Wednesday, April 3, 2013

LSU spent nearly $1 million on legal fight over firing of coastal researcher Ivor van Heerden ~Mark Schleifstein~Louisiana State University spent close to $1 million to wage its battle against former research geologist Ivor van Heerden over his claims that senior university officials destroyed his career after he criticized the Army Corps of Engineers for its role in the failure of levees during Hurricane Katrina, according to new documents released Tuesday by activist group. Van Heerden, who also served as assistant director of the LSU Hurricane Center, chaired a panel of scientists and engineers sponsored by the state Department of Transportation and Development in the immediate aftermath of Katrina to conduct a forensic investigation of the failures in the levee system, including the reasons for the 35-foot slide and collapse of a levee and floodwall along the 17th Street Canal and several failures of floodwalls along the east side of the Industrial Canal founder Sandy Rosenthal said the group decided to look into the cost of the legal battle involving LSU because it was concerned about the university’s actions involving what turned out to be an accurate research effort. “It meshes with the goals of our organization, which is educating the public about why New Orleans flooded, and the behavior of higher-ups at LSU looked to us to be the opposite of what we were trying to do,” she said. “We were trying to get the truth out about the cause of the flooding, and the higher-ups at LSU seemed to be suppressing the truth.”

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