". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ivor van Heerden, who pointed fingers in Hurricane Katrina levee failures, failures, fired by LSU

This is the silencing of the voice that has spent a life studying this region in this context, and knows what is going on with the Gulf Coast in general, and coast below New Orleans in particular. This is the silencing of that voice by an institution of higher learning, not because he is wrong, but because he is right. Who does Louisiana State University think it serves by silencing this hurricane and flood expert, recognized by the entire world of specialists in the area of study for his important work that has proved right in every respect?

"Ivor van Heerden, who pointed fingers in Hurricane Katrina levee failures,f ired by LSU"
by Mark Schleifstein (full story at this link):
The Times-Picayune
Thursday April 09, 2009, 10:06 PM

Pull --

"Ivor van Heerden, the outspoken coastal scientist who led the state'sindependent Team Louisiana investigation into Hurricane Katrina leveefailures, has been notified by Louisiana State University that he will be terminated as a research professor in May 2010.

Van Heerden, who is not a tenured professor, also has been stripped of his title as deputy director of the LSU Hurricane Center. Also, engineering professor Marc Levitan has stepped down as the center's director.

University officials say they will reshape the center's research direction in the wake of the moves.Van Heerden will remain director of the LSU Center for the Study of PublicHealth Impacts of Hurricanes, financed by a $3.65 million Louisiana Board of Regents Health Excellence Fund, until his LSU contract ends next year.

LSU officials have refused to address the van Heerden decision, citing the school's policy of not commenting about personnel matters.

"Legally, we're not allowed to comment on any kind of personnel action, "said spokeswoman Kristine Calongne. "We're bound by confidentiality of ouremployees."

Van Heerden said the university would not give him a reason, either. DavidConstant, interim dean of LSU's College of Engineering, told him thedecision "wasn't due to my performance. But he couldn't tell me why, " van Heerden said."


K. said...

Academic cowardice of the worst kind: A supposed garrison of intellectual freedom fires someone for speaking an inconvenient truth. The reasoning -- that van Heerden was unqualified to be the voice of the project that the state of Louisiana asked him to head -- is so lame that a thousand crutches couldn't prop it up. Ugh.

New Orleans Ladder said...

Hey Mz Foxessa,
here's another one:

Editilla~New Orleans Ladder

Foxessa said...

K -- How much you think Jindal's rightwingnutzcreationistxtian posse is behind all this?

Since a lot of the work he does is via federally funded grant money, I hope they sue LSU's ass.

And LSU has been very, very good to us. But that's the history dept. and music dept. Not the administration.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

Thanks for that link!

It confirms quite what I thought, including the downsizing part and the Jincal part!

I'll pass this on too.

Love, C.

New Orleans Ladder said...

Hey Foxessa,
I am thinking this will lead more to a competition between Hurricane/Surge Modeling Systems and less to the Exorcists Wing of the Child-Governor.
Firing van Heerden is not a strictly local problem, but national in the scope of its threat to technological accuracy.
I think we may see a push towards a system from Virginia Tech, which has the backing of one Gerald Galloway.
I'm just dropping these names now so you can look for them in the future. We will have more linkage on this at the Ladder --though we have some on this issue's post.
Here is one of the links, to the Water Industry. We have to follow the money, not the ideology. It is all about the money, very big money.
This was last years Water Resources Conference. Gerald Galloway is on the board. These are the folks behind the Water Business. Check'em out, and we can move forward.
Here is Galloway's bio:
Keep your Foxy Eye on this predator.

Also, I am hearing strong rumor there will be major protest, in support of Dr. van Heerden, in Nola this coming week and to stay tuned to

Thanks youz,
Editilla~New Orleans Ladder

Foxessa said...

Editilla -- Thank you so much for all this information.

I'll also pass it on to others, including Vaquero, so he can pass it on further via da List.

I hope a protest does take place!

Love, C.