, interlocking, personal relationships, as well as the pervasive climate of fear and intimidation which has long characterised dealings within that group. It should be recalled that it was this very environment of fear and intimidation which interfered with proper academic scholarship, and which provided the focus of my earliest complaints to higher administration in this University.
Accusations without the possiblity for rebuttal from me.
I must protest the fact that in the course of my tenure review, Dr Partis appears to have been allowed to make strong, possibly false and potentially harmful and damaging, comments about me to which I could not respond. I protest that I was not permitted to view his submission, or those apparently solicited by him from certain archaeologists now in assigned to Anthropology. I feel shocked that I was not given the opportunity to correct errors of fact or interpretation, or to provide evidence in my own defense.
Even worse, however, are the conditions under which my present situation arose. I knew certain people, if asked, would provide false and harmful infromation. I therefore came to what I thought was a clear arrangement with Dr Partis that I would be made aware of the identity of any and all persons providing submission. He solicited comments without providing me the names of the persons submitting. Therefore, I was left totally unaware that submissions from this, clearly biased, group would be entered into the record. Hence, it was impossible for me to provide any evidence to counterbalance what I knew, before the fact, would be negative characterisations of me. I find the situation as it evolved, and the consequences for my career, most troubling indeed, especially given the assurances Dr Partis had provided me.
The Committee acted in such a manner that, once again, the opportunity to resopond was lost. If the Committee had doubts about my ability to relate to other staff, as is clearly apparent in this Report, why were these matters not raised in their earlier communications to me? In saying this, I set aside the rather troubling question that if such gross problems exist with my behavour, why have they not surfaced before? And it raises the equally troubling question of why they finally surfaced in this one particular environment.
Furthermore, if the Committee actually held these accusations are irrelevant to my tenuring, why do they spend so much time discussing them in this Report? Their statement that "positive and negative views . . . counterbalanced each other" is not acceptable to me, or any other objective party, since it evades rather than answers questions of grave significance, both to myself and this University.
Why should a clear pattern exist in which any reference to anything negative about me is also a reference to documents I have never viewed and to which I have never been permitted to respond?
In this specific matter, as is the case with my Tenure Review in general, it appears that my own testimony is regarded as fundamentally irrelevant. Accusations are being made against me, and I have no right to know either the accusers nor the specifics of the accusations. I have no right of reply. Indeed, I find myself in the totally unreasonable and unfair position of having to reply to evidence which is held in confidence and has not been presented to me for reply! Neither due process nor justice can be presumed to exist under such sub rosa, and inherently inequitable, conditions. Accusations without the possiblity for scrutiny by the Committee.
It is distinctly odd, yet exceedingly fascinating, to note that the Review Committee during its deliberations appears to have faced the same dilemma I have in attempting to answer accusations that have never been shown to me. This dilemma arises from not having access to necessary information that is known to exist. As Deputy Vice-Chancellor Robert Wood notes
I mention all this to highlight that the Committee was not able to judge the correctness of the opinions expressed. . . . our judgements . . . were based on the most objective data that were available to us. (p4)and
the Committee felt that the documented evidence available to them could not be used to produce a valid assessment of how these factors impacted on ... performance or whether these factors were beyond Dr Rindos' control (p5)and
we were unable to judge whether the drop in his research output over the last three and a half years was due to factors that were attributable to him or beyond his control. I would stress that the committee . . . set aside the possible effects of external circumstances that may have affected Dr Rindos' performance. . . (p6)According to Professor Wood, the Committee was not permitted to view either the Bruce report or the Clyde-Hotop report. Professor Wood told me this was because these reports are "classified as confidential." Yet, this information was clearly needed for the Committee properly to do its job of evaluating my performance. Furthermore, they said so. I strongly protest the fact that necessary information was withheld from the Committee and I am forced to wonder why the Chair of the Committee did not do likewise.
In this context, I note that I have seen a copy of the Bruce report which was provided me by Dr Partis. Nothing in this document can be read to hold that my problems over the past few years are, in any sense, my fault. Thus far, I have treated this report as confidential but, if you will give me permission, I will supply a copy to them (or you, in case you also have not seen it). It certainly appears odd, at least on the surface, that the University is unable to supply this "confidential" document (which, I note, had been quoted in the press about a year ago) to its own Deputy Vice-Chancellor under conditions when it clearly constitutes essential evidence a Committee believed was needed to pursue a tenuring decision. I know that nothing negative is said about me is in the Bruce report, and furthermore, I now possess unambiguous statements indicating that a threat to my tenure was never an intention of that Committee.
I do not have a copy of the Clyde-Hotop report. I now formally request that a copy of this report be released to both me and to the members of the Tenure Review Committee as evidence essential to my case.
I reiterate: The Committee clearly states on several occasions that if the interference with my productivity was not my own fault, then mitigating circumstance excuse my "reduced" (at least as judged by them) productivity (and hence would apparently lead to my prompt tenuring). Yet, the Committee was not provided the data necessary to answer its own questions. They must have that data. This includes the Bruce Report and the Clyde-Hotop Report. Both of these reports deal with the serious problems which existed, and indeed in some ways continue to exist, in archaeology on this campus.
The havoc created by a long train of unprofessional actions originating in the then Department of Archaeology has led to the stagnation, if not the effective demise, of the discipline of Archaeology at UWA. These general problems are of prime relevance to the case regarding my tenure, and any judgement on my tenure can only be made after a full review of the effects of these problems upon myself and my students. There is no doubt that they have played a major role over the past several years on my as activities as Archaeology Head, on the quality and nature of interpersonal relationships in that Department and its successor, and on my freedom and ability to carry out my normal academic activities.
As I noted earlier, as Head of the Department of Archaeology, I was a "whistle-blower" in regard to the numerous serious problems I discovered while I was in the process of doing my job and fulfiling the requirements of my Duty Statement. The Tenure Review Committee evidently has received much evidence from persons adversely affected by my actions. This places the Committee in a very serious situation in that they must take into account the facts of the past few years in any evaluation of any the evidence they have received, yet they were not provided the information necessary to pursue their task properly. The strictures of natural justice now permit nothing less than either a new, full, enquiry into the above situation by the Committee itself, or by yet another Review Panel, or even by an external Commission of Enquiry. No matter the means taken, I know I have nothing to fear from an open, full, and honest purusal of the objective evidence because I have done nothing wrong.
V. The Reasons for the Committee's Recommendation
1. University Service
The Committee has not consulted the material I included which was originally produced while I was Head of Department. These documents provide clear, unambiguous, evidence of service and accomplishments, including Committee service. The Committee is (again) factually wrong when it states that I have not served on University Committees: I assume that being Representative to the Science Faculty Board, the Academic Board, and my membership on a Faculty Committee on Science Education should count as "committee service".
Once again, material supplied by me simply was not read and the inability or unwillingness of the Committee to consider the evidence presented to it comes into focus and throws serious doubts upon its conclusions.
Here again, the Committee raises the issue of anonymous, obviously ad hominum, negative reports. Did these mention the fact that when I was Head I brought in more internal funding in one year (even though this was a reduced funding year because of Devolution) than the previous Head had brought to the Department during her entire tenure as Head? Were comments on my Headship solicited from the Head of Division at that time? And if not, why not? And if negative evidence exits, then, again, why have I not been presented with the so-called negative evidence?
I already noted the "disappearance" of relevant data regarding my undergraduate teaching from Archaeology files. The Committee had an obligation to clarify this matter. I would hold that an objective assessment of my teaching would rank me as far more competent than "satisfactory, but not any better." The student reviews (especially the nature of the "negative" comments) speak clearly to this fact and I find it hard to understand how the many exceptionally positive statements made by first year students could have gone unnoted by the Committe. I now formally request that I be given copies of all the data supplied the Committee on my teaching because I now have worries that even that material which was supplied them might well have been incomplete. Since these student reviews have already been shown to me, I can see no reason why this should not be done.
Exceedingly relevant comparative data on my undergraduate teaching was also available to the Committee from the Science Faculty office. This was pointed out to the Committee but they did not deem to follow it up. It now must be obtained in the interests of justice and fair play and I therefore formal request same from you.
I note here that my load of 6 postgraduate students represents some 75% of ALL archaeology postgraduate students at this University. This represents a 6:1 [=6] student:teacher ratio and compares exceedingly favourably to the 2:5 [=.4] or 3:5 [=.6] ratio for the archaeologists located in anthropology; in other words, at least 10 times the average productivity for postgraduate supervision (I note that this figure is strikingly similar to the comparative statistics for my productivity in publication which is provided in detail below). Two other students wish to join me in study, but they have been artificially prohibited entry by the troubles and delay surrounding my tenure. I also note that if my record is to be judged using the terms "satisfactory, but not any better," as applied to it by the Committee, I would now formally ask you to provide me with the specific language for how they would judge other postgraduate teachers on this campus!
Dr Partis and his role in my hearing.
The misleading and incorrect information supplied by Dr Partis regarding Archaeology 120 cannot be be viewed as other than a symptom of either his complete unfamiliarity with the facts surrounding events in archaeology or his unwillingness to take the trouble to inform himself of these facts, or, perhaps, even his wilful tinkering with the evidence. In any case, this statement must now stand as unequivocal evidence which utterly repudiates the earlier statement made by the Committee (p5) that "as Head of Division, Dr Partis would have more direct knowledge of these issues." Perhaps he should have had more direct knowledge, but the fact is that he did not.
It is important to note that on or about 27 February 1992 Dr Partis stated to me without reservation that he "knew nothing" about the past events surrounding archaeology. Of far greater importance he clearly and unambiguously stated that he did not want to know anything about them. At the same meeting between Dr Partis and myself, he also made certain highly homophobic statements, or at least statements I interpreted in that manner. One comment, which I found exceedingly offensive as an openly gay man, was that I should "grow up and be a real man." Likewise he exhibited a pattern of making damaging statements about me to my students and to other staff. I have written statements documenting all of this, including documentation for questionable statements made during official University meetings. I also note in this context that I had to provide the Committee with a large numbers of documents that I had already given to Dr Partis because these were not forwaded to it, for whatever reason. They also had received a less than final version of my Yearly Report and I had to supply the proper version via my Union Representative. Finally, as noted earlier, Dr Partis' unwillingness to inform me about statements that he was apparently soliciting from other local archaeologists as part of my tenure review left me in a position where I was totally unable to defend myself against their negative comments.
All of these matters now begin to converge into a pattern and I have begun to get quite nervous. I stress to you that this is the first time I officially complain about these matters, and I also stress that I do so only because I now have reasons to begin to believe that Dr Partis may well not have been acting in a objective and impartial manner regarding either me or my work at this University. I now formally ask you what official procedures I must now invoke to follow up these serious complaints, for I believe the damage having been done, I now have no choice but to respond in an appropriate manner.
The Committees' "standards" and my research.
The Committee invokes exceptionally unusual, intellectually indefensible, and likely counterproductive "standards" for judging research output in the context of tenure. As already noted, tenure is universally seen as being based upon far more than the research output during one very brief period of time, such as three years. Tenure, in essence, is a lifetime contract and standards for tenuring should reflect an overview of the applicant's productivity, reputation, and demonstrated record of research and contribution to the field. Given that these factors, by definition, cannot be evaluated over a short period of time, and especially noting that research contribution to the field can only be viewed after sufficient time has elapsed for the impact to be felt and recognised, tenuring proceedings must adopt a more or less long-term perspective.
I unequivocally reject the Committee's position that only the work done after my physical arrival at this university is relevant to tenure. Instead, I must hold that international standards for tenure mentioned earlier should properly be maintained here at UWA as is the case elsewhere. Under these standards there is no question that I would deserve tenure at UWA, as I would at any other university.
I do not accept the narrow legalism invoked by the Committee by invoking a arbitrary cut-off times, such as a beginning date of "June 1989." When the results of a performance appraisal are sharply dependent upon temporal boundaries, and when the results obtained are subject to dramatic changes from small intervals of elapsed time, a more general standard must be invoked. To take only one example, between the time that the Committee prepared its report to you and the present moment, I have been notified that Princeton University Press would like to undertake publication of my Method and Theory book. This was not even mentioned, except in passing in my yearly report of 1992, but work has been done on it in the intervening period of time (although far less work has been done than I would have liked since I far too much of my time has been consumed by the administrative chores forced upon me, such as writing this document for you). By the time you read these words, the signed book contract for this manuscript might well have arrived. Should this book be counted or not? One day, and one day only, could make a major difference in the "numbers" of publications if we adopt the bizarre logic invoked by the Committee.
The arbitrariness and potential for grave injustice presented by these "standards" should be apparent. Advancing and attempting to apply these kinds of arbitrary standards is particularly reprehensible and irresponsible when the consequences, as here, are as significant as my tenure or my sacking.
Unjustifiable Exclusions of My Work
I reject the Committee's exclusion of recent work because I have not provided a "letter" indicating "likely publication" from the editor since this is not relevant to my publication history. I work on the simple presumption that whatever I submit is going to be published. This is not unreasonable since I have never had a paper rejected for academic reasons. Indeed, I have never even been requested to alter the contents (as opposed to the length) of any of my own papers as a result of the peer-review process (see comments from editors, appended).
Professor Gale I note here for your information that one editor I was forced to contact for these proceedings remarked to me, in clear astonishment that questions were being raised about my work, that "editors gloat to each other when they receive a manuscript from you."
I also reject the Committee's exclusion of recent work because I have not provided a "letter" indicating "likely publication" from the editors for the simple reason that I was never directed by the Committee to provide such letters from editors. It is totally improper to act as if such letters were "required" when the requirement was not made known to me. I fulfilled the Committee's conditions (letter of 15 January, Question 4) by providing manuscripts of all papers. A scholar should not be forced to perform the extraordinary, and likely inappropriate, task of contacting an editor regarding work already submitted and undergoing peer review. Nevertheless, acting under duress, I now provide a letter indicating "likely publication" for the paper on colonisation sent to Prof Schiffer. I hope you will note his rather strong comments on this matter!
As noted above, I await further communication from Princeton University Press accepting my "Method and Theory" volume for review. This process naturally takes time but the editor has told me he is more than willing to speak to you should you need to call him in the United States to reassure yourself on this matter. I believe the editor is also prepared to give his professional opinion on the significance of the translation of my agriculture volume, another matter which the Committee was incapable of judging.
I await still another letter which confirms acceptability for publication (after translation into Russian) of work presenting a summary of my work on cultural evolutionary processes. This will be appearing in a leading Russian journal of Theoretical Biology, Zhurnal evolutsionnoy filizologii i biohimiih and has been accompanied by an invitation to speak at their Institute for Theoretical Biology in St Petersburg.
The total dismissal by the Committee of the Spanish translation of my Agriculture volume as a "reprint" is both incomprehensible and academically unacceptable. Quite a few academics, eventually, might publish a book. It is a rare event indeed for a publisher to undertake the considerable cost and effort of translation of a scholarly book into another language. Hence, such a translation should be weighted at least as strongly as original publication in consideration of granting tenure. I am quite astonished that the Committee seemed incapable of understanding this simple academic matter, and it speaks again to their inability to provide an informed judgement of my accomplishments.
The dismissal of two publications from 1989, given the fact that UWA was my sole employer during that year, is also totally improper. Where, pray tell, is such work to be credited? This matter was discussed in detail in my previous reply to the Committee. They never gave any response to the data presented therein and I now require an answer to this rather simple question from you. I note again that I resigned prematurely from my previous position at Michigan State due solely to the totally incorrect migration information provided me by Prof Bowdler, who was in a rush to take up her "repeatedly delayed" study leave, and hoped I could arrive quickly and take up the headship for her. I stress that as a consequence of this misinformation I was unemployed and totally without income for a period of six months. Had I been provided with correct, factual, information regarding migration to Australia, I obviously would have remained at my previous post while my application was processed and we would not be discussing the "proper" attribution of these papers. I would now like to hear what you believe the University's proper responsibility in this particular matter and its consequences upon my financial well-being should be.
The Committee's apparent dismissal, or denigration, of my paper published in the American Biology Teacher is also instructive in terms of its abilities to judge my work. This joint paper provides a new method for teaching undergraduates modern genetics which already has been adopted at major universities overseas, and which simply cannot be dismissed as irrelevant in any sense to the practice of archaeology. Genetics is a necessary component of introductory archaeology classes; one cannot teach human evolution (an essential part of our field) without dealing with this subject. The Committee seems to have been unaware of this fact. This speaks, once again, to its inherent inability properly to judge my performance. Furthermore it seems to point to a distinctly odd belief that a scholar's recognition outside of the narrowest confines of their own field, rather than being applauded as an accomplishment, might be considered an indicator of poor performance.
Exclusion of Other Valid Indicators of Research Productivity.
The Committee's ignoring my invitation to participate in an international project of great significance is particularly galling. Should I have put off work in the future for the sake of churning out minor papers in the present? And if this was what was desired, why was I not informed of this "standard" either beforehand (so I would have known not to accept your offer of a position here) or at some period during the past three years (so I could have left for an environment in which real scholarship is encouraged).
My statistics from the Citation Index would count very strongly in any proper tenure review. I noted that in the 2.5 years since my arrival (a time span necessitated by the "lag time" of this index), I have had approximately 87 citations for my work, generally in prestigious international journals, including foreign language journals. Under a proper tenure review, this kind of data would be positively highlighted rather than totally ignored as was the case in the Report. The comparative statistics noting that my citation record is over three times that of the combined entries for all the other archaeologists on this campus also should speak very strongly for itself. What in the world is the purpose for investigating a scholar's publication record if the impact of the publications on the larger literature is ignored? Are we just playing some game of counting the numbers of papers without regard for their content, originality, impact, or intellectual significance? Just how does this University intend to judge the merit of its scholars -- by a count of the number of words published?
I note that the Committee also chose to ignore a major project of mine despite being informed about it in some depth. A description of the anthro-gopher project was supplied them, but this too was apparently ignored or found irrelevant to tenuring at UWA without reasons being given to me, yet this project has done nothing but bring good publicity to our University.
Tenure Standardas and Research Evaluation
I reiterate that the "standards" invoked by the Committee for judging (at least my) research and publication bear no resemblance to those found at any other tertiary institution in the world. They also are potentially counterproductive, and their application to me as done in the Review is fundamentally unfair. The "standards" given in the Report would reward relatively poor work brought to completion in relationship to better work near completion. They take no account of significant work in progress, nor of the relationship of ongoing work to work done in the past. They make no mention of the impact of work already performed, nor of the environment and conditions under which productivity is to take place and in which it is to be judged. In brief, they simply do not provide a useful guideline for evaluation of scholarly work and productivity. Hence it is not surprising that these "standards" are not compatible with international standards for tenuring. And it certainly comes as no surprise to discover that these "standards" led the Committee to a conclusion that lies in blunt contradiction to the judgement of the vast, indeed overwhelming, majority of my peers, both within Australia and overseas.
I sincerely hope that this University does not wish to fall into the dangerous trap of invoking an assembly-line model for scholarship: this can only result in UWA becoming known as a "citation factory" in which true quality in scholarship is forced to take the back seat to brute, frequently mindless, quantity.
VI. My Research Productivity at UWA.
I present now a brief, and proper, accounting of my publications, taking into account the Committee's "standards" (published or with letters indicating probability of publication) since I was hired by UWA). It would seem that, despite the myriad factors which conspired to reduce my research productivity, I have been far more than merely adequately productive. Even setting aside the rest of my career, and the clear extenuating circumstances I have had to endure at the hands of this University, I am forced to wonder how the University intends to have any tenured Staff if this record is held to be insufficient to meet its new "standards." I am also astonished that the Committee did not go to the trouble of obtaining commonly available comparative statistics.
JOURNAL BIBLIOMETRICS (per year computed for simplicity over 3 years). Comparison on overall rate of publication for papers only: The most relevant figures available to me (Sheehan 1989:34) would be derived from comparisons from the Humanities and Social Science:
Institution Humanities Social Sciences Melbourne: .55 .80 Monash: .57 1.00 NSW .56 .82 Queensland .42 .87 Sydney .41 .70 MEAN .50 .84In my satistics, coauthored papers are counted, in keeping with the other statistices, as equal to .5 of a paper; I have not compensated for the fact that most of the coauthored papers were produced as part of the postgraduate supervision process and hence required far more work than a typical "coauthored" paper (in fact, to be honest, these papers involved more work than a non-coauthored paper!).
.67 for mean of means Rindos 2.7 (excluding book length works) COMPARISON FOR PAPERS 504% of mean, humanities 321% of mean, soc.sci.
412% for mean of means
I note that even the Committe's figures, artifically reduced as they may be, cannot be used to justify the claim that I am "less productive" than normal. Here, the Committee has already accepted one of my 1989 papers, and under its own rules must now accept the Colonisation paper. It also accepts three coauthored papers, which are valued at .5 paper each for these statistics. Hence, by their own figures my average productivity was 3.5 papers over about 3 years, or more that for the highest average productivity listed for any of the Departments studied (1.0).
I stress here that even the artificially reduced publication list provided by the Tenure Review Committee would place me well ABOVE the range for the highest productivity within the listings given by Sheenhan. This artifically reduced publication record of about 1.2, it must be noted, is nevertheless equal to about twice that which is normal in academic department in Australia!
BOOK BIBLIOMETRICS: (per year over 3.5 years)
If we include the book accepted for review by Princeton University Press (Sheenhan credits books as equal to 6 papers), and give 50% credit to the book issued in translation since I have been at UWA, my total productivity is as follows:
Institution Humanities Social Sciences Melbourne: .55 .80 Monash: .57 1.00 NSW .56 .82 Queensland .42 .87 Sydney .41 .70 MEAN .50 .84 .67 for mean of means Rindos 5.7 normalised publications/year,which represents 1140% (almost 12 times) the avearage humanities productivity and 680% (amost 7 times) that found in the social sciences. I think this might well be construed as reasonable productivity, especially since I have been forced do this work with both hands tied behind my back, whilst at the same time fighting off a seemingly never-ending series of attacks.