In October 1988 Prof Bowdler brought me to Perth at University expense. I stayed with her for several weeks. During this time she sold me on the research potential offered by Western Australia, leading to my application later in that year. Professor Bowdler's letter of support for my hiring was exceedingly positive and ended by speaking of how lucky she believed UWA was to be able to recruit me.
I was formally offered the position at the end of 1988, and accepted it in January 1989 with the understanding that it was to be permanent. Because of my contract, migration as a permanent resident was required of me by the Australian Government.
I was told that the position was "established" meaning that funding for it was to be guaranteed in my contract, and that the three year probationary period was a formality since nobody in recent memory had ever been denied tenure.
As events developed, the University was later to ignore this contractual guarantee, refusing to provide funding for me to other departments, and in June 1993 I became the first person ever denied tenure at UWA.
Having been informed by Prof Bowdler that migration proceedings would move quickly, I resigned my position at Michigan State University effective January 1989 so that I would be free to arrive in February 1989 to take up the headship of the archaeology department as was arranged. Despite extraordinary actions taken by the University to speed migration, the process dragged on for 6 months, a period of time during which I was unemployed.
Recent testimony shows that my hiring was strongly and vocally opposed by some of the post-graduate students, Susan O'Connor in particular, apparently for reasons of self-interest.
As Head, following the requirements of my job description, I began to report to University Administration problems involving sexual involvements between students and Professor Bowdler, favouritism, harassment, sexual discrimination, victimisation, and interference with academic and personal freedoms within the Department and its consultancy, the Centre for Prehistory.
8 Aug: My first Yearly Performance Report was judged satisfactory by my supervisor, Head of Division, Prof Charles Oxnard. He wrote the report because I was, at that time, Head of Department.
Sept-Dec: Repeated attempts by myself to discuss the problems in the department with Professor Bowdler were rebuffed by her. Then, my attempts to invoke University Dispute Resolution Procedures were repudiated. She claimed we had no dispute and that I must "learn to obey."
Severe harassment against myself and my students began and intensified during spring and summer 1990. Prof Bowdler, despite being formally on Study Leave, and took over de facto administration of the Department.
Baseless complaints were filed against me by Professor Bowdler's lover and student, Ms Celmara Pocock (who was employed as a general staff member), as well as her former lover Dr Sue O'Connor who was employed, along with her husband of the time Peter Veth, as academic staff members. Both of these persons had also been Prof Bowdler's PhD students.
In December, I presented a formal report to Professor Oxnard, my supervisor, on conditions I observed as head of department. I provided him with my notes for the meeting. These notes have disappeared from University files.
I also reported to Mr Robin Slater of Personnel on these matters on direction of Professor Oxnard, particularly in relationship to matters relevant to my tenure. I was told that denial of tenure, especially without proper warning, is impossible under University management and administrative procedures on appointments and promotions. I was told that tenure has not been denied in recent memory and I left the meetings feeling reassured that my tenurability was not under threat despite the events in Archaeology.
In a 1993 hearing of the Federal Industrial Commission, Mr Slater denied he made these comments, claiming that his notes of the meeting prove otherwise. It was later shown, under an FoI request, that he had to be lying because such notes do not exist in his diary.
13 Mar: On the recommendation of my supervisor, Professor Oxnard, I met with the equity office about the problems in the Department. The equity officer, Marie Osman, was shocked by my report, but warned me about "close personal ties" between the vice-chancellor, Prof Fay Gale, and Prof Bowdler. I believe several female members of the archaeology department also met with her around this time.
18, 19, 25 March: Confidential letters were sent to Prof Oxnard from Drs Veth, Lilley and O'Connor, the other members of staff in archaeology, attacking my performance and making numerous false and harmful allegations about my alleged "negative attitude towards research," "subversion of democratic processes," "not understanding [Aboriginal] sensitivities," "anti-heritage research sentiments," "disloyalty," "financial mismanagement," and the like. The charges made against me were totally false. They were filed by him solely in divisional files. I was never informed about their existence, or their contents and I know that Professor Oxnard did not believe the charges.
Prof Bowdler forwarded these letters to Personnel on 11 April, but, in total abrogation of University Regulations, they were kept in some place other than my personal file. Bowdler noted, saying of herself, that "The authors explicitly do not want Dr Rindos to view these letters as (with good reason) they fear his vindictiveness, which they are happy to see visited on me alone." It would seem this provided a rationalisation to keep their existence unknown to me.
27 March: Head of Division, Professor Oxnard formally moved me to the Geography Department for protection from ongoing harassment in the Archaeology Department. He took this action because of his belief that Professor Bowdler was attempting, improperly, to remove me, and was laying a paper trail to that end. He had also formally counselled Professor Bowdler that she was not following the proper procedures if allegations of poor performance are to be made.
All save one of the active postgraduate archaeology students (all of whom were women) chose to move with me to geography. My salary was officially transferred out of the archaeology budget and our move was documented in many memoranda to all relevant university departments. Only 18 months later, Dr Partis in the context of his recommendation to deny tenure to me falsely claimed that the move to Geography was improper and no documentation existed for it.
The University formally announced in the 1992 Handbook of Courses that postgraduate work in archaeology could be pursued through the geography department. About one year later, Dr Partis claimed to the vice-chancellor, as part of the justification for his claim that I was unfit for tenure, the "fact" that I had "invented" a fictitious archaeology programme in Geography and had brought students into it. He made the false claim that the programme had no official University standing.
A huge number of complaints (almost 50 in a three month period), including letters to my student's home addresses, were made by Professor Bowdler about my teaching and other matters relating to the introductory course. This interference finally ended when Professor Oxnard decided that I no longer be involved in the class. This action was taken to protect myself and my students from harassment originating from Professor Bowdler about that class. It was later stated by Dr Partis and by members of my Tenure Review Committee that I had been removed from teaching that class because of my own deficiencies.
While Professor Bowdler had written in many places that my teaching was totally unacceptable, in fact I had one of the lowest drop-out rates in the University (7%), a rate which compares most favourably with that of Bowdler (28%) or the other archaeology staff (17-22%) who taught the same class as me. My student evaluations were also extremely positive.
Around 27 May, Ms Maril Wallace, then head of Personnel Service, annotated my personnel file so as to involve Prof Bowdler in my yearly review. This was improper given that Professor Bowdler was not my supervisor, and that established processes of review do not give the Head of Personnel power to intervene in this manner. This action also served to undermine Professor Oxnard's reasons for transferring me to geography.
June 17: Professor Bowdler provided a negative review which is counterfactual and highly damaging. This review was never shown me for comment or rejoinder, nor were the claims she made made known to me in any sense.
This document was given folio numbers 153-164 as part of my personnel file. These folio numbers were later used for other documents. The removing of material from a personnel file totally contravenes written university regulations.
In August and September Professor Bowdler's claims about me were rejected in writing by my supervisors, Professors Taylor and Oxnard, in official reports on my performance.
Professor Taylor's formal review of my performance, written in August 1991 was not given folio numbers and apparently never became part of my Personnel file despite the fact that he was my immediate supervisor. The nature of this review was totally misrepresented by Dr Partis in 1992 in official university documents when he claimed it was unfavourable. It was not, but instead was highly supportive. However, given that it was not part of the record, it could not be viewed by members of the Tenure Review Committee.
3 Sept: Vice-chancellor Faye Gale wrote Prof Oxnard noting that my tenure was scheduled to be confirmed by 13 June 1992. She noted hat an extension of the review period is not possible without a notice of negative performance from a documented review, advice she is later to ignore. The vice-chancellor made clear that she was aware of Prof Oxnard's plans to establish a second archaeology programme, apparently to be located in the Geography Department.
19 Sept: Professor Oxnard writes a long document to the vice-chancellor regarding my performance and the problems in archaeology. He clears me of allegations of poor performance and states that the then up-coming Review of the department can be relied upon to deal with the larger problems in Professor Bowdler's department. Prof Oxnard, unlike all those who called for my sacking, is a trained anthropologist and therefore capable of judging the academic merit of my work.
This report is given folio numbers 165-167 as part of my Personnel File. These folio numbers were later re-used for other documents dating from mid-1992.
2 Oct: Charles Oxnard writes to Director of Personnel Service "Now that Dr Rindos is in Geography, I do not believe the future progress of this case is her [Professor Bowdler's] business."
18 Oct: In a letter to me, Professor Oxnard, in his second formal review of me, judges my performance to be satisfactory.
This letter is given folio number 155 in my personnel file indicating that a some point between October 1991 and early January 1992 a decision has been made in the Personnel Division to improperly remove folios from my Personnel file and to renumber documents. Given the disappearance of my Personnel file in 1995, I cannot be more specific regarding the exact date for the interference with my file, though internal evidence indicates a date early in October (I obtained copies of certain folios from the file in early 1993 but have never had a complete copy of said file).
Professor Oxnard's review was later totally misrepresented by Dr Partis as being positive solely for reasons unconnected to academic performance. Dr Partis held that the review was positive because Professor Oxnard was concerned about my mental health. This was a false and damaging statement.
21 Oct: Replying to one of the many letters from Professor Bowdler making complaints about me, Professor Oxnard wrote to her regarding me that "he is a teacher in Archaeology and must be regarded as such even if you are unable to work with him."
This memorandum from Professor Oxnard caused Prof Bowdler to write two confidential communications to the vice-chancellor. She had no right even to speak of matters regarding my performance since she had no supervisorial responsibility for me.
In these letters (Oct 31) she totally rewrites the history of my appointment, and makes remarkable and exceedingly damaging claims against me, holding that I arranged a campaign against her and the Department, destabilised the Department, and spread malicious misinformation, somehow bringing Professor Oxnard into this plan to do harm to her. She went so far as to recommend to the vice-chancellor that I be "invalided out" on mental grounds. Prof Bowdler also makes reference to a "special file" regarding me which is held in the Personnel Services. I knew nothing about this file but it clearly refers to the file created in Personnel to hold the false and malicious complaints which were written about me.
Nov: A formal review is held into the Archaeology Department. The members of the committee include Prof Bernard Moulden and Neville Bruce. Verbal and written evidence is presented by numerous current and former staff and students of that department as well as members of other educational institutions, government and industry. It is apparent from the surviving material that that now-missing documentation supplied to the Committee by Professor Bowdler attempts to blame me for any and all problems which might be found in the department.
Prof Oxnard resigns from the Headship of Division over a funding dispute with the vice-chancellory. Prof Robson becomes new acting Head of Division.
Dec: Professor Robson, in conversation, announces to me out of the blue that Professor Bowdler has never been "formally" charged with anything, and that all of the relationships she had been involved in with undergraduate students were "consensual." This statement totally pre-empts recommendations which were at that same time in the processes of being drawn up by the Archaeology Review Committee. He also claims that I would be returned to archaeology later in the month, and that the problems would be "solved" by Christmas. Neither event occurred, apparently in part because of actions taken by members of the Archaeology Review Committee.
At professional meetings, Dr O'Connor makes statements to third parties that I had plagiarised her work. One person to whom she made this allegation warned her that she would be unwise to continue making such an "outrageous accusation."
The vice-chancellor met with members of the Review Committee. It is said that she encouraged them to write a "polite" public document, and that she would handle the problems quietly to bring solution to the serious problems in Archaeology.
Mid Jan: Dr O'Connor writes me a friendly note saying that she has sent off for consideration a paper she alleges we have jointly written. I reply asking what in the world she is talking about. Despite my request, she does not supply a copy of this "paper" to me. I find out some 6 months later that this "paper" in fact is no more than notes of a talk given in the Department in early 1990 which had been written up from my informal notes in the Undergraduate Student Newsletter. Her act of circulating, without consent, the work of another person went against written university regulations. I remained unaware that her complaints had been circulated to high administrators until 1994 when I found out via Freedom of Information Proceedings. My rejoinders to her were not found in those files or are known only from my own file copy.
13 January: My Union views my Personnel File. The reviews by Professors Bowdler, Taylor, and Oxnard are not contained in my file.
15 Jan: My personal file is annotated that no action is to be taken on my contract without informing Mr Griffiths, the Vice-Principal. I believe this represents an unprecedented involvement of that office in personnel decision-making.
By this point in time, it appears that the decision to remove folios from my file had been implemented. The File Minute dated 15 January is given folio number 157. Folio 157 is the fourth page of the report by Professor Bowdler dated 17 June 1991. The removal of folios apparently occurred on or shortly before 2 October 1991 because a Folio Note bearing that date is apparently given folio number 153, which is also the folio number of the first page of the Bowdler Review.
(I say apparently because the folio number on this page is difficult to read, and I here follow annotations on a letter received under FOI proceedings which attributes that folio number to this particular page. Confusion exists, however, given that folio "157" was annotated around 15 January 1992 with a notation to "see folio 153", apparently referring to the reasons for involving the vice-principal in the case. Here, it is unclear which "folio 153" is here referred, Until such time as my original file can be found this will remain somewhat ambiguous).
Mid January: Acting Head of Division Alan Robson begins to make formal arrangements to take care of my students after I am denied tenure. He annotates documents with the claim that problems with my performance had been reported. I am unaware of any such claims about my performance and none were provided to me. He also removes my right to supervise students. This is to the best of my knowledge an unprecedented action and it leads to letters of request for explanation from the Dean of the Science Faculty.
16 Jan: Professors Moulden and Bruce of the Review Committee write a confidential memorandum to high University administrators summarising their findings that a serious scandal existed in the archaeology department. They call for a full inquiry by a body capable of taking the actions needed to resolve the problems.
20 January: In a long confidential memorandum to the vice-chancellor, Professor Bowdler replies to the Review Committee's Report. Her argument is that the problems discovered in Archaeology by the Review Committee never existed, but instead were solely the result of a organised campaign to do harm to her which was created and directed by me. This document was copied to Professors Robson and Jory and Dr Partis, all of whom were the principle persons involved in denying my tenure. It was not copied to the members of the Review Committee but a copy was later fowarded to them. Another almost identical document written by Professor Bowdler is dated 4 February.
In their reply (known to me only as file notes) to the Bowdler document the members of the Review Committee totally reject Bowdler's claims noting that overwhelming and independent evidence of problems were found, and stressing that the problems long predated my arrival in Australia.
21 Jan: Head of Personnel Maril Wallace provides a memorandum on Rindos to the Head of Division, Professor Robson. This gives the procedures to be followed to deny tenure. Clear reference is made to the requirement to inform, counsel and provide time for improvement of any alleged problems.
28 Jan: Vice chancellor Gale forwards the plagiarism complaint written by Dr O'Connor. It notes that the complaint was written as the result of the request of the vice-chancellor herself. She notes that this charge "is one of the many aspects of the situation in Archaeology which we are not able to deal with until we have set up appropriate management procedures."
28 Jan: The members of the Bruce Committee write an open letter soliciting formal submissions regarding the problems in archaeology to be sent to the vice-chancellor. They stress that persons submitting must agree that their comments can be used publicly. According to Professor Bruce, the letter was handled in this manner so that "qualified privilege" would not apply and therefore people would be unable to include false, defamatory claims. The University has recently indemnified legal costs for a person who made false and harmful claims about me in one of these documents, apparently on the grounds that it is protected under qualified privilege. The University also has consistently claimed that no "formal" complaints were received about the events in archaeology.
Feb: Prof Robson resigned from the Divisional Headship. The new Head of Division, Dr Michael Partis, was made Executive Head of Archaeology and attempted to move me and my students back to the Archaeology Department. The Postgraduate students protested, and with the help of their union they were returned to Geography. I also protested. I was advised by the Union that I have no choice but to accept my reassignment on grounds of "administrative transfer." In the meeting with myself and the Union, Partis explained that he is an old friend of Sandra Bowdler but he will not allow that to affect his behaviour.
Feb: Members of the archaeology department submit further documents making false and highly damaging claims about me. At least some of these are circulated to parties other than those involved in the continuing review of archaeology. Two of the three female students who are later to charge me with sexual harassment also write letters during this time reporting on conditions in archaeology. I am not even mentioned in either of their letters.
12 Feb: Professor Bowdler and Dr O'Connor submit to the vice-chancellor further written evidence which they claim supports their false allegations of plagiarism.
17 Feb: The vice-chancellor and the head of the arts division, Prof John Jory, met "off the record" with the history department to arrange a deal whereby Professor Bowdler is to be given an assignment in the History department. The freedom to hire new staff into all the other existing positions held by archaeology, including mine, was provided as a part of the proposed arrangement. The history department, apparently sensing the seriousness of existing problems, rejected the offer. It should be noted that this action pre-empted all the recommendations which were to be made by the Archaeology Review Committee.
20 Feb: The Review of the Archaeology Department ("The Bruce Report") is formally delivered and was widely circulated to appropriate administrators. Immediately afterwards it was classified by the vice-chancellor as "confidential." Prof Bowdler stood down as head of archaeology, and the Departmental Consultancy (The Centre for Prehistory) was dissolved, at least in name.
Confidential notes by Professor Bruce for his talk to the Planning and Resources Committee make clear that major problems (such as those noted in his letter 16 January) exist in Archaeology. He again called for a full investigation of conditions by a properly constituted body.
The Report of the Archaeology Review Committee made three "urgent" recommendations, none of which appear ever to have been carried fully or properly out by the vice chancellor.
21 Feb: I am returned against my will to Archaeology. I am now in a different department to my students and my office is moved to vacant room in the Campus Radio Station which is located on the other side of campus from Geography. I have to purchase my own bookshelves and have no normal academic support such as a link to the computer, or a secretary to answer my phone. As a result of these poor conditions I am forced to begin to work at home.
23 Feb: Dr Partis wrote to the vice-chancellor urging that the Report of the Archaeology Review not be circulated on the grounds that Professor Bowdler had challenged its conclusions, and had threatened a public rejoinder were it to become public.
24 Feb: I am called by a journalist regarding comments being made by the University's Registrar, Mr Orr, holding that the problems in archaeology are due to a "personality dispute" between myself and Professor Bowdler. I called the Registrar and was reassured that he has no data indicating this and that the matter will be corrected. I spoke with Dr Partis who agreed that there is no basis in fact for this statement.
26 Feb: I wrote to the vice-chancellor complaining about the spreading of false statements to the press and the fact that they were not being corrected. She wrote me on 28 February informing me that I must deal only with Dr Partis. These letters are missing from University files.
27 Feb: I complained to Dr Partis about the repeated ad hominem abuse I suffered during the Departmental Meeting chaired by him. He tells me to "grow up and be a real man."
27 Feb: Dr O'Connor makes written complaints to yet another party about my alleged plagiarism.
2 Mar: Prof Moulden of the Review Committee wrote Dr Partis complaining that his allowing Prof Bowdler to serve as "Head of Archaeology in all but name" appears "cynical," and reflects "astonishingly poor judgment," especially given that Dr Partis is well known to be a "close personal friend of Professor Bowdler."
9 Mar: A letter to the press signed by the other three archaeology lecturers at UWA makes the claim that "there are no ideological or personal differences between" them and Prof Bowdler.
10 Mar: I wrote to Dr Partis complaining about the University continuing to make false, and potentially damaging, statements about me to the press. No reply was received. The letter is missing from University files.
20 March: Hotop and Clyde meet with VC re: ambit of report.
30 March: They meet again with vice chancellor. Shortly afterwards VC meets with Bowdler and later provides letter to her.
31 March: Date of Hotop Clyde Report.
6 April: Dr Partis writes to M Griffth, Vice Principal,
"I am seriously concerned over the status of Dr Rindos. . . . Because of uncertainty over his position I called for his file . .. and was disturbed to find [it] incomplete. . . . Firstly could I draw your attention to [the file which states] that his previous year's work was satisfactory. However the file is incomplete and does not contain the very negative report from Professor Bowdler . . . [which] should form part of the official record . . . If his appointment is to be terminated I need to know the earliest date on which this can be done. I suspect that the previous handling of this case will make it very difficult to arrive at a proper resolution of Dr Rindos's position."13 April: A Bandt, Acting director of Personnel, writes to R Slater
"Mr Andrews [of AHEIA] indicated to Dr Partis he was concerned about the seemingly excessive teaching load being undertaken by Dr Rindos as this could potentially compromise any action we may wish to take in the future." In Sept 1992 my courses became listed as "subject to staff availability" and after that I was informed that all of my teaching had been cancelled. Comments by members of the Review Committee were later to raise my "low teaching load" as a factor relevant to my sacking.13 April: Professor Taylor complained strongly to Dr Partis about the severe financial disadvantage his department was suffering because of the archaeology students he was carrying.
13 April: A Bandt, Acting director of Personnel wrote to R Slater, Industrial Officer:
"Mr Andrews [of AHEIA] indicated to Dr Partis he was concerned about the seemingly excessive teaching load being undertaken by Dr Rindos as this could potentially compromise any action we may wish to take in the future."In Sept 1992 my courses became listed as "subject to staff availability" and in March 1993 I was formally informed that ALL of my teaching had been cancelled. Much was later made of my "low teaching load."
13 April: VC writes Bowdler regarding misconduct. Copy found but Bowdler's response was "destroyed."
6 May: In confidential memo, R Slater wrote to Acting Director, Personnel Service regarding a planned extension of my review period that it
"can be justified on the basis of the change in headship. . . . Then, once we have officially informed Dr Rindos of the extension . . . Dr Partis should interview him and advise him of any areas of concern [regarding his poor performance]. . . . Given all the surrounding circumstances it will be extremely important that the process of Dr Partis' review of Rindos for tenure be carefully managed."7 May: In a confidential letter to the vice-chancellor, Dr Partis wrote regarding me:
"It is not clear what action can be taken at this stage. I have sought clarification of the situation from the Personnel Office . . . He was given a clean bill of health in 1991 despite evidence that there were major problems over his performance. Given the difficulties which have occurred it will be very hard to arrive at an objective assessment of his academic performance. Nevertheless, it is essential that this be done if Dr Rindos is to be denied tenure."11 May: In confidential memoranda, R Slater of Personnel wrote the vice-chancellor regarding my Personal File (repeating information conveyed by him on 6 May to the Acting Director of Personnel Services):
"University policy requires that members of staff can view their file . . . in this particular case the issues are most sensitive. To place [various items] would 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, these documents (and others) are relevant to the whole situation and must come into consideration. . . . The continuing problems in Archaeology would indicate that there are grounds for questioning Dr Rindos' suitability for tenure."In this as in other memoranda, the university admits that it will break its own regulations governing evaluation of performance, and hide all negative charges from me.
13 May: The vice-chancellor unilaterally extends my tenure review period by 6 months. She writes, giving voice to the recommended justification, that the extension was given me to "allow Dr Partis a reasonable period in which to review your appointment."
The Union formally complained in writing that the vice-chancellor has not followed University management and administrative procedures on appointments and promotions. Over the following months, the Union repeatedly complained that the University is not following its own written regulations. The only reply received is that my case is "not normal."
15-25 May: Special departmental meetings in the Anthropology Department arrange for the conditions governing the move of archaeology into their administrative care. All meetings assume as the first point of any agreement is that neither myself nor my students be included. Dr Partis and Professor Jory attend some of these meetings.
22 May: Dr John Gordon, head of anthropology, wrote to vice-chancellor Gale saying that his Department will take responsibility for archaeology only if "Dr Rindos and his students not be included in this arrangement." This resolution was passed by a unanimous vote of the department, and my "unacceptability" to anthropology was later made public by Dr Partis. No reasons were ever given, thereby inevitably leading many people to assume the worst -- that the reasons are such that they cannot be mentioned in public.
25 May: The vice-chancellor accepted Dr Gordon's terms, not commenting upon nor querying the conditions. Anthropology received major financial rewards for taking on administration of archaeology.
c. 25 May: In a press release the vice-chancellor announced the incorporation of the archaeology programme into the anthropology department. She noted that she is doing this on the basis of the Bruce Report and claims that Archaeology was "a very small department where two academics with quite different views about the discipline and quite different personalities had led to a division." A review of the new arrangements was promised at the end of 1995. This was then cancelled by executive action.
18-20 May: Three letters were sent to Dr Partis complaining about a newspaper article about sexual harassment at UWA. The authors then provide false and harmful complaints about myself, alleging sexual harassment by me. These letters were later used by Dr Partis to bring sexual harassment charges against me.
Late May: Dr Partis and the vice-chancellor tell various uninterested parties, including the former members of the Archaeology Review Committee and the President of the Postgraduate Students Association, that I have been "formally" charged with sexual harassment by three students. When these rumours reached me, I complained in writing, via my Union, to the vice-chancellor. This complaint has disappeared from University files. It was also widely circulated that I had been "convicted" of "pornography mongering."
Such public comments by these officers totally contravene written University regulations on the confidentiality of equity complaints. They also did not mention the gender of the persons complaining against me, thereby leading people to believe I have been charged by male students.
Their statements were totally incorrect. No "formal" charges of sexual harassment were brought against me. The "pornography mongering" charges were, even at the time, admitted to be based upon no evidence whatsover. Yet they were still pursued.
3 June: My Union wrote the vice-chancellor pointing out that my extension of review was not in accordance with University procedures, and that I have been placed at a disadvantage "by acting as if it has conducted a proper review in accordance with its procedures when it clearly has not. It does not have the option of extending the review period but only that of confirming Dr Rindos's appointment on 13 June." This letter has disappeared from University files.
4 June: Two of the three women who made "sexual harassment" complaints sent a signed letter to the press making false and harmful written accusations against me. This was done despite an undertaking of confidentiality.
5 June: Professor Oxnard wrote Dr Partis noting his availability to produce another review as my academic peer.
7 June: Dr Partis wrote a letter to my Union and by that means I found out I was charged with sexual harassment, and the "extensive use" of the university computing system to "transmit pornography." The University mandated requirement for substantiation of complaints was totally ignored.
8 June: I wrote to the vice-chancellor via my Union complaining about how I had discovered that she had told the President of the postgraduate students' association that I had been charged with sexual harassment. This letter was sent before I learned that I had been so charged. It is missing from all University files.
The formal resolution of the complaints remained ambiguous: the sexual harassment cases were said to have been resolved through mediation, but it was also noted that any future complaints would have to be dealt with. The sending out of the letter to the press was dismissed as if it were of no consequence. Of the pornography charges, it was merely written that they will not "be pursued." During the hearing, however, I was been told it would be vigorously pursued if evidence could be found.
The sexual harassment charges against me, which I finally received via FOI proceedings in 1995, are false and absurd. In fact, these charges were manufactured by Dr Partis out of letters written to him by members of the archaeology department complaining about press reports regarding Professor Bowdler's sexual involvements with her students (something I only discovered in 1994 after finally being allowed to view the complaints). Professor Bowdler's review of June 1991 made reference to the very events complained about in these charges. Regarding these events she had written:
"I should make it clear that I am not insinuating any sort of sexual harassment here."The pornography charges were never explained, nor would Dr Partis give any justification for them. Despite repeated requests in writing for evidence for these charges, none was ever produced. I have since learned this charge was based solely upon a "verbal complaint" by an unnamed party.
9 June: At the Annual Meeting of the Faculty of Science, Dr Partis summarised events in archaeology. He again held I was held unacceptable to the Anthropology Department, and that alternative supervision was being arranged for my students. His statements were sufficient to lead the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Hartmann, to ask why he was prejudging my tenure.
10 June: Third Yearly Report supplied. Dr Partis judged it to be insufficiently detailed and directs that I write more. My scheduled field research becomes impossible because my final yearly report is repeatedly "unacceptable" to Dr Partis and requires continual rewriting. During this period of time Dr Partis was repeated telling my students and other parties that I will be denied tenure, despite my abilities, on "administrative" grounds.
12 June: I wrote Dr Partis requesting copies of the specifics of the sexual harassment charges against me. I also ask for an accounting of evidence on the "pornography" charges. No reply was received. The letter is missing from University files.
12 June: Professor Moulden (a member of Review of Archaeology Committee) writes Dr Partis:
"The more I think about it and the more I hear the more convinced I become that it would be a mistake to try to deny tenure to Rindos. When we discussed it [in May], you based your argument primarily upon managerial grounds, not on grounds of academic principle or natural justice. . . . There now exist some further options [and] . . . I suspect not all avenues had been explored . . . Based upon my current knowledge . .. it would be a mistake to deny tenure to Rindos."16 June: Prof Bruce wrote to the vice-chancellor:
"the situation has gone from bad to worse.. .. I question the advice you have had on this issue . . ." He notes that based upon the Review, the move of Archaeology to Anthropology "will not solve the underlying problems. . . . [V]ery damaging activities are still being carried out. I do not believe that these will ceases until much stronger action is taken."He notes (one year before the event is to occur) that Dr Partis had told him that I will not gain tenure.
"This information surprised me to say the least; it seemed to be a total reversal of what I though would be the probable outcome of our review."19 June: The union writes to Dr Partis regarding the external reviews of my performance
"it seems that a satisfactory assessment means automatic conversion, given that all assessments to this time have been satisfactory."This letter also contains details of the agreed-upon procedures to be followed and points out again that "the university has not complied with the tenure regulations and procedures, and the process for review in this case departs from the norm."
23 June: Procedures related to the continuing allegation of plagiarism made by Dr O'Connor continue.
29 June: The vice-chancellor replied to Professor Bruce's letter of 16 June noting that "the University has handled these matters in a thoroughly professional manner, and that all appropriate procedures have been carefully followed."
1 July: My Union wrote to Industrial Officer Slater:
"I cannot agree that the vice-chancellor has adhered to the university's procedures in this case. The regulations [my contract] and guidelines governing tenure should be read together. Indeed, the procedures [manual] makes specific reference to the regulations under 184.108.40.206 A (iv) when discussing extensions of the period of review. While paragraph 6(1) of the regulations allows the vice-chancellor to extend the initial period of review, this can only occur in accordance with the guidelines which require a statement of activities and a recommendation from head of division.7 July: Dr Partis replies to my Union on the conditions for review:
"The University cannot negate the fact that the guidelines have not been followed."
"Once I have the reports of the assessors I will arrive at a recommendation on tenure based on their assessment, teaching reports.... and David's general contribution to the discipline of Archaeology in this University."July: Dr Partis assured me that I may put off my study leave until the tenure issue is resolved.
Dr Partis and I came to an agreement that I could provide referee reports for my tenure review and that neither of us will solicit comments without providing the names of the people asked to the other. He later reneges on this agreement actively soliciting negative testimony. He also falsely portrays the letters I solicited in a negative light. Two Australian (not "international" as the vice-chancellor was later to hold) archaeologists are asked to provide outside statements on my research.
I was never provided with any data regarding the general nature of these confidential reports, or of any other documents in my file, but now have seen them and know they were basically positive. One reviewer wrote what could only be called a "rave" review; the second noted that my productivity was down but pointed out that he had not been supplied with criteria for judging and concluded that "extenuating circumstances" might have to be taken into account when evaluating the case.
The external reviewers were never supplied a copy of my vita, or any of my work in progress, in press, or under review, this despite numerous written requests from my Union to that end. The reviewers were also supplied an early version of my yearly report, and were thereby led to believe that my previous one year's production was my total productivity since arriving at UWA.
16 July: Dr O'Connor continued to pursue the plagiarism allegations.
16 July: R Slater wrote my Union claiming that the extension of review was proper because
"the Vice-chancellors action was and still is intended to ensure that the final review be fair and reasonable. . .. The discretion open to the Vice-Chancellor . . . was a proper exercise of authority. . . . Clearly this case ought not be taken as the norm."31 July: My union responded to Mr Slater:
"I note your response. . . FAUSA considers it important to preserve the integrity of tenure procedures and reserves it right to take further action in relation to failure to comply with these."14 Aug: In response to a letter from my union asking about the resolution of the pornography charges brought against me Dr Partis wrote:
"The issue of possible misuse of the electronic mail system will not be pursued. There is no reference to the matter on David's personnel file."This document as received via FOI from the vice-chancellory had a letter "F" in the upper right-hand corner. According to the FoI officer at UWA this notation indicated that the letter was included in the "F" file of documents considered by my Tenure Review Committee.
14 Aug: My union complained to Dr Partis that the supervisorial and non-departmental assignments under which I was working were "unusual in that
"these arrangements, which would seem to encompass the direction of work, constitute a significant change to the conditions under which he was appointedOn the same date the Union also wrote to Dr Partis that necessary data had not been supplied to the outside referees in contravention of a standing agreement.
"arrangements whereby all other Archaeology staff are formally incorporated into the Anthropology Department while he is not, could be seen as an adverse reflection on him."
15 Aug: Dr Partis finally accepted my Third Yearly Report but he made no judgment upon it, nor did he discuss my report with me, despite these being conditions of University management and administrative procedures on appointments and promotions.
His sole comment, on my teaching materials, was that "most people wouldn't go to that much trouble just for students." The Table of Contents of my third Yearly Report alone is 12 pages, and the total document comprises almost 1000 single-spaced pages. Normally, yearly reports are around 3 - 5 pages.
21 Aug: Dr Partis wrote to the vice-chancellor explaining what was being done to provide alternative supervision for my students.
c. 1 Sept, 10 Sept: I am totally cleared of allegations of "plagiarism" made by Dr Susan O'Connor on the grounds that no case existed for the claim and no data for it was ever supplied. She never replied to this judgment and the matter apparently remains open today.
One of my students became aware that she has been accused by Dr S O'Connor in a "confidential" but widely circulated letter originally sent to the Sites Department (which grants permission to undertake field work in the State) of "offending aboriginal beliefs" in a paper which had been published in a leading Australian journal. Having finally received a copy of this letter in 1995, I now know that the claims made in her letter were absurd albeit highly damaging. The charges, however, were eventually to lead to the withdrawal of the student who could no longer handle the continuing harassment. The student has gone overseas to complete her degree.
I found out that I have been declared to be "unacceptable" by the Karinjini Aboriginal Community. I have never been in their area of the State, nor did I even met a member of that community until December 1995.
8 Oct: In a letter to my Union, Dr Partis wrote that he had decided to "not recommend" tenure but supplied neither reasons nor data. He verbally claimed to me that he was "not making" a recommendation rather than "recommending non-tenuring" noting that it is properly the vice-chancellor's decision and therefore she must make it. Documents eventually obtained show that he strongly recommended denial of tenure in written material.
2 Nov: Dr Partis wrote the first confidential recommendation for denial of tenure. His reasons were totally non-academic and he noted that there is "no prospect for [Rindos] being absorbed as a regular staff member in any of our established departments." He blames me for having created the problems I encountered in archaeology. I am not provided with a copy, or even a summary of the reasons proposed by him, and hence I am unable to rebut any of the numerous false and highly damaging allegations against me contained within his "supporting data."
2 Nov: In a confidential covering memo to the recommendations he wrote to vice-chancellor Gale regarding the establishment of a Tenure Review Committee. Dr Partis noted that the Union's position was
"that a senior official of the staff association should be a member of the tenure review committee to 'see fair play.' I think this would be unwise in that it might inhibit discussion in the tenure review committee and might also make it more difficult for the individual concerned to act for Rindos or FAUSA in any subsequent proceedings."He proposed that any appeal to the decision of the tenure review committee "be heard by a committee appointed by Senate." This recommendation was never made known to me, nor followed up.
Dr Partis listed as the members of the committee himself and the persons who were to become members of my January Review Committee. All of these persons had received copies of the various confidential charges against me written by Professor Bowdler and the other members of archaeology. He closed the letter noting of himself that
"I have . . . broached the possibility of a negotiated settlement as a means of avoiding an adverse tenure finding. Dr Rindos is not yet prepared to respond positively . . . but the situation may change in the coming weeks."6 Nov: A Committee was announced to evaluate and formalise Dr Partis' decision. It was to meet on 12 November. I was not asked to attend to defend myself or offer testimony. The meeting was cancelled at the last minute, apparently on the basis of legal advice given the university that the proposed grounds for denial of tenure would not stand.
Early November (week of 9 Nov): Industrial advice was provided the University regarding the status of Dr Partis' reasons to deny tenure, the formation of a Tenure Review Committee, and the proper way in which tenure decisions must be handled. It was noted that
"Natural justice would require Rindos be given opportunity to counter any adverse material to be considered by the Committee.Handwritten annotations on this document confirm that the grounds for dismissal were still totally up in the air, that serious problems existed with Dr Partis' recommendations and the procedures followed to date, especially regarding issues of natural justice. A "redundancy" case was still being proposed and it was recommended that the University's legal firm, Mallisons, also be involved.
"Recommend that vice-chancellor call upon Partis to provide facts and substantiation as to grounds upon which Rindos is unacceptable as as a teacher or supervisor..
"Upon receiving information on concerns express by Partis (as substantiated by the material being sought) . .. these should be summarised in a letter from VC to Rindos and Rindos provided with an opportunity to put in writing to the Committee his response to those matters of concern.
"Rindos be provided reasonable time to respond
"After that time, the Committee should receive Partis' report with attachments, the VC's letter to Rindos and his response (if any). The Committee would then meet and form a judgment in terms of a recommendation to the VC . . .
"Committee should set out grounds for each particular" [Note: This step is required only for the denial of tenure]
"The issue of Rindos being acceptable to any other department should not be seen as a matter relevant to the Committee's considerations. How to achieve this is difficult...."
20, 23 Nov: Dr Partis received solicited statements from members of archaeology saying they believed they would not be able ever to work with me.
23 Nov: A second report, again then unknown to me, was produced by Dr Partis. The report itself contains numerous false claims and harmful imputations. He notes as a reason to sack me that
"Dr Rindos . . . has not been prepared to accept the authority of . . . Professor Bowdler."He concluded:
"The heart of the case for denying tenure is that Dr Rindos has demonstrated no capacity for working with other members of academic staff."24 Nov: Dr Partis writes to Personnel enclosing his report dated 23 Nov and the solicited letters. He also enclosed Professor Bowdler's 1991 report on me noting that it is not on my personnel file.
26 Nov: A second memorandum of legal advice noted:
"As was discussed with Dr Partis on 19 November 1992, his (new) report should include:None of these points were covered in Dr Partis' recommendation of 23 November. This data was conveyed to the vice-chancellor on 2 December.
"all probationary assessments of Dr Rindos (e.g. Professor Oxnard 1991)
"details of counselling of Dr Rindos in relation to perceived deficiencies or problems, and the results of such counselling.
"material which details the substance of the concerns raised in his report of 2 November 1992
"comment by Dr Partis upon the relevance and/or significance of "influential" material in support of Dr Rindos, such as the letter from Associate Professor Bruce dated 12 June 1992."
30 Nov: My salary cost line in the Division of Arts Budget is annotated "NB: John Jory [Head of Division] has said he never agreed to take on responsibility for Rindos."
4 Dec: My union wrote requesting data on the appeal process for any decision made by the Committee. No reply was received.
4 Dec: I wrote to the vice-chancellor noting I had never been informed of any deficiency in my work during my probationary period and asked that my tenure be confirmed before the expiry of my extension (31 December). I also formally requested, specifically citing the dictates of natural justice, that if any allegations of unsatisfactory performance had been made about me then I must be allowed to reply to them. This letter to the vice-chancellor has disappeared from university files.
10 Dec: The vice-chancellor replied, informing me a new committee was to meet in the near future. She assured me natural justice would be honoured. She did not accede to my requests regarding provision of documents or advice regarding negative judgments made of me. Instead, she extended my review period for an indefinite period of time so that she will have the time to allow her "consideration and decision on the Committee's report." She assured me "that the requirements of natural justice will be adhered to in this matter." This is missing from university files.
15 Dec: I meet with Dr Gordon, Head of Anthropology (which now included archaeology). He tells me he had been "instructed" by Prof Jory, Head of Division, to develop all future archaeology classes without using my services as a teacher with the clear implication that I am to be removed in the near future. Several students protest the fact that I will not be teaching and claim that they will have problems completing their degrees.
End December: Memoranda from Dr Partis note that his Division will refuse to pay my salary.
They provide me with questions to answer most of which had already been covered in material written earlier. As a result, yet another report is required from me. It is later claimed that the Committee accepted my explanation on all questions asked of me. Denial of tenure was still recommended. Hence, the grounds for denial must have been matters other than those put to me for reply.
Professor Wood tells members of Government, in confidence, that I have been subjected to long-standing harassment and that a tenured position will be found for me at UWA outside of Archaeology.
The two remaining male members of academic staff in Archaeology leave that Department. One takes a job elsewhere, the other just gives notice and leaves.
3 Feb: Prof Williams, Head of Division, Science, wrote deputy vice-chancellor Wood:
"Both I and Dr Partis before me have been adamant that it is no longer appropriate for Dr Rindos to be located in this division. Once again it may be this Division which bears the cost of the delay in coming to a conclusion regarding his position in the University. . . . The negotiated arrangement in April 1992 was that he would remain in this Division only until 31 December 1992."4 Feb: John Jory, Head Division of Arts (and a member of the Committee reviewing my tenure!) wrote to deputy vice-chancellor Wood regarding my salary and location:
"the Head of this Division has consistently made clear that Dr Rindos has never been and never will be a member of this Division."16 Feb: Professor Jory, unable to attend the second meeting of the Tenure Review Committee, puts his reasons to deny tenure into writing. His "General conclusions" read:
"Since his arrival Rindos has received an unfavourable report from his Head of Department (Bowdler), has been suspended from teaching first year students by his Head of Division (Oxnard), has produced little in the way of research considering his light teaching load and most importantly for the University, has been involved in creating an atmosphere in which his colleagues and superiors find it impossible to cooperate with him or he with them. I also note the advice of the Head of Division of Agriculture and Science (Partis) that tenure not be granted. All these considerations together with the discussion at the first meeting of the tenure review committee . . . lead me to the conclusion that tenure be not granted."12 Feb: The Wood Committee holds its second meeting. Again, I am not permitted to attend to defend myself or offer testimony. The Committee operated on the basis that questions of tenure must be separated from questions of eventual placement. The Head of the Committee, Prof Wood, told me that they were not permitted to view important documents (eg: the Bruce and Hotop/Clyde Reports). Nevertheless, I am possibly cleared of negative judgements regarding my alleged "inability to get along with other staff" on the grounds that they could not make a decision one way or the other since they had insufficient data and what they had was contradictory.
A recommendation for denial of tenure is sent to the vice-chancellor on 24 Feb. The reason for the denial now is based upon research productivity. All other performance criteria are judged "satisfactory." Their productivity judgement is based upon a subjective assessment of the case as provided by one member of the Committee, Prof Robson. The report notes:
"members . . . believed that all staff converted . . . in the last three years have had a higher level of performance . . .. This belief could be confirmed or refuted through a review of the relevant personnel files."Such a review of the files has never occurred, clearly for the obvious reason that, as the committee itself wrote, many people with very low academic productivity have been tenured in recent years.
The Committee also stressed the fact that they
"set aside the possible effects of external circumstances that may have affected ... [my] performance."I note that in judging my productivity the Committee excluded from consideration works appearing during my first year at UWA, as well as work in progress, or accepted for publication, or under review. It dismissed a publication appearing in a Science Teaching Journal as "outside of my field," and completely ignored the Spanish language translation of my book, dismissing it as a "reprint" without any specific mention. It also did not count a paper which the editor said would doubtless be accepted despite forcing me to take the extraordinary step of writing to the editors where I had work under submission seeking such advice. They also did not supply any of my published works, or work in progress to members of the Committee.
It is obvious that these hastily developed and undefended "academic" arguments are merely a cover-story to justify a decision made on other grounds.
2 Mar: The vice-chancellor sent me a letter and a copy of the Wood Committee Report for response. I must write yet another report. In my reply to the report of the Wood Committee, I supplied quantitative statistics proving my publication level, in fact, had been some 7 to 10 times greater than the Australian mean in my area of study, and that my citation record while resident at UWA had been about 20 times greater than the mean citation rate for other UWA. Archaeology staff. I explicate in detail the conditions under which I was forced to work, and the irregularities in the review process to which I was being subjected. Researching and writing this reply occupies me for some two months. During this time stress related complaints cause me to be placed on medical leave for brief periods.
20 Mar: Prof Neville Bruce, totally unaware of what was happening with my case, circulates a public letter noting that serious problems in archaeology continue unabated. He also mentioned unfavourably the delays in my tenure process and calls for my immediate tenuring. This renews interest in the problems surrounding archaeology and brings my plight to the notice of the media and other scholars in my field around the world.
22 March: One of my students withdraws from UWA to finish her PhD overseas. She cites among the the reasons harassment, denigration, victimisation, false accusations left uncorrected, and the unwillingness of UWA to respond to the problems identified in the Archaeology Review. "The failure of the University to rectify this . . . leads me to conclude that the behaviour is condoned. One has to wonder whether the malady which infects certain archaeologists on campus permeates the higher eschelons of this University."
April: Numerous scholars around the world hear about the Committee recommendation to deny tenure and write in on my behalf. These include people with very good "first hand knowledge" of me, such as the Heads of Department and my colleagues from the three other Universities at which I have been employed.
15 April: I provide my reply of some 25 single spaced pages to the vice-chancellor, proving the Wood Committee's recommendation to be incomplete, procedurally suspect, and factually incorrect. I show that objectively my performance, despite the harassment and interference to which I had been subjected, was much greater than the mean for Australian academics. I also point out that the University has not followed its own procedures and, instead, has invented an ad hoc committee which seems to be establishing retroactive rulings which, if implemented would deny me natural justice and do no service whatsoever to myself, archaeology, or the University. Attached were the 30 letters of support which had arrived. Three independent judgments of the academic standing of the authors of these letters were also provided directly to the vice-chancellor.
No response to any of the specific arguments I raised against the Wood Committee Report was given me. However an undated letter apparently written by Professor Wood in mid-April replied to certain complaints I had made.
He said in reply to my complaint that they had a duty to consider the disadvantage I had suffered:
"I agree that we were unable to adequately evaluate the degree to which Rindos was disadvantaged."He made no reply whatsoever to my claim that their inability, or unwillingness, to judge whether I was disadvantaged makes their recommendation invalid since it presumes, but does not even attempt to demonstrate, "guilt" on my part. As I had written "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."
My claim that natural justice required that I be shown all evidence held against me was answered:
"I interpret this as a threat. If it is acceptable to others, I would give him all the data."I note that the manuscript originally read "If it is common practise, I would give him all the data." The original wording at the beginning of the sentence is scratched out to read as given above, clearly because providing such data is common practice.
I asked how I could be denied tenure when both of my previous yearly evaluations have been satisfactory. He replied with the false or misleading statement:
"There are no written records of his yearly evaluations (Rindos referred to positive teaching evaluations and when asked for them said they were 'on his file'). I searched the available files and were [sic] not able to locate items. When questioned further he was vague on the [word unclear, possibly "location."]."It should be noted that the teaching evaluations referred here were later supplied to me under FOI proceedings from the files in the vice-chancellory. It should also be noted that the formal satisfactory evaluations of my performance in 1990 and 1991 were left unconsidered by the committee and not even mentioned in his reply!
I had written "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." Professor Wood replied:
"I have no argument with this. However, I would note that he has had a light teaching load."20 April: Professor Douglas Clyde wrote me saying "for the record" that neither he nor Professor Hotop had "been consulted at any stage about any matter which affects" me or my case for tenure. He later says that their sole brief had been to review a large number of letters which brought charges against Prof Bowdler and that they passed their recommendation onto the vice-chancellor for action.
It has since that time been said that the complaints against Professor Bowdler were judged to be both serious and valid, but that they could not be properly pursued by the committee because their brief had been very carefully circumscribed. The letters they received written by members of the archaeology department making complaints against me were held to be without merit and the result of a clear campaign. The letters received in support of Professor Bowdler were also said to have been judged the result of an organised campaign of support for her.
May: A copy of the confidential data provided the Wood Committee is leaked to me by an anonymous source. I find that attacks upon me have apparently been solicited by Partis to justify statements he made in his second set of recommendations.
6 May: The vice-chancellor writes to the Head of the Anatomy and Human Biology Department asking if they were willing to take me on. She makes a condition of my hiring that they must find the money for my salary in their existing budget. Annotations by Head of Department read: "What the bloody hell is going on? giving up a position or sacking someone??"
14 May: In a confidential reply, the Anatomy Department suggested I be assigned to the Centre for Human Biology. They asked that necessary funding be transferred from the Science Division to pay my costs. This is refused.
20 May: I met with the vice-chancellor who refuses to discuss substantive issues, but only presents her claim, now given to me as apparently the sole reason for her denying tenure, that archaeology is to be closed down, and that there is "no place" to assign me. She supplies me her data for this claim on 21 May so that I can respond.
I write yet another report showing that her claim is incomplete, procedurally suspect, and factually incorrect. I point out that, in fact, I had been carrying a disproportionately large percentage of the teaching load in archaeology and that my exclusion from teaching by the University was the factor which accounted for the alleged "loss" of students in that programme. I give clear evidence of my productivity and success as a teacher. I also show that at least two departments would be happy to accept me as a normal member of staff assuming that normal financial assurances would be given them.
24 May: The vice-chancellor responded to my document by writing "I advise you that I do not require any further communication from you . . . I require your immediate advice as to whether you are prepared to discuss a voluntary separation package. I will therefore refrain from providing you with a formal decision in relation to your appointment until I have received your response." This letter has disappeared from university files.
In negotiations regarding their offer for a "Voluntary Separation" it appeared that the University might be willing to produce a pay out of as much as 2.5 years salary, or perhaps even more. I have no choice but to refuse any financial settlement on the grounds that to do so could make it appear that the many false allegations made about me might have had a basis in fact. I stress that denial of tenure with such allegations hanging over me would go against natural justice and would likely make it difficult, if not impossible, for me to pursue my career. I ask them to clarify these matters.
I am told that if I do not resign and accept a financial pay-out within a few days I will be denied tenure and sacked. I am informed, in writing via the Union, that if I do accept a Voluntary Separation, then, in return, the University will arrange the terms of the settlement so they are in my best financial interests and will also ensure the reporting of the resignation in "terms appropriate to protect" my professional reputation.
I found these conditions totally repugnant in that it seemed a clear, albeit implicit, threat of blackmail was being made and that the University would attempt to destroy my good name and reputation if I did not accede to their terms. They later did just this.
26 May. Prof Neville Bruce (Convenor of Archaeology Review) writes deputy vice-chancellor Wood noting that the denial of my tenure is not only unfair but unnecessary since other places could be found for me. He notes, in some detail, the harassment and victimisation I received over the past several years pointing out that now the University itself, and not just the former Archaeology Department, are guilty.
Early June: Deputy vice-chancellor Wood "explores" other options for my placement, in particular with the Anatomy Department. He sprang the subject upon the assembled Department unannounced and claimed he required an answer within three hours. He stressed that if they agree to his conditions, I will be retained in employment at the University. Questions regarding tenure and long-term funding are left totally unanswered. It would seem this action is in contradiction to the his Committee's judgment that I did not come up to UWA's standards for tenurability.
The Department replied that the economic package offered them verbally is totally unrealistic. They properly state that they could not accept anybody under terms where they would have to find salary in the existing budget, but stress that their judgement is solely of the terms of his unacceptable offer and it is not to be read as a negative statement regarding my abilities, my accomplishments, or my potential value to their Department's programmes. Their views are later misrepresented by the University as the highly damaging claim that I was "unacceptable" to other departments.
7 June: Head of Anatomy wrote to deputy vice-chancellor Wood noting that they cannot accept me under the terms given by the university. He said "the reasons [for this decision] had nothing to do with the academic merits of the case."
9 June: Luke Forsyth, Guild President, wrote to the vice-chancellor pointing out that the planned denial of my tenure pointing out that it might disadvantage students.
10 June: The vice-chancellor denied me tenure, with the sacking effective on 13 June.
The grounds she provided me in her letter of dismissal are those of the Wood report -- the demonstrably fallacious "productivity" argument now portrayed as if "extenuating circumstances" had been taken into account, when they had been specifically excluded from consideration. She personally added two other grounds:
(2) Some sort of redundancy argument based upon the fact that archaeology is under "scrutiny" at UWA and "some reductions have already been made." I note here that the Wood Committee had claimed the University was required to separate the matter of my placement from issues regarding my tenurability, per se. The anthropology department advertised new positions even before I was sacked, and they continued to hire within my areas of expertise afterwards.
(3) "[I]n your response you make it clear that difficulties between yourself and Professor Bowdler which you strongly imply have interfered with your academic performance, remain ever present." I assume this is some sort of reference to "unable to get along" arguments which had already been rejected in the Wood Report yet which are resurrected here and were again to be made public in the vice-chancellor's various press releases. This claim is both false and irrelevant.
11 June. At a meeting with three of my students and the Chairman of the PhD committee, the vice-chancellor proved herself ignorant of my move from Geography to Archaeology in early 1992. I note I repeatedly complained about this move in documents addressed to her. I am forced to wonder if my long, detailed, reports and replies had ever been read. One of my (now former) students wrote the vice-chancellor asking her to reconsider her denial of my tenure since she was obviously uninformed about the case.
Mid June: Mr Luke Forsyth claimed to at least two other persons to have been shown a file relevant to my dismissal by the vice-chancellor. As a result he withdrew support for a University Senate inquiry in the general matter of archaeology at the university.
22 June: Prof Bowdler wrote to Larry Zimmerman, Executive Secretary of the World Archaeological Congress claiming that while she has sympathy and respect for his views on aboriginal matters "these are emphatically not ideals shared by Dr Rindos." She enclosed a paragraph taken out of context from a personal letter making the claim that I had for some reason circulated it to staff who, she notes, "were horrified" by its contents. I note here that the vice-chancellor is a geographer who has done much work in Aboriginal studies.
late June: The vice-chancellor sent a "Summary of Events Relating to the Department of Archaeology" to Professor Stanley, Head of Tertiary Education in the State. Numerous false and misleading claims about me were made, including possible imputations regarding sexual harassment. The document is missing from University files.
28 June: The University Senate met to consider my petition to retain my job. Signed petitions were sent to the Senate complaining about the lack of due process in the decision-making and noting that I had not been provided with a reasonable working environment. Letters sent to Senate in support of my tenure were never distributed.
My Union representative was excluded from the meeting despite being a member of Senate. The Postgraduate Representative and the Head of the PhD committee were also excluded despite the fact that five postgraduate students are affected by my sacking.
The vice-chancellor's decision was said to have been defended closed session. They apparently refused to allow any discussion of the context of my experiences at UWA (the general problems in Archaeology) and claimed that the Senate may only judge the procedural matters of the case. The Senate held it affirmed the procedural processes delegated to the vice-chancellor, but also said clearly that it has not "confirmed" her decision, only "noted" it. The University later falsely claimed to the Minister that Senate had confirmed the decision.
29 June: In press releases the University made misleading and counterfactual claims regarding the reasons I was denied tenure.
30 June: In an unprecedented action, the vice-chancellor wrote a 3 page memorandum to all staff concerning the denial of my tenure. She repeatedly claimed I did not come up to the "high standards" of teaching and research required by UWA. She claimed (in clear contradiction to the Committees report) that they recommended non-tenuring "notwithstanding any mitigating circumstances." She alleged, in clear contradiction to the written evidence, that the two extensions given me were "to provide further opportunities to establish his case for a tenured appointment." She also admitted that the decision made about me was not made on any quantitative basis, and agreed with a petition from staff complaining that I had to meet standards that were never told to me. Her defence to both of these issues was, solely, that "due processes" was invoked. She dismissed the many international and Australian letters of support for me by noting that such testimonials "have only marginal relevance to the current issue the University was trying to resolve." The vice-chancellor also noted that "personal relationships between staff and students . . . are of course matters of serious concern. . . . They were not, however, taken into account in determining that tenure should not be granted to Dr Rindos."
May - July: Letters of complaint were arriving at the University protesting the denial of my tenure.
July: The University in public statements makes clear its intention to denigrate my abilities and reputation by making repeated public allegations regarding my inability properly to do my job as an academic, to get along with other academic staff, or to work within the University setting. They also apparently consider me suddenly incapable of serving even as an external supervisor for my students, and appear willing to claim to go to any expense to compensate these students for my loss.
1 July: My lawyers write the Vice Chancellor demanding a retraction, noting in particular the paragraph alleging improper personal relationships mentioned in her reasons for dismissal.
7 July: The vice-chancellor replies to my lawyers noting that "the secondary issues referred to in the memorandum had received previous publicity and were well-known. The passage... sought to make it clear that such matters had not been taken into account . . .."
7 July: My attempt to involve the State Ombudsman is rejected on the grounds that I can appear before the Industrial Commission.
13 July: My lawyers wrote back to the university noting that the vice-chancellor missed the point and demanding that she make clear that I have never been involved in improper personal relationships.
20 July: University legal advice on the claims of sexual impropriety made by the vice-chancellor suggest that she denies she had ever heard any complaints. They point out that "a course of evasion could result in increased damages."
July-October: I attempted to get affiliation with other Australian institutions so that I would be able to continue supervision of my students. Not surprisingly this comes to nothing since other departments are not particularly willing "to get involved." I also attempted entry to a Centre at UWA. I hear nothing, but later evidence proves that they were instructed to not admit me and were afraid to the "political problems" which might arise for them were they to do so anyway.
10 August: After a meeting with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission the University offered again to "buy me out." I replied that before discussing financial settlements, they must at least attempt to undo some of the damage they have done to my reputation The vice-chancellor offered to send me a personal letter saying she is sorry if the problems in Archaeology interfered with my ability properly to do my job. I replied that this statement was totally inadequate, did nothing to correct the misinformation circulated about me, and that such a repetition of claims does nothing to decrease the damages done to me. We suggest alternative wording which the University finds totally unacceptable. Negotiations ended.
9 Sept: The vice-chancellor and the University are advised that legal action for defamation may soon be commenced on the grounds that the numerous errors and false statements made about me represent a reckless disregard of the truth.
27 Sept: The University lawyers replied by asking negotiations be reopened once again.
7 Oct: I proposed a face-saving settlement to the University in which they need only cooperate with other Universities in the establishment of a research institute dedicated primarily to Western Australian Archaeology. In this settlement, my name need not even be mentioned by them. In return, I will not only drop further industrial complaints and demands for apology from them, but am even willing to issue a statement praising them should they so desire. I also noted that I will settle quickly and quietly regarding the matters of civil law now raised by the case despite the fact that numerous members of the UWA community have offered help in pursing such an action.
4 Nov: After repeated requests to answer our letter to them, and many excuses emanating from their lawyers, the University finally responded by saying they are not interested in negotiating basing their decision upon a claim that they have done nothing improper. In an open letter they now add the claim that my teaching did not come up to the "high standards" of UWA despite the judgement that it was satisfactory by the Committee. They also now claimed that the vice-chancellor did not intend to imply that I had improper personal relationships with my students.
Given the over 2 month delay between their original offer to reopen negotiations, and their final response that negotiation is pointless, I am led to believe that even if they were not in fact attempting to delay by proposing negotiations, the appearance remains that such was the case.
4 Nov: I began to apply for my files under the Freedom of Information Act. I was told that the University would prefer that I place my requests informally in the first instance. They claimed that this would be quicker and easier for them. Hence, I place an informal request for my files.
26 Nov: I began action in the State Industrial Commission on the grounds of unfair dismissal.
6 Dec: The University in reply to my action in the Commission claimed I was not "really" dismissed, only that my contract was not renewed. Hence, they claimed, the Commission is powerless to act on my behalf.
17 Dec: The University provides possibly misleading and false answers to questions raised in Parliament.
27 Jan: In an unsolicited letter, acting vice-chancellor Professor Robson writes to the press claiming problems existed with the "quality" of my research. In reply, the Managing Editor notes this comment to be "potentially libellous."
17 Feb: At conference, the State Industrial Commission agreed to hear the case surrounding the denial of my tenure and whether unfair dismissal was involved. Hence, despite repeated and continuing claims by the University that I was not dismissed, the State Industrial Commission has ruled that my case for unfair dismissal was sufficiently strong to go to a hearing.
7 March: One of the outside referees in my Tenure Review wrote to UWA pointing out that he took the data supplied to him "at face value" in arriving at his recommendation. This confirmed that he believed that the incomplete, one years', data supplied to him was believed by him to represent my entire productivity while at UWA. The letter also reported on a phone conversation which had been given a very different, negative, connotation by Dr Partis in his recommendation to deny me tenure.
June: The University argues in the State Industrial Commission that the university visitor should hear my case. In the same week, the vice-chancellor was recommending that the Visitor should have judicial functions removed.
11 Aug: Second round of Parliamentary Questions asked by Mark Nevill
7, 8 Dec: Parliamentary answers from Minister. The Minister admitted that it appears he can do nothing to make the university comply for his demands for information from them.
3 Feb: UWA Senate accepts cancellation of scheduled second review of archaeology.
21 Feb: State IRC ruled that the Visitor has jurisdiction. I begin work with my barrister on my case, and my lawyers notify the Visitor that a petition will be forthcoming
18 April: I provided the FOI Commissioner with a Statutory Declaration on counselling provided me.
10 July: Formal Ruling by FOI Commissioner on my complaints against UWA. Among other findings, it is decided that no evidence of counselling or concern regarding poor performance on my part can be located in University files.
30 Oct: The Australian newspaper published an editorial on my case entitled "Rindos case is hardly academic." Noting numerous injustices it called upon UWA to re-examine my case and if injustice has occurred. "to admit it and take steps to rectify it."
4 Dec: The "missing" status of my personnel file is confirmed by the FoI Officer at UWA.
14 Dec: A speech on the "archaeology affair" at UWA is delivered in the Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia.
Jan: WA Ombudsman accepts Rindos appeal. Uni told to prepare a response.
Feb: Parliament starts going public on likely upcoming Parliamenary Inquiry into the Archaeology Affair. UWA, in response to the growing publicity, proposed its own Internal Senate Inquiry.
End March: Terms of Reference for Inquiry made public.
Early April: First meetings of Parliamenary Agencies Committee begin. Ombudsman withdraws from case because of overlap with Parliamenary Inquiry.