By JORDAN BLUM
Advocate Capitol News Bureau
April 8, 2010
A national college faculty organization is starting an investigation into LSU’s termination last year of Ivor van Heerden, one of the leading critics of federal engineers before and after Hurricane Katrina.
The American Association of University Professors wrote LSU Chancellor Michael Martin this week announcing the group is forming an investigatory committee to look into last year’s termination of van Heerden, the former deputy director of the LSU Hurricane Center,
In February, van Heerden, a coastal scientist, sued LSU, alleging he was unfairly fired because he blamed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for most of the flooding of New Orleans that occurred in the wake of Katrina in 2005. The letter to LSU by AAUP Associate Secretary B. Robert Kreiser concludes, “This matter raises significant issues of academic freedom, tenure and due process.”
AAUP is a nearly 50,000-member organization of faculty and other academics focused on ensuring academic freedom.
Van Heerden led the “Team Louisiana” levee inspection after Katrina. He also wrote “The Storm,” in which he alleged the corps made “serious engineering mistakes that caused multiple breaches in the system of levees that were supposed to protect New Orleans against hurricane-related flooding,” his suit says.
In February, Martin issued a statement arguing, “Although the decision not to renew Ivor van Heerden’s contract was made before I came to LSU, I have carefully reviewed the process that led to that decision and am confident that the process was handled appropriately.”
LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said Wednesday that LSU officials will have no further comment while the litigation is pending.
While van Heerden claimed he was fired because LSU officials sought to silence him, he also has said his firing might have been related to litigation against the corps over flooding caused by the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet.
Political Action Committee – National Apartment Association (NAA) files Amicus Brief in mold case (two infant deaths in mold filled apt – Wasatch Prop Mgmt) citing US Chamber/ACOEM ‘litigation defense report’ to disclaim health effects of indoor mold & limit financial risk for industry
“Changes in construction methods have caused US buildings to become perfect petri dishes for mold and bacteria to flourish when water is added. Instead of warning the public and teaching physicians that the buildings were causing illness; in 2003 the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, a think-tank, and a workers comp physician trade organization mass marketed an unscientific nonsequitor to the courts to disclaim the adverse health effects to stave off liability for financial stakeholders of moldy buildings. Although publicly exposed many times over the years, the deceit lingers in US courts to this very day.” Sharon Noonan Kramer
Information on Riverstone Residential, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, and the owners of Toxic Mold Infested Jefferson Lakes Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana continuing to allow tenants to be exposed to extreme amounts of mold toxins
Irrefutable evidence indicates that Riverstone Residential, Guarantee Service Team of Professionals, & plaintiffs’ attorney, J Arthur Smith III, must have agreed to exclude evidence that would have shown the owners of Jefferson Lakes Apartments & Riverstone Residential had knowledge of the severe MOLD INFESTATION at the complex before we moved in