[NOTE: Provision of this document was agreed by the Vice-Chancellor during a meeting with her. She then refused to accept it.]
Professor Faye Gale, Vice-Chancellor
University of Western Australia
24 May 1993
Dear Professor Gale:
I would like to thank you for meeting with me on Thursday. However, I must admit, I am left somewhat confused by certain aspects of what we discussed. I will raise these issues during these comments on the meeting, comments which are required under the terms of the understanding we came to at that meeting.
But first, let me begin with the positive, since I feel that some extremely important issues were resolved. Prime among these would be the fact that, from what you have said about my reply to the Wood Committee report, it is clear that my performance is no longer at issue. I very much appreciated your comments on this matter, and am pleased to put that matter behind us. I rest comfortably in the recognition that had you any questions or concerns about my submission of 15 April, you would have raised them at a meeting scheduled specifically for that discussion. Clearly, the documentation I provided you has put this issue to rest; hence, we may assume that if any decline in archaeology on campus has occured the cause is due to results of the adverse environment, which has been documented elsewhere.
Second, you asked me to consider discussions about possible arrangements other than my remaining in a tenured position on academic staff here. From what you said, some sort of financial package also might be involved, and you stressed that no matter the outcome, all discussions would be handled in a discrete manner which would provide total protection to my professional reputation.
I want to thank you very much for your understanding regarding this matter. As we both seemed to understand, no matter what arrangements we might come to privately, public tenuring will be absolutely essential since anything less will have a horrid effect upon my reputation (especially given the many false and possibly defamatory accusations which have been made against me). I honestly appreciated your concern and understanding in this matter, and believe it has provided a much needed sense of trust between us, one which can only serve to be helpful no matter what agreements we might arrive at in the future.
You noted you would like my opinions about whether I am willing to consider such an option. I, of course, am excluding nothing, but I did point out to you, strongly, that very good personal reasons make me reticent to consider removing myself from Australia (which is what your suggestion would necessarily imply). In saying this, of course, I exclude no options and prejudge nothing and believe that it is only fair that all possibilities be explored in an open and honest manner. I am reaffirming now that I am willing to consider any and all possible way of dealing with the current situation (of course, which include public tenuring) as means for resolving our problems.
However, we also both agreed that clarification of another issue, having to do with my placement at this University, would have to precede any consideration of other options. I will devote much of this letter to this since I need to discuss several related items.
I note here, with some frustration, that Thursday's meeting raised an entirely new issue, one that was simply not even mentioned in the Wood Report. It was not mentioned in the cover letter you included when you asked me for a reply to that Report. It was not raised with me in the period between my receipt of your letter and my reply on 15 April. And it was not raised with me in any manner, by any person, in the 5 weeks between the submission of my report and our meeting of 20 May. In what appears to be another repetition of a now all too familiar pattern, I once again find myself in the having another new set of questions requiring response.
I. THE GENERAL ISSUE OF TENURE AND MY PLACEMENT
As was made clear in the Wood Report, and as also was conveyed verbally to me by Prof Wood, the issue of my tenurability was to be considered idependently of, and before, my eventual placement within the University. You also agreed to this basic principle when you said that you would provide the necessary data to me on the responses by the Departments contacted regarding my possible placement.
From this argument I conclude that the issue of my tenure must be separated from any and all other administrative concerns. However, as noted above, I believe this issue need not cause us grave problems, and that it easily could be handled in terms of any arrangements to which we might eventually agree. It also must be noted that by the terms of my contract this issue must be resolved in the nearest of futures, in any case.
The formal separation of tenure and placement, of course, is the only appropriate manner in which to proceed. Tenure, and its award, is an academic matter while placement is administrative. Given that academic merit is the basis for tenure and given the fact that I was hired under, and accepted in good faith, a contract in which there was simply no mention of matters other than academic performance in regard to tenuring, it seems that it would be inappropriate to change the rules at this point in time, at least in so far as the fact of tenuring itself is concerned.
I might note in this context that this is a wise approach to take: tenured academic staff, of course, have a far greater longevity in their positions that do administrative staff. As a brief look at the history of my case will show, the mere change of one administrator (the Head of Division) was sufficient to completely change the way in which the University handled the problems in Achaeology, bringing about what appears in retrospect to have been a less than satisfactory handling of those difficulties. These changes served to gravely disadvantage me, as I have already pointed out to you. Therefore, to tie my case solely to the plans and desires of a few current administrators, and to ignore the larger academic and intellectual issues, would, of course be a grave error which would bode poorly for the future of the University's teaching and research programmes. It would also flatly contradict the University's committment, as given in its Mission Statement, to increase the academic quality of staff in residence.
In more general terms, however, it must be noted that my position, when I accepted it, was an "established," DEET funded one and barring rather specific requirements (which I do not believe to be met in this case), the funding for my position must be moved with me to any place to which I am transferred. I stress that such has been the case to date in my various travels from one venue and administrative locus to another over that past four years. Hence, no general argument based upon funding of my position, per se, is admissible. This principle and the precedent already set must be kept in mind in what follows herein.
I now turn to the general issue of my placement in the University. I do so in large part because of an agreement we made at our meeting last Thursday. You asked me to consider listening to solutions to the current problem which might involve other than remaining at UWA. I asked you to please, in return, attempt to apply some "lateral thinking" to the issue of my placement in another Department on campus. You did not disagree in any manner. I therefore assume, in all good faith, that had you not been willing seriously to consider such options you would has said so. Certainly, nothing could have prevented you from doing so were that to have been your true state of mind. I see no problem in considering simultaneously two apparently contradictory options (my placement as well as whatever offers you intend to make). Quite the reverse, it would seem a most efficient manner in which to proceed.
II. THE CONTRACTION OF AUSTRALIAN PREHISTORY AT UWA
I now consider the data you provided me on this matter. The first and clearly the most significant has to do with the general Archaeology programme at UWA. As you noted:
Archaeology, or at least Australian Prehistory, is in serious trouble at this University and you intend (possibly) to be closing down the programme.
I made several points relevant to this issue during our meeting.
1. Archaeology in general at UWA.
Archaeology and archaeologists are not now, nor have they ever been, restricted to the Archaeology Centre presently located in the Anthropology Department. Instead, archaeologists are at present assigned to the Classics and Anatomy Departments. Furthermore, persons doing archaeological work also are assigned to Geography and (possibly) History. Hence, the closure of just one archaeology programme should not be read to imply that all archaeologists on campus therefore must be removed from the University.
Indeed, you clearly affirmed this yourself, noting that the positions of other archaeologists on campus are not to be affected by any actions taken in regard to the current problems with the group located in Anthropology. Since your actions regarding Archaeology apply only to this one group, the Australian Prehistorians located in Anthropology, and since I am not a member of that group, nor even a member of their Division, I cannot see any reason why I should be treated differently to other archaeologists outside of that group.
2. Closure of the Centre for Archaeology
The programme you claim might be closed down is presently located in Anthropology. Hence, you were clear that the programme in Australian Prehistory is the only programme targeted for possible closure. At present this group includes only two (?) Australian Prehistorians and you noted that no further hirings are anticipated.
However, it must be stressed that I am not fundamentally an Australian Prehistorian, and that the classes I have taught within the confines of that programme were not classes in Australian Prehistory. Instead, I have taught the general First Year Class, and classes in North American Prehistory, The Origins of Agriculture, and Archaeological Method and Theory. If you wish to close down the programme in Australian Prehistory (which as I made clear at the meeting, I believe would be a very grave error), then it still does not speak to my potential contribution to this University, nor does it provide any rationale for removing me as a consequence of closing that programme.
3. Student Numbers and Archaeology.
You claimed that problems in attracting students provide major reasons for closing down Australian Prehistory. This argument simply does not apply to me. I have been very successful in attracting students, although as just noted, my teaching has not been strictly in the area of Australian Prehistory. I presently supervise 5 postgraduate students, and would have six were it not for ongoing problems having led to one leaving UWA to finish her work overseas where she could work free from harassment by other academic staff. I could immediately have two more postgraduates, one of which has already received outside funding, were it not for the artificial, and purely administrative blocking of further enrolments with me (a block which I stress is, according to the record, based solely upon my tenure status rather than any former connection to what is now known as the Centre for Archaeology and hence is independent of any factors which may be affecting enrolments there). No question exists that many other postgraduate students both from Australia and overseas would like to study with me were they provided the opportunity.
An Analysis of my Teaching
An Analysis of My Undergraduate Teaching: Archaeology 120
From the time of my arrival in 1989, I was performing very well in terms of my undergraduate teaching. I begin with the first year class, Archaeology 120.
Enrolments, Archaeology 120 (Raw Data from University sources) 1989 1990* 1991* 1992 1993 [May] Total Enrolments [T] 85 105 109 107 95 March enrolments [M] 77 85 88 80 73 Final enrolments [F] 69 78 80 65 NA Withdrawals [w] 16 27 29 42 [22 May] Final Enrolments as a %; Total and March enrolments F/T; F/M 81/89 74/92 73/91 61/81 NA * indicates years when I was the coordinator
From these figures it should be abundantly clear that I was able to maintain a high carry-on in the class (final enrolments reflected a high percentage of the enrolments in March, after class sizes had stabilized). The figures are especially striking for 1992, the year when I was not coordinating the class despite having been returned to the Archaeology department. Under these conditions any loss in student numbers could not be attributed to me and my teaching. This may be seen more clearly by considering the withdrawals as percentages of the enrolments:
Archaeology 120: Withdrawal rates
Withdrawals as a % of March and Final enrolments (w/M;w/F) 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 21/23 31/35 33/36 53/65 NA
From this chart, it may be noted that in 1992, over one-half of the March enrolment, and a staggering 65% of the final enrolment figure had withdrawn from the class by the end of the year! It appears that the 1993 figures may well approach this same level, if current trends continue. While my figures do represent an increase on the 1989 figures, it might be pointed out that this occurred in the context of significantly increased initial and final numbers of students.
The best way to express this would be in terms of EFTSU's
Archaeology 120: EFTSU's
1989 1990 1991 1992 1993(May) Potential EFTSU's (based on T=) 85 105 109 107 95 21 26 27 27 24 March EFTSU's (based on M=) 77 87 88 80  19 21 22 20  Final EFTSU's (based on F=) 69 78 80 65 NA 17 20 20 16 [~18] Final EFTSU's as a percentage of Potential EFTSU's 81% 77% 74% 59% NA
As is clear, the EFTSU's increased when I came into the class. Furthermore, there was a small increase in the results from 1990 to 1991, as the class was becoming reorganised and coming into its final form. It must also be recalled that I was removed from the class in second semester of 1991, and that a number of students left the class as a result of that unfortunate event. I believe the final figure would likely have been much higher, both at the end of 1990 (my problems in archaeology began in second semester 1990) as well as in 1991 had I been retained. I believe that the retention rate in both years would have been much higher had it not been for the unprofessional denigration of my work and abilities indulged in by other members of the then Department of Archaeology (these matters have been documented elsewhere, so I will not provide evidence here).
Of greatest significance, however, is the radical drop off in EFTSU credit when I was removed from the class. As may be clearly seen, not only does this figure decline in 1992/1993, but it also falls at a greater rate during the year. Of far greater significance is the decline in the potential EFTSU's as reflected in the last line of the chart. Instead of the approximately 3/4 retention rate of earlier years, in 1992, the retention rate falls to slightly over one-half! Clearly, this must reflect a change in the satisfaction of the students with the class compared to the earlier years!
An Analysis of My Undergraduate Teaching, 2nd and 3rd Year Units:
I now consider, and comment upon, the EFTSU contribution I made to the general Archaeology programme in terms of other undergraduate classes from my arrival in Second Semester 1989.
Second and Third Year Teaching (for raw data see Appendix) Year: 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993* Productivity Statistics for Archaeology Staff (excluding Rindos) # Staff 2.25 2 3 4.5 5 (?) EFTSU 4.4 13 13.4 14.5 19.93 [-7.7] Per-Capita EFTSU, Second and Third Year Units (excluding Rindos) 1.9 6.5 4.9 3.2 4.0 [2.57] Productivity Statistics for Rindos: EFTSU's 4.25 4.59 1.25 2.86 7.77 [pot.] Rindos' Relative Productivity (2nd and 3rd Year Teaching) 224%** 71% 26% 91% 193% / 300%[pot.] * see comments below ** possibly better expressed as 448% since I was here for only one semester during 1989.
As may be noted, from the moment of my arrival I took on a large amount of second and third year teaching. In 1989, when I was here for only ONE semester, I brought in a per-capita contribution towards the 2/3rd year programme that was over twice that of the other staff members. In 1990, when I began coordination of Archaeology 120, and was also Head of Department, I still managed to carry a 2/3rd year load comparable to that of the other members of Department. The figures for 1991 and 1992 represent ones which were artificially reduced by the fact that my troubles with the Department had begun. At that time very strong pressure was placed upon undergraduates not to take my classes. This can easily be confirmed by speaking to the relevant faculties, and I will provide documentation if necessary. I was also told by students that they were informed that they should not take my classes, and I can provide the names of students who were so directed. Further proof of my assertion may be seen in the fact (which of course is not in the raw data) that no archaeology Majors registered for any of my classes after 1990. The lack of majors extended even to Archaeology 217/317 which is a requirement for the degree programme: in this case, students were apparently informed that "other ways" could be found for them to meet the requirement.
Nevertheless, and despite the totally unprofessional and highly unethical, pressures placed upon students not to enrol for my classes, I maintained a rate of teaching comparable to that of the other staff. The figures for 1992 and 1993 are particularly interesting in this context.
In 1992, despite being "black listed" and having no real place in the Archaeology Department, I was still able to maintain a student load which was comparable to the 2nd/3rd year load of other staff. Clearly, students are willing to take my courses despite the campaign which was being waged against me. Their reasons, of course, are easily understood merely by looking at my teaching evaluations.
The case presented by 1993 is even more telling. With the dissolution of the Archaeology Department, students apparently believed that taking my classes, without prejudice, would once again be possible. Hence, the initial enrolments for my classes were most satisfactory. In 1993, initial enrolments for my second and third year classes yielded a total of 7.7 EFTSU's. These enrolments, of course, were never actualised since the first semester class was taught by another staff member, whilst the second semester classes were abruptly cancelled. Here it is fascinating, and most instructive, to note that the EFTSU value for my Method and Theory class fell dramatically from 3.09 potential EFTSU's to 1.1 actual EFTSU's after it was announced that I would not be coordinating that unit! This represents a decline of some 67% attributable from removing me from the teaching schedule.
In terms of the other two classes which students wanted to take with me, interpretation of the total EFTSU load is not quite as straight-forward. Here, it must be recognised that classes to yield sufficient credits must be obtained by students. Hence, the cancellation of my second semester classes led to a situation in which the 4.6 EFTSU's potentially achievable from those classes had to be distributed to other archaeology units. Hence, in calculating the proper value of EFTSU's to be given to other staff, one must reduce their load by that amount since, had there not been an artificial interference with the distribution of the teaching load, I would have taught those units, and the mean per-capita productivity would have to be reduced by that amount. Hence, the true reflection of my potential productivity would have to be expressed as three times that of all other staff at the second and third year level!
A Proper Accounting of My Contribution to Undergraduate Teaching
Making the assumption that I would coordinate the 120 Class, as well as teach Method and Theory on a yearly basis along with either North American Prehistory or Agricultural Origins in the Second Semester, and using the data just presented, I think it would be reasonable (and conservative!) to assume that my teaching load at the undergraduate level could easily generate the following EFTSU load:
1) Coordination of Archaeology 120:
This estimate is derived from the final load generated in BOTH of the years I coordinated it. I assume, conservatively, that 25% of the load would go to other staff -- this is a underestimate since one of the major changes I made in the class was taking a regular role in the lecturing (previously, the class had been divided up essentially evenly between staff members). I ignore here the negative effects of departmental campaigns upon both the success of the class as well as future possible growth.
20 EFTSU's Total 15 EFTSU's
2) Method and Theory: In 1990 there were 9 2nd Year and 8 3rd Year enrolments. Even in 1992, when I was black-listed and majors did not take the class, registration total 6 2nd Year and 1 3rd Year student. The registrations for 1993 (when the presumption was that I would teach the class) were initially 8 2nd Year and 7 3rd Year students.
For purposes of estimation, and assuming a yearly offering of the class basically at the third year level (which had been the plan for this required class when we registered it as a class to be offered every year), and assuming a majors load of 7 per year, I would assume that 3 second year students, and 9 third year students would be a sufficiently conservative estimate of its membership. This would yield a EFTSU load of 2.8 EFTSU's.
Note: the actual mean EFTSU's from this class (not compensating for the artificial reduction in 1992, and assuming that the registered students in 1993 would have taken the class) was actually 2.99; hence the estimate given here seems properly conservative.
3) Agricultural Origins and North American Prehistory
I assume that one or the other class would be offered each year. Based upon the average number of students who have taken the classes the 6 times that either was offered (6.5 second year and 3.7 third year students), I think it would be safe to assume that 6 second year and 3 third year students would take either of the classes in any given year. This would yield 1.8 EFTSU's.
Note: the actual mean EFTSU's from this class (not compensating for the artificial reduction in 1992, and assuming that the registered students in 1993 would have taken the class) was actually 2.1 per semester; hence the estimate seems properly conservative. I also note that in this estimate, I do NOT compensate for the other troubles since 1991, but the higher EFTSU's for 1990 and 1993 (for example, in 1993 the average EFTSU yield from EACH of these classes should have been 2.4 EFTSU!) are probably more representative of what would actually occur.
4) Postgraduate load:
Given the success I have had in attracting postgraduates, I will assume that, taking the most conservative case possible, I will normally have the equivalent of 5 non-excluded, full-time, postgraduate students in any given year. This of course yields a further factor of 5 EFTSU's.
5) Other Possible Classes:
I have already discussed several classes I would like to offer with members of the Anatomy Department. No need exists to go into detail here on these, but it might be noted that if First Year Archaeology were not to be offered any longer, my full load would require that such classes be given. Of course, it is impossible to say just what load such classes might generated, but it would certainly be safe to assume that they would be no lower than that generated by my other classes, and might well even be higher. Hence, I add the approximate mean for my other 2nd and 3rd year classes as a rough estimate for such a class: 2.5 EFTSU.
Summing over all of these components and leaving aside any further increases in load from things such as honours supervision, the results are quite impressive: Hence, my proper student load, conservatively estimated on the basis of the classes I have carried thus far, can be assumed to be:
TOTAL EFTSU LOAD FOR RINDOS = 24.6 EFTSU's
According to the data provided me, the mean load of staff in the Sciences is approximately 11 - 12 EFTSU's. Hence, in keeping with the productivity I evidence in research (see my previous submission to you of 15 April), I seem to have been carrying more than a 200% EFTSU load, even under conditions of total and complete institutionalised harassment, and despite the most strenuous attempts to prevent me from teaching!
It should be totally clear from these figures, as well as those presented in the previous section, that a clear need for my services exists in the University. The student numbers for the classes I normally teach may be used to prove that need and hence justify my continuation. Here I must stress that purely administrative decisions which cancel classes by fiat cannot be used to support a claim that student numbers do not exist to justify offering those classes. Had the classes been offered, then students would have been in them. The data is unequivocal on this matter. Even if my first year teaching to be not considered in this matter, I would still retain a teaching load typical for, and within the mean, of other members of the Faculty of Science: 11.1 EFTSU.
I believe it has now been convincingly demonstrated that if the Australian Prehistory group is having problems attracting students, a large, indeed a major, part of that decline likely can be attributed to my removal from active teaching in my areas of expertise. Hence, to say that the Archaeology Programme should be closed because of decreased enrolments, and that there is therefore no "need" for my services is patently absurd, given the fact that the major reason for the decline in enrolments is to be found in the fact that I am not teaching!
While over the past several years, I have begun to adjust to the existence of moving goal-posts, this particular train of "logic" goes quite a bit further than any previous one: I feel as if, upon having made a try, I have been suddenly informed that my goalposts are, in fact, now located at the other end of the field, and, therefore, that my points are now to be credited to the opposing team!
4. Possible Equivocation Regarding the Closure of Archaeology
I note in closing this section that you were unable categorically to state, nor to assure me in any manner, that the Australian Prehistory programme in fact will be closed. If I were to be excluded from this University on the grounds that a programme in Australian Prehistory is being closed, and I am to be removed as a consequence of being a member in that programme (which, of course, I am not), and then if a total and complete closure of the programme were not to occur, including the removal of all staff presently located in that programme, and the cessation of all other classes presently given under the aegis of that programme, a grave injustice would have occurred. As I pointed out to you, I would, minimally, be annoyed.
And as I stressed to you on several occasions, I bear no responsibility whatsoever for the current problems facing the Australian Prehistory programme. I have done nothing wrong, and indeed always have done my best to ensure that the serious problems existing in Archaeology were corrected in a discrete and proper manner. The University has had adequate opportunity to show otherwise, were such to be the case, and since it has not, it clearly places the blame for any problems in Archaeology outside of my own behaviour. That I should be victimised and made to suffer for the sins or inadequate performance of others would be intolerable.
III. OTHER DEPARTMENTAL OPTIONS FOR PLACEMENT
You stated that the delays in my tenuring were solely the result of your exploration of other options for placing me outside of the Archaeology group currently located in Anthropology. You noted that you have been in communication with four departments and that none have been able to provide a location for me in which I might work.
Put briefly: You claimed that no options exist for my placement at this University.
This is patently untrue and you, and the members of the other concerned departments, know it at well as I do. Clearly, my classes have attracted relatively large numbers of students. That other Departments (save Anthropology) might not, at the present moment, offer these classes is simply an inevitable consequence of my not being associated with those Departments. Clearly, no great effort would be required to give these already existing, and already approved, classes a new number which would reflect my new Departmental affiliation.
Furthermore, we recognise that all Departmental courses of study include classes offered in other Departments. Hence, no problem could exist with simply moving a given class requirement to the class bearing the new name for that currently existing class. The present Archaeology Course of study includes classes offered by many other Departments. I have already demonstrated that the EFTSU's generated by my classes (even considering solely my 2nd, 3rd and Post-Graduate teaching, and ignoring my 1st year teaching) would be sufficient to justify my placement based upon the EFTSU's my teaching generates.
From this observation it is an inevitable conclusion that only a executive decision to prohibit me the freedom to teach the classes I have normally taught could justify the claim that "no options exist for my placement in other departments." The students are there and they take my classes in sufficiently large numbers to generate all needed support for my position.
I also point out that a good precedent exists for this kind of arrangement: the history of this affair shows that no problems existed earlier with offering postgraduate degrees in Archaeology under the aegis of the Department of Geography, nor was there any problem in the then Department of Archaeology or the succeeding Anthropology Department contracting my teaching in 1991 and 1992, respectively. Hence, nothing can be read to prohibit similar, or analogous, arrangements in the future either at the undergraduate or postgraduate levels. To claim, without providing good reasons, that what has been possible in the past is suddenly not an option at the present is an inadmissable argument.
General Standards for Reassignment.
As I noted to you on Thursday, to claim that I must fit totally into a preexisting programme, one totally independently of the programme in which I was initially hired, and thereby to meet the criteria for placement you seem to be advancing, would be an inherently impossible task for anybody under any conditions.
It must be recognised that, by the very nature of the way in which teaching programmes are structured, all departmental plans reflect the current membership of that department and the classes they can offer. Hence, it is an impossibility that any other person could suddenly be added to that department without having some sort of effect upon the class offerings, and hence the overall academic plan, of that department. For no effect to occur, then the new person would have to substitute for an existing one in all particulars. Even given the (unlikely) that an unfulfilled need, along with the potential funding to fill that need, were to exist, then that Department would have already advertised a position (or would be in the process of doing so). Hence, you supply a test to me which is essentially impossible to pass for reasons inherent to the test rather than to my performance, abilities, or potential desirability to other Departments.
Furthermore, given the devolved structure currently in place, not to mention Devolution Mark II coming into force in the near future, it is the Department, not the Vice-Chancellory, which is given primary responsibility for determining the direction of its future growth and the manner in which that is to be implemented. Hence, accepting me into a Department is, in the final analysis, the responsibility of the Department concerned. They must have the freedom to bring in an already established position, such as mine, if they feel it will benefit them. Likewise they should not be prohibited from offering the classes I have traditionally taught.
Here, we know it is a fact that both Anatomy and Geography are likely to benefit from my movement to them, at least as long as a relatively level playing field is maintained, and due heed is paid to the nature of the position to which I was appointed in 1989.
I also must point out that the University has a clear obligation to offer the classes currently listed in the catalogues for a certain number of years; this would have to hold true even if it were to close down the offering of a Degree Programme in Australian Archaeology. Hence, we know for a fact that classes must be offered, and we also know that I am capable of teaching a large percentage of the classes that are currently listed and regularly offered. If I am not to teach these classes, then who shall be doing so? Here, the relative effects upon student numbers when I teach and when other teach the same classes simply cannot be ignored.
To make matters worse, you seemed to have claimed that a department must be able to totally support me, including salary, associated funding, and research funds, from their current funding, without considering any teaching revenue I might bring to that department through my supervision and classes. This appears to me to be speaking in absurdities. Most departments count themselves lucky if they already are meeting their current staff costs according to current formulae, and one clearly could not add another staff member to a department without considering the benefits they could bring to that department. The benefits I could bring have already been demonstrated and justified in terms of student load. Hence they must be included in any Departmental financial considerations involving me.
I have also pointed out that a strong case may be made that when I was hired, I was hired into an established position and that my funding must be moved with me in the future as it has been in the past. This factor, which also provide strong arguments for my potential acceptability, must be considered in evaluation of this issue.
I must point out that it seems unfair to make Heads of Departments provide a reply to the question of my "acceptability" to their Department on the basis of "rules" which are not necessarily factual and which effectively prejudge the outcome.
It is also unfair to require answers from them in the period of only a few days.
Finally, it is most unfair to not involve me in the such a process such that a working plan for my integration into another department could be developed and so that I would have had the opportunity to present myself, and my skills, to that Department in a proper manner. The Letters Supplied for Comment.
As you recall, in our discussion on Thursday you said you would provide copies of the letters used by you as evidence for the claim that no Department is willing to accept me at UWA so that we might reply to them. You noted that you had contacted four Departments, History, Geography, Anatomy and Anthropology. I shall consider the evidence you provided in that order.
No letter was supplied. Hence, totally lacking evidence, there is nothing I can say. I do note, however, that I had rather expected at least something. However, I see little advantage in further discussing this option in any case since it is not the most obvious place for either my research or my teaching. I do note, in passing, that the History Department never contacted me to discuss the matter in any case. It would seem that informed advice could not exactly be provided by them without such contact.
According to the information supplied to me, Prof Taylor's response to your question reflects the the manner in which your question was asked, rather than representing a fair accounting of all the options he would prefer to consider as relevant to such a move.
Prof Taylor has argued strongly that the proposed Centre which is to be at least initially affiliated with his Department would make an ideal home for me. He believes strongly, as do I, that such an association would be most beneficial to all parties involved.
Yet when I raised this issue with you on Thursday, you dismissed it, claiming that this Centre is merely "proposed" and hence no consideration whatsoever could be given to it as an option. I found your response troubling.
First, if we are to honestly and openly explore all options, applying a bit of lateral thinking as needed, then the Centre in Geography provides a perfect test of our willingness to do so.
Secondly, it is a fact that your claim "there is no place" for me on campus is based solely, and exclusively, upon a proposed (possible) closure of the Archaeology programme. Why should you seek to maintain the peculiar position that a future possibility which clearly disadvantages me should be accepted as a given, whilst another future possibility which could advantage me, my students, and the University at large should be dismissed without any consideration?
Whilst you dismissed my placement in Geography on peculiar grounds, at least the questions you had asked them forced them to provide a letter in keeping with those questions. The letter provided by Anatomy premits no such interpretation. Possibly as a consequence, when I raised this Department as a location for me to pursue my career, you dismissed the possibliity by saying something to the effect of "all the Departments said very nice things about your ability and accomplishments, but they have no funding for you."
As is clear from the letter sent to you by Prof McGeachie (14 May 1993), the Anatomy Department is more than willing to discuss my placement in their Department, again likely in the context of a Centre. They also make abundantly clear that they would very much like to be able to use of my expertise. As Prof McGeachie writes:
"In summary....we agree that Dr Rindos should maintain his academic status as Lecture and that if necessary he could become affiliated with the Department of Anatomy and Human Biology, especially with The Centre for Human Biology."It is most important to note that, in this case, the Centre for Human Biology is already in existance. Hence, the argument you advanced (the logical basis of which I have already critiqued) regarding the Centre in Geography simply cannot be applied to the Centre for Human Biology. Therefore no reasons can be advanced not to consider this option.
Yet such was not your reply. When I attempted to discuss Anatomy as a location for my continuation on campus, you dismissed it on the grounds that "they had no funding."
I am afraid that it appears your arguments change in each specific context. When the Centre in Geography is being discussed, it is dismissed on the grounds that it is not in existance. When the Centre for Human Biology is disussed, this option is dismissed on the ground that they do not have the needed funding! Yet as I have already pointed out, the funding is available, justifed, and therefore must be taken into account.
To make matters worse, Prof McGeachie's letter makes clear the reason why no funding appears to be available: He quotes your letter to him, at the same time providing a telling critique of the no-win position in which he, and his Department (not to mention me), have been placed:
"I must admit some concern at your comment "There is, of course, no central funding available for recurrent staffing positions," because from my understanding Dr Rindos is in fact already funded."This quote makes clear that the argument you advanced to me regarding funding, an argument which I stress you attributed to the Departments themselves, appears to be nothing more than what you had already told them. Anatomy has the power to find me acceptable to them. This they have already done (as has Geography, for that matter). But Anatomy does not have the power to fund my position. Clearly, the Administration cannot make the judgment that I am acceptable to a given Department (since they are not that Department). And while they might well, in fact, have the power to instruct, through normal supervisial channels, the members of a Department to accept a new member of staff, I can see where such power is best left unexercised. The Administration, in contrast, does have the power to ensure that a position is funded. And the Administration exercised its power to fund in this case, albeit in the negative, by making the (likely doubtful) claim that funding for me was not available.
From this it follows that your claim that the "Department" could not fund me is besides the point: Departments do not fund. Instead, the fact of the matter is that it appears that the Administration has chosen to not fund me, thereby preventing Departments from actualising their expressed desire to have me associated with them.
Given this obsevation, it follows that to place responsibility at the feet of the Departments for decisions, and for the inevitable consequences upon my ability to pursue my carrer, is less than totally accurate. They had been placed by the Administration in a situation in which the outcome already had been predetermined long before the question was even asked, hence they cannot be held responsible for that "decision."
If it is the case that the Administration wishes to deny me funding under any conditions whatsoever, and thereby deny me the possiblity of any further association with UWA, then let them do so honestly and openly. There is no need for them to adopt the pretext that the "decision" is made by others, or to attribute it to counter-factual and unjustifiable causes.
In relationship to this Department you supplied a most peculiar document, the relevance of which to the present situation would seem open to question.
I note first that the letter you forwarded is dated 22 May 1992, and hence is one year old! Am I to understand that no further inquiries on this issue have been made? Certainly, the current situation is not comparable at all to the one which existed a year ago. Hence, why should we assume a letter from that time would be relevant to our present discussion?
Second, I must note that the letter you supply is clearly not one solicited directly in response to a question regarding my placement in that Department. Dr Gordon is clearly writing in response to quite a different question: that of the taking over "temporary responsibility" for administration of the Archaeology Department.
Third, almost all of the letter has been blanked out. I am led to assume that these parts of the letter deal with other subjects entirely, but there is no way for me to know if my assumption is correct. All that remains of the letter is one of his apparnt conditions for his willingness to take over temporary responsibility for Archaeology:
"1. That Dr D Rindos and his postgraduate students not be included in this arrangement."I am astonished, and indeed shocked, that such a blanket statement, one provided without any justifications or reasons of any sort, would be acceptable, no less accepted, in our current discussions.
I remind you that at the time this particular letter was written, I was in the midst of several rather unpleasant proceedings. These included (1) the malicious, untrue, and potentially defamatory charge of sexual harassment brought against me by three female undergraduates from the Archaeology Department, (2) the equally malicious and untrue, and even more harmful, charge of plagiarism laid by a member of academic staff from that same Department, and (3) that oh so very mysterious and never-again-to-surface "conviction" for using the electronic media for the "promotion of pornography," or some such nonsense. Seen in this context, the letter you produced may well have been influenced by factors which now are seen in quite a different light.
It now becomes clear that, as it stands on its own, as it was used by Dr Partis as "evidence" at Faculty Meetings, and especially as you now use it to justify my possible non-continuation at this University, Dr Gordon's statement of May 1992 would seem to be have the potential for having a seriously negative effect upon my career, and possibly as a consequence, even my professional reputation.
I find it totally astonishing that an apparently ad hominem statement, one which amounts to no more than a undefended and unsupported statement of rejection of my participation (and that of my students!) in his Department, and a statement which is presented without any justification whatsoever, could be taken seriously, no less presented by you as evidence of "unacceptability."
As we are both well aware, Dr Gordon has clearly stated that my exclusion from his Department was not to be read to imply any kind of academic judgment of me. Yet, it is in just this way that it now appears to be being used. Dr Gordon's statement appears to be potentially gravely damaging to me, indeed.
In this context, I should point out that I have made numerous attempts to discuss my role in the Anthropology Department's teaching programme in archaeology with Dr Gordon. Our one and only meeting on the subject was quite enlightening, especially since Dr Gordon informed me that he was acting "under instructions" not to consider me in the planning of his teaching programme. It would now seem to be the case that a specific instruction given in the past to a Head of a Department is now being used to provide the justification for its own consequences both at the present time and in the future! At the time that Dr Gordon told me about his "instructions," I had assumed that the uncertainty surrounding my tenure lay at their root. Yet, it now seems that quite the reverse might well be the case. If not, the same end appears to be served in any case.
I must stress in this context that no logical reasons exist to exclude my participation from the teaching programme now based in Anthropology. The classes I usually teach are still listed as being given by that Department. As we have already noted, they must continue to be offered for some time in the near future. And even if they are to be cancelled in the more distant future, an event of which we cannot be certain in any case, it still remains the fact that a decision on my tenure is being held in the present, not in some distant future. Natural justice will not permit us to consider "possible" events in some undefined, and indeed uncertain, future to serve as sole justification for negative decisions in the present.
I reiterate: At the present time (and indeed, as pointed out earlier, for some time to come) the classes listed for Archaeology must be given. I have the ability to teach them. I attract higher student loads than other teachers. Therefore logic and the best interests of the Department would demand the the classes should be taught by me. Even if no other Department provides a "suitable" location for me, Anthropology remains.
In saying all this am I thereby claiming that I should be made a full member of the Anthropology Department? Of course not. Placement of competent academics within the University structure is an Administrative matter, it is not one for me to decide. I made this point repeatedly to you on Thursday. But while I would not, indeed could not, refuse transfer to that Department, I would not advise it either. As I noted to you, my advice to Dr Partis had been the same when he attempted a similar move over one year ago.
Good reasons to not transfer me to Anthropology are not exactly hard to identify. It is not exactly a secret that certain individuals on this campus have sought to be rid of me (though some seem to be leaving at a rather fast rate). It is also no secret that some of these individuals have stopped at little, have spoken when silence was demanded of them, and have even gone so far as to involve my students in their various attacks. The protection of myself, and especially my students, therefore requires that some distance be maintained, at least in so long as such attacks are possible.
Yet, as I have already demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt, and as had been done in the past, good administrative means exist to allow protection to occur within the context of academic service. Hence, no reason exists to exclude me from the work being done via Anthropology. This is a matter of means, not ends.
The only "reason" thus far given for why I should be excluded at the present time from cooperation of any sort with the Anthropology Department appears to be unsupported ad hominum claims, such as certain people "cannot get along with me." I can think of no other possible reason, and certainly none has ever been provided to me. In fact, the only evidence provided in this context (the letter from Gordon dated 22 May 1992) seems not only consistent with this interpretation of undocumented ad hominem attack as being the basis for my exclusion, but it also serves as a pretty good example of one.
Here, it must be noted, that if it is accepted as valid to exclude me from participation in Anthropology solely on the basis of what appear to be ad hominen attacks (for as I have already demonstrated, no other reason seems plausible), then the effect will be that your claim that "there is no place" for me, of course, is strengthened.
Given these conditions, and assuming that we lack any other
Department in which I can be "properly placed" (for whatever reasons,
although as I pointed out earlier, such is not the case in fact),
then it must necessarily follow that the claim that "there is no
place" for me is based upon (based solely upon I must stress) ad
hominem, possibly malicious, attacks upon me, my abilities, and my
"acceptablity" to other Departments.
Were the University Administration to credit such possibly
malicious statements, or even give the appearance of accepting such
statements as a valid basis upon which to make a decision upon my
retention here, it would thereby seem to agree with them. Hence, it
is placed into the position of having to be able to defend such
statments in any and all possible fora.
Furthermore, if the Administration were then to act upon this
basis, utilising such statements as the apparent rational for its
decision to claim that "there is no proper place for me," then it
would seem the Administration would be quite as culpable as those
making the statements in the first place. Perhaps, it might even be
more culpable since it has the power to assign me to a position
wherever it so suits them, and it has exercised that power in the
Were the University Administration to credit such possibly malicious statements, or even give the appearance of accepting such statements as a valid basis upon which to make a decision upon my retention here, it would thereby seem to agree with them. Hence, it is placed into the position of having to be able to defend such statments in any and all possible fora.
Furthermore, if the Administration were then to act upon this basis, utilising such statements as the apparent rational for its decision to claim that "there is no proper place for me," then it would seem the Administration would be quite as culpable as those making the statements in the first place. Perhaps, it might even be more culpable since it has the power to assign me to a position wherever it so suits them, and it has exercised that power in the past.
I note that the Administration already has apparently demonstrated its effective power to influence assignments of staff to teaching by means of instructions delivered through the appropriate supervisory channels. Hence, persons such as Heads of Departments could be instructed to plan teaching programmes to include me, rather than the reverse. The consequences of such an instruction would be to reverse the conditions of my present dilemma since there would then "be a proper place for me."
A final comment on reassignment and the way it was handled:
It might be held that the real problem we are confronting is that none of the classes I have traditionally taught and which are offered currently by Anthropology will be offered in the relatively near future. Such indeed may be the case, but as I noted earlier, this is the present and not the future, and future potentialities which could only serve to disadvantage me by presuming future redundancy are simply invalid of consideration at this time. This is especially true if other options exist. And as we have seen, several options clearly do exist.
It might be replied that the possibly planned dissolution of Archaeology will soon make me into excess baggage, and that all Archaeology staff must find other Departments in which to be employed at UWA or else be removed. Under these conditions, tenure, just like tenurability would be of no concern, or at least so I would assume -- tenure provides no protection from redundancy in so far as I understand this matter. Hence, no harm would come to the University in maintaining my position and role here until such time as the promised future eventuates and no more archaeology classes are in fact offered.
However, this argument overlooks the fact that several of my classes are amenable to being offered in other Departments, even after such time in the future as all Archaeology classes currently offered through the Anthropology Department are removed from the course of study (assuming that such an event actually will occur and that it will be a relatively permanent state of affairs, rather than something of short duration). Furthermore, as I have already noted, no firm assurance of any sort appear to be able to be given on this matter in any case. Without such assurances, of course, no action is possible solely on the basis that a closing of Archaeology "might" occur.
Furthermore, all arguments advanced to date ignore the very important fact that I am most capable of teaching a rather wide range of subjects which might be taught in numerous Departments on campus (including not only Archaoelogy, but other fields of study ranging from Botany, through Anthropology, Human Biology, and even Theoretical Biology, and History and Philosophy of Science). I should point out in this context that all of the classes I have offered at UWA have been new preparations for me, save for the Agricultural Origins class. Hence, the normal assumption that scholars are capable of developing new classes and adapting to changing circumstances has been ignored, at least in my case.
This leads to a another, most interesting, observation. If the Administration were truly sincere in its attempts to see if another Departmental setting might be found for my talents, it seems most odd that it did not ask any of the Departments it contacted to discuss the matter with me. Nor did it let any of them know that other Departments were also being asked about this question. Nor did it give them any reasonable amount of time to properly consider the matter and prepare a proper response. The working out of complex problems such as reassigning staff into a new Department would seem to require a certain amount of time, certainly far more time than the single weekend I have had between our last meeting and the apparent deadline for this submission on Monday, or the few days given at least some Departments for their responses.
Indications of other, serious, problems in the manner in which this process was conducted arise from the fact that it was only by chance that I found out at all that certain Departments had been contacted regarding the question of my placement. How could I properly plan for events the existence of which I was totally unaware? This is certainly not a particularly fair way in which to proceed in finding answers to a complex problem.
Another, related, problem arises from fact that since my last communication to you over one month ago, I had been under the clear impression that the only concern relative to my position at UWA was my scholarly productivity. No evidence to the contrary was supplied to me at any point in time. Hence, having replied to your previous communication to the best of my abilities, I assumed that you had no further questions to raise. I specifically asked you in my last submission to inform me if this was not the case. And, indeed, right up to the very moment before I met with you, and in fact until some time into that meeting, I was under the clear impression that you had made a "decision" regarding my tenure and that no further factors required consideration. The clear statement to me by your secretary when I attempt to see if our meeting was even necessary is totally in keeping with what I report at this point: she said that the meeting was necessary because you wished to "announce your decision;" similar words were also said to my Union Representative and conveyed by her to me.
Yet, I now find your "decision" regarding my tenure was that I should suddenly provide new information, apparently off the cuff and with no forewarning or opportunity to prepare my case, on the specifics of where I should properly be assigned. Furthermore, I found that this task was to be done accepting the rather peculiar, and possibly counterfactual, financial guidelines I have critiqued above.
Professor Gale, I have begun to grow weary of the silliness surrounding my continued association with this University. I find that, hydra-headed, as I reply to and apparently deal in a satisfactory manner with each task you set out for me, another one appears in its place.
In the past year we have seen a seemingly unending seqence of "reasons" advanced for getting rid of me, and as each one is properly repudiated, yet another is brought to the fore. This is a less than satisfactory method with which to deal with problems of great importance. And it cannot but help to raise serious doubts in the mind of the observer regarding the honesty, sincerity, and equanimity of the Administration of this University. I believe the time is now well at hand to deal with these matters in an open, mature, and professional manner. I prejudge nothing before the fact and am willing to consider any reasonable option. I sincerely believe the University's own best interests would best be served by you doing the same.
David J Rindos
CC: Robert Wood, Neville Bruce, Charles Oxnard, Mike Taylor