During this same month, members of the Committee met with the Vice-Chancellor and explained their findings in detail, noting that the specifics of the problems they had uncovered simply could not be put into a public document at that point in time. The members of the Committee also produced confidential documents providing far more detail than had been included in the Report.
By the end of 1991, major changes had occurred in high administrative positions at the University, and the two administrators who had been involved in dealing with the problems in archaeology left their posts (for reasons having nothing to do with the problems in Archaeology). Hence, in December 1991, when the new Head of Division, Professor Robson, attempted to transfer Dr Rindos and his students back to Archaeology, it was believed that he was merely uniformed about the facts. Members of the Review Committee apparently spoke to him, and conditions appeared to return to normal.
These memoranda only make sense if a decision to deny tenure to Dr Rindos had already been made and the sole problem was attempting to find a reason that would stand up in public. Some of these memoranda actually go so far as to worry about how his previous good performance will make firing him difficult, while others worry about the effect of his heavy teaching load will have upon the Administration's future plans.
The problem caused by his heavy teaching was able to be dealt with by cancelling his classes; his "low teaching load" was then used as an argument to deny tenure (e.g. a confidential letter written by a member of the Tenure Review Committee which was forced into release by the State Freedom of Information Commissioner in 1995).
The problem presented by the two positive performance reviews written by Professor Oxnard in 1990 and 1991, and the report by his Head of Department, Professor Taylor of Geography, proved to be a more intractable matter, so the reports testifying to his satisfactory performance were simply ignored.
For a few examples of the many latters that are now known to have been produced, see:
[These documents will be considered in depth in other sections of this Site which are still under construction.]For an appraisal of the reliability of the kinds of claims being made against Dr Rindos, see the comments by members of the Archaeology Review Committee which were written in reply to the charge that Dr Rindos had instigated a campaign against Bowdler and her department.
It must be stressed that none of these letters of complaint were ever shown to Dr Rindos for comment or rejoinder, and that the hiding of these documents was based upon a decision by the University to break its own regulations regarding "negative performance reports."
Several documents written by University administrators during 1992 point out that any and all negative performance reports, or even allegations of poor performance MUST be shown to the party involved. Not only were these various documents not shown to Dr Rindos, a decision was made to ensure that he couldn't even be aware that they existed! However, these very same memoranda which sought to explain why he would not be shown the charges against him, also stress that the charges were being taken seriously, and that they were to be used against him!
Internal communications of the University indicate that certain, unspecified, "negative reports and warning notes" were willfully placed into a special file and thereby became totally hidden from myself or my representatives. In a memorandum from the Principal Industrial Officer, Mr Slater, to the Acting Director Personnel Services, Mr Bandt, it is written :
"University policy on personnel files requires that the member of staff can view their file on application . . . The policy also requires that no statement about a staff member's unsatisfactory work performance (actual or alleged) may be placed on the file without it first being sighted and signed and a copy made to the officer.Mr Slater then speaks to the way in which the tenure review period might be extended, giving special note that the extension "can be justified on the basis of the change in headship."
"In this situation it is then understandable that Professor Bowdler's comments, Professor Taylor's comment and the 'warning notes' would not be on file since they have not been provided to Dr Rindos.
"In this particular case the issues are most sensitive and clearly personalities are involved . To place the Bowdler Report and indeed Professor Oxnards's full report on Dr Rindos' file would of course mean that he (Rindos) would have every right to see them . In the particular circumstances I cannot see that doing so will in any way enhance the situation. However, those documents (and others) are relevant to the whole situation and must come into consideration. "
"Dr Partis, in his capacity as Head of the Department, should be aware of all of the correspondence which has been received -- including the 'in confidence' memos to Professor Oxnard from members of the academic staff of the department (these cannot be put on Dr Rindos' file).He then turns to the specific University procedures which must be followed if tenure is successfully to be denied and concludes:
"Given all the surrounding circumstances it will be extremely important that the process of Dr Partis' review of Dr Rindos for tenure be carefully managed."By December 1992 when the first extension of his probationary period was coming to an end, and having no more knowledge but that some sort of a "negative recommendation" had been made by Dr Partis, Dr Rindos wrote to the Vice Chancellor and asked her to confirm tenure on the grounds that his academic performance had been satisfactory in all of his previous yearly reviews:
"I respectfully request that if you have any evidence of inadequate performance, that such evidence be forwarded in writing to me immediately. The requirements of natural justice make it clear that if any substantive allegations of unsatisfactory performance have been made, then I must be given the opportunity to review such evidence and contest the matter in an appropriate manner."Professor Gale responded:
"Until [a Tenure Review Committee's] report is received it would be inappropriate for me to deal with the request contained in your letter. You have my assurance that the requirements of natural justice will be adhered to in this matter." [Gale to Rindos, 10 December 1992]It might not, by this point in the story, come as much of surprise to discover that both Dr Rindos' letter to the vice-chancellor and her reply have mysteriously vanished from the files of the University. Dr Rindos actively sought to be able to respond to negative charges he knew had to exist about him, but he was refused the opportunity. The assurance of natural justice by Fay Gale must be one of the most cynical lines to have be written in this whole ugly affair.
Hence, in sum, it appears hard to avoid the conclusion that highly damaging documents were filed in such a manner that it became impossible for Dr Rindos to become aware of, no less respond to, charges made in them. Furthermore, and of grave significance, it is clearly stated, on more than one occsion, that these documents were relevant to the question tenuring and that they must come into consideration. The constant and repeated reference to negative claims made about him in all documents recommending denial of tenure clearly indicates they were brought into consideration.
Clearly, various false and malicious charges made against Rindos were locked away in a "secret" file which was held in an unspecified location where he could not view them. However, it would probably come as no surprise to discpver that the secret nature of this file was not maintained for persons other than him or his supporters. For example, in mid-1993, the President of the Guild of Undergraduates was taken, by Professor Gale herself, to view a "secret file" relating to Dr Rindos in what turned out to be a successful attempt to remove Student Union support from Dr Rindos and his students.
Dr Rindos' students, with the help of their Union were successful in resisting this move and were able to remain in Geography (though strong financial pressure was later placed on that department which made his students a financial burden). Dr Rindos, however, was advised by his Union that he had no choice but to accept the move back to Archaeology. He was assigned an office -- at the other end of campus from his students -- in a unused room in the Campus Radio Station. He had no normal office support, such as a xerox machine or a secretary to answer the phone, and the room was so poorly equipted that he had to buy his own book shelves.
The new Head of Division, Dr Michael Partis, who had arranged these moves, also took over the title of "Executive Head" of Archaeology when Professor Bowdler "resigned" the headship as a result of the Report of the Archaeology Review Committee.
In fact, it appears that Dr Partis took on little more than the title of Departmental Head, and he appears to have allowed Professor Bowdler to continue as the functional head of department. This behavior, which went against all proper advice, was soon to elicit a rather caustic letter from one of the members of the Archaeology Review Committee. This letter pointed out that Dr Partis' close personal friendship with Professor Bowdler made it particularly important that his actions might be compromising pending solutions to the problems in archaeology.
In his role as Head of Division, Dr Partis also played a central role in the new arrangements being made for Archaeology at UWA. He attempted to discourage the tabling of the Committee's Report, made public comments and taking ctions which were viewed by Dr Rindos and others as prejudging any possible positive decision on tenure.
Other factors added to a growing belief that the "solution" to the Archaeology Problem at UWA would be entail getting rid of Rindos rather than dealing with the real issues of victimization and exploitation. For example, as early as March 1992, and therefore well before the second Committee of Inquiry had met, no less reported, the University was selling the line to members of the press that the problems in Archaeology were based in a "personality dispute" between Dr Rindos and Professor Bowdler.
This initial attempt to find a safe haven for Bowdler proved unsuccessful. According to members of that department, the faculty were wary of getting involved in the well-known problems in Archaeology, especially since it meant taking on the person who was believed by many to be the source of those problems.
In May 1992 (before the second Committee had reported), similar discussions with the Anthropology department were to prove successful. In return for very generous financial rewards from the University's Vice-Chancellor, the Department voted to accept administrative responsibility for the Archaeologists on campus.
Hence, by mid 1992 Archaeology at the University of Western Australia had become, at least in name, a Center within the Anthropology Department (though it remained in its same location at the opposite end of the UWA campus). And at the present time, Professor Bowdler is the only member of the 1992 Department still on the UWA payroll, the other members of her Department having since left, apparently of their own accord, to positions elsewhere.
Dr Rindos and his students were specifically excluded from being party to the new arrangement, and Dr Partis publicly explained this by saying that he had been found "unacceptable." No reasons were ever given, which set tongues wagging around the University. Repeated requests for an explanation for the decision initially were met with silence, and then with evasion.
June 1992 should have seen Dr Rindos granted tenure. He had had two successful judgments of his performance, and, had his case been like any other one at UWA, the third anniversary of his appointment would have marked the day on which he was tenured.
However, in May, and following a flurry of internal memoranda, his probationary review was abruptly extended by the Vice-Chancellor. This was done for reasons unconnected to his performance Of course, by extending a review period for non-academic reasons she went against both University policy and her own earlier words.
The extension was given, following the wording suggested in a confidential internal memorandum to allow Dr Parits more time to "review" Dr Rindos' case. The extension of review was fought by Dr Rindos' Union, but to no avail.
She again extended his review period in December 1992. This extension appears to have been needed because legal advice on Dr Partis' non-academic reasons to deny tenure -- that Rindos had "destabalised" archaeology -- made it necessary to create a Tenure Review Committee to develop new reasons to fire him.
The Vice-Chancellor's actions in extending the review period was later publicly misrepresented as having been done for Dr Rindos' "benefit", when of course, it was merely a delaying tactic put in place while the University searched for public reasons to justify a decision already made. For a few examples see:
The rest of the charges were of a similar nature, and, in fact, had already been entered into the record by Professor Bowdler herself in her June 1991 "Tenure Report" on Dr Rindos. Had he been permitted to see that document, he might have found material useful in his defense of the case: Bowlder had already written of these same events that she had to "make it clear that I am not insinuating any sort of sexual harassment here."
Rindos' original response to the charges was that they were totally contrived and homophobic as well, and, since they were not sexual harassment, should not even be heard. However, he was told by his Union that he had to go through the processes, and to do otherwise would be grounds for dismissal. He was told that the charges were not homophobic because heterosexual men could also be charged with sexual harassment [!]. In the end, the charges were dropped, and described as having been "resolved" through "mediation." Nevertheless, both Dr Partis and Vice-Chancellor Gale had already told numerous people, including students, that Dr Rindos had been "formally charged" with sexual harassment, making the point that no "formal" charges had ever been brought against Professor Bowdler. So much for the "confidentiality" of sexual harassment proceedings at UWA!
The recommendations (Partis 2 November [to be uploaded in the near future, and quoted below] and 23 November) are based on totally non-academic grounds. Neither mentioned any problems with Dr Rindos' academic performance, but instead held that he should be denied tenure because he was "unacceptable" to the members of the old Archaeology Department -- a judgment which probably should not cause any great astonishment.
It is important to note that Dr Partis based both of his recommendations to deny tenure solely on issues of structure and personality. In these recommendations, academic performance was given little attention.
"It is widely known that the Department of Archaeology has been the setting for an internecine dispute in which Dr Rindos was a main player...
"In my view [his] actions go far beyond the exercise of academic freedom. Dr Rindos was appointed as a staff memeber in the Department of Archaeology and proved quite incapable of working within that Department. . . .
"If Dr Rindos were to be given tenure I see no prospect of him being absorbed as a regular staff member in any of our established departments. . . . Whilst it might be argued that the University has made the structural decisions and managerial decision which have side-lined him, I do not accept this conclusion. In my considered view the situation in which David Rindos finds himself is largely of his own making. Accordingly, I recommend that Dr Rindos be denied tenure." [Partis, 2 November 1992].
"In the last eighteen months Dr Rindos has declined to work with his colleagues in Archaeology, and has not been prepared to accept the authority of, firstly. Professor Bowdler as Head of Department, and, more recently, myself as Head of Divsion."
"[I]t should be crystal clear that he has been quite unable to work with the other specialists in the field. He has had a major destablising effect on the discipline of Archaeology and, according to a number of reports, has been prepared to personally denigrate other staff members. . . .
"It is against this background that the Head of Anthropology, with the full backing of his department, declined to accept Dr Rindos as a staff member. In his view there was ample evidence to suggest that Dr Rindos' presence would result in a repeat of the dissention which had produced such major tension . . . In that event the stability of the Department of Anthroplogy would itself have been threatened. I would have to say I entirely endorse [this] stand. . .
"The heart of the case for denying tenure is that Dr Rindos has demonstrated no capacity for working with other members of academic staff. A possible home might be found for him in Geography or Anatomy and Human Biology, but these are not departments which teach Archaeology. The Department of Anthropology, which is charged with responsibility for the discipline of Archaeology is not prepared to accept him under any circumstances. Their stand is entirely justified by the behaviour of Dr Rindos and his unwillingness to work with the other Archaeologists. I believe the University has no option but to deny tenure." [Partis, 23 November 1992].
"That neither Dr Rindos nor his representatives be given the opportunity to appear before the review committee." [Partis to Vice-Chancellor, 2 November 1992].This astonishing condition for judging a scholar led to the establishment of a "Star Chamber" for deciding upon Dr Rindos' tenurability: Dr Rindos and those who sought to speak on his behalf were excluded from having any input into the Committee.
It was also ensured that the Tenure Review Committee was structured such that all discussions of Rindos' tenurability occurred totally in camera. Partis also established that the rules for the Committee would include
"That FAUSA [the Union] be invited to nominate a senior member of academic staff ... to attend meetings . . . with observer status."A footnote, however, was attached which read:
"FAUSA's original position was that a senior official . . .should be a member of the tenure review committee to 'see fair play.' I think this would be unwise in that it might well inhibit discussion . .." [Partis to Vice-Chancellor Gale, 2 November 1992].On 6 November, following the production of the first report denying tenure, Dr Partis wrote the Vice-Chancellor, The Head of Personnel (Ms Zanetic), and Professors Wood, Robson and Jory [all of whom would later be on the 1993 Tenure Review Committe]:
"A meeting will be held at 7:30 am on Thursday 12 November . . . the tenure review committee will be constituted as recommended in my letter to the Vice-Chancellor of 2nd November."On about the same day, however, advice was received by the University from its lawyers. The advice concerned the inadequacy of certain of Partis' recommendations, made further recommendations about the formation of the Committee, and recommended that Partis write another report giving new reasons and additional data for denying tenure.
These comments from the lawyers note that
Dr Rindos found out that the Committee's meeting had been cancelled less than a day before it was to meet. The only reason provided him and his Union was that the Meeting was "premature."
However, more or less letting the proverbial Cat out of the Bag, the Report of the Wood Committee also makes sustained reference to the same matters earlier discussed in the Tenure Reports written by Dr Partis. Indeed, Wood's discussion of "The Data" used by the Committee in its deliberations considers little other than this topic:
"It quickly becaome apparent to the Committee that much of the available information about Dr Rindos was a reflection of positions taken regarding his ability to work with other staff. .. .Under "The Reasons" to recommend denying tenure they note:
"The Committee accepted that there was a camp that felt that Dr Rindos could not work with others and another camp that felt he was highly capable and would succceed in the right envrionment. . . . While recongnising the issues involved on both sides, the Committee was of the view that neither the support for Dr Rindos nor the criticisms of him were predominant."
"We did not consider the impact of interpersonal relationships and the actions of other staff on Dr Rindos' performance . . .This was not meant to refute Dr Partis in presenting his recommendation that Dr Rindos not be granted a 'Permanent Appointment Not Subject to Review.' In his role as Head of Division, Dr Partis would have had more direct knowledge of these issues. The Committee felt that the doucmented evidence available to them could not be used to produce a valid assessment of how these factors impacted on Dr Rindos' performance or whether these factors were beyond Dr Rindos' control."
"Members of the Committee found it difficult to judge Dr Rindos' contribution to University service independently of criticism made by fellow archaeologists . . . " [Wood to Gale, 24 February 1994This statement, like others, clearly implies, despite repeated assurances to the contrary, that such negative evidence based upon the defamatory documents Dr Rindos was never allowed to see, in fact, was considered by the Wood Committee.
It will also probably come as no surprise to discover that the confidential documents relating to the denial of his tenure -- documents which the university was forced to release by a State Freedom of Information Commissioner -- speak only of his role in uncovering the problems in Archaeology, not his academic performance, and are therefore in keeping with the earlier memoranda written by UWA administrators.
After the Tenure Review Committee recommended Dr Rindos be fired on the grounds of "poor academic performance," yet more letters began to appear from all over the world, supporting Dr Rindos and protesting the decision to deny him tenure, a process which continues to the present day.
Interestingly, it was Professor Robson, the person who had first attempted the return of Dr Rindos and his students to the Archaeology Department, and now the Acting Vice-Chancellor of UWA, who made the subjective statement in the Tenure Review Report upon which the "poor performance" argument against Dr Rindos' tenure was to be based.
In a document forced into release by the Freedom of Information Office, Professor Wood attempted to reply to some of the points Dr Rindos had raised in his reply to their Recommendation to deny tenure. In the commented transcription of this document, Professor Wood actually puts into writing that he could not disagree with the fact that Dr Rindos had suffered serious injustice at the hands of his own Committee!
At a May meeting, the only time he ever met her, the Vice-Chancellor raised new issues with him about his potential role in the University's teaching programs (a subject the Tenure Review Committee had specifically excluded as irrelevant to tenure). After agreeing that he could provided data on the matter, and after he had written yet another report, she refused to accept it (the letter refusing the document being one of the many letters which have mysteriously disappeared from UWA files).
The Vice-Chancellor then initiated a series of negotiations with Dr Rindos, during which the University said it would be willing to pay out the equivalent of several years' salary if he would merely resign. This set quite a few tongues wagging, with many wondering why, if there were problems with his work as had been claimed, the University would seek to offer a generous settlement to have him go quietly away.
Finally, in June 1993, the Vice-Chancellor fired Dr Rindos. In her letter of dismissal she managed to misrepresented the findings of the Tenure Review Committee, falsely claim that a decision to down-grade archaeology at UWA had been made, claimed that the few months spent in Geography gave him ample opportunity to return to full productivity, falsly claimed that the extenions of the probation period had done the same, and, to top it off, she provided her own purely personal reason for firing him -- the "fact" that he had been unable to get along with Professor Bowdler!
This part of the letter of dismissal was protested by Dr Rindos' Union which wrote:
"I note your letter advising . . . of your decision not to convert Dr Rindos' appointment to an appointment not subject to review.That the alleged "problems" between Dr Rindos and Professor Bowdler -- which is to say, the never-ending complaints about Dr Rindos by Professor Bowdler-- were at the basis of the Vice-Chancellor's decision to fire him is made obvious in the letter she was later to send all faculty at UWA about the case:
"You indicate in your decision that you have considered a number of factors not least of all the recommendation of the Tenure Review Committee.
"I refer particularly to your reference to difficulties between Dr Rindos and Professor Bowdler, [and] changes in the scope of the Archaeology programme that are directly relevant to (although presumably not a consequence of) the non confirmation of Dr Rindos' Tenure" [Crampton to Gale, 17 June 1993].
"Testimonials as to the quality of work done by Dr Rindos in other academic environments in the 1980's, of which many of the writers appear to have had very limited first-hand knowledge, seemed to have only marginal relevance to the current issue the University was trying to resolve ."
Among these "writers" who are alleged to have "limited first hand knowledge" are included the Heads and other members of staff from every single one of the previous three universities at which Rindos had been employed. Supporting statements were also sent by members of his PhD committee and others familiar with his work while he was at Cornell University. Numerous letters of support were also sent in by Australian scholars who had worked with him, including many from UWA itself!
Seemingly related statements pointing to some general, albeit not clearly spelled-out problems, are made by the Vice-Chancellor in her letter to Faculty:
"The Rindos case has caused much anguish to many people . The decision not to grant tenure was not taken lightly, or without careful consideration of the implications, both for the individual and for others involved in the case. My primary concern however, had to be for the general good of the University community . . ."Regarding this last quote, many wondered why such matters were even raised in the Vice-Chancellor's memo, especially if, as claimed, they were not "taken into account." It is widely believed that she is here referencing the contrived "sexual harassment" charges brought against Dr Rindos in 1992. As one correspondant, a Professor of Surgery, wrote Dr Rindos about this part of the Vice-Chancellor's letter:
"the claims of the several parties who have become involved in the dispute have inevietably touched on some very personal and sensitive issues . . . This kind of material is not appropriate for public reference " [ibid. pg 1]
"The review process and the recommendations resulting it have been quite wrongly associated with sexual politics and with personal and even academic prejudices . . . [ibid. pg 1]
"The secondary issues of this case, such as personal relationships between staff and students, which have diverted the focus of attention from the quality consideration, are of course matters of serious concern. These are matters on which absolute confidentiality has to be maintained. They have been and will continue to be resolved through established University procedures. They were not, however, taken into account in determining that tenure should not be granted to Dr Rindos." [ibid. pg 1]
"The obvious interpretation here is that Dr Rindos is guilty of some wrong doing regarding personal relationships with students, but that this was not used as evidence against him in reaching the decision to deny him tenure." [Gray to Rindos, 12 Dec 1993].It seems as if the campaign against him, begun in 1991 by members of the Archaeology Department had indeed succeeded: The Textual Dr Rindos was fired, and along with that documentary creature, Dr Rindos, himself, lost his job. This outcome, of course, was totally in keeping with the various allegations of oppression, victimisation, and harassment which had been made by many others at UWA against Professor Bowdler and the loyal members of her Department, and it was just this kind of behavior which had so upset the members of the original Archaeology Review Committee. Hence, should any further proof be needed of the totally unprofessional activities indulged in by members of that department, the events leading up to Dr Rindos' loss of his job, rather ironically, provides as perfect a case study as could ever be imagined.
Letters of Support and ProtestIn early 1993, as word began to informally spread that Dr Rindos was likely to be denied tenure by the University of Western Australia, letters of support from around the world began to pour into the Vice-Chancellor's Office.
By June 1993, after tenure was denied to him, on what the University kept claiming were "academic" grounds, letters were still arriving, but they had changed from letters of support to letters of protest.
Selected Quotations from these letters of support and protest may be viewed here.
A brief summary of Dr Rindos' charges against UWA regarding the processes used in their denial of his tenure can be viewed by following this link.
The Rindos FilesDr Rindos is at present working on a sociological analysis of the documents connected to the events during 1992 and 1993. This analysis looks to how the decision to get rid of the Textual Dr Rindos was implemented, this in an institution which has numerous clear regulations which would make such an act impossible -- or at least, so it would seem.
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