I’m surprised that this story isn’t attracting more attention. Ivor van Heerden the levee expert who studied the levee collapse in New Orleans has been let go by LSU. van Heerden was only an associate professor so he did not have tenure. According to PhysOrg.Com he is suing LSU.
His firing became a flashpoint, drawing the ire of numerous academics, activists and residents who felt that a rare voice of dissent was being punished. On Wednesday, several prominent figures – including two well-known writers, a law professor at Tulane University and Harry Shearer, a New Orleans actor and filmmaker – spoke in support of van Heerden at the news conference.
“This is the classic instance of speaking truth to power,” said John Barry, the author of “Rising Tide,” an important work on the Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River.
Shearer said that to his knowledge “no one has been demoted, no one has been fired, no one has lost their job” at the Corps of Engineers because of the levees failures. Contrasting that with van Heerden’s case, he added: “I found something very wrong with this picture.”
After Katrina hit, van Heerden was among the first scientists to allege that Army Corps’ faulty designs and engineering had led to the collapse of floodwalls and levees protecting New Orleans.
He also led a state forensic analysis, known as Team Louisiana, into the levee breaches.
I thought we were past this kind of retaliation…
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