Friday, July 07, 2006

Chancellor Ruffner: Apologize to van Heerden. And mean it. | News | Hurricane expert asks chancellor to apologize:
"Ivor van Heerden, the LSU hurricane guru who has come under fire from university executives for discussing levee failures with the media, said Monday night that he wants a public apology.

Van Heerden said he wants Michael Ruffner, LSU vice chancellor for communications, to apologize for criticizing him in a letter to The New York Times last month.

Ruffner had written that van Heerden has “no professional credentials or training” to discuss the engineering of levees.

Ruffner did not return three calls seeking comment Monday night. Van Heerden’s e-mail letter was released at 4:45 p.m.

In his letter, van Heerden defended his credentials and those of the multidisciplinary LSU Hurricane Center, which he heads.

“I am not a professional engineer — and I have never represented myself as such,” van Heerden writes.
“The issues presented by the levee failures following Katrina are well within my expertise. Your implications to the contrary are plainly incorrect,” van Heerden writes.

The open criticism from top administrators signals a lack of university support for the hurricane center, van Heerden said in an interview."
It's damn seldom that an administrator criticizes a faculty member for his opinions, especially his well-informed professional opinions. Ruffner and others at LSU were just afraid of Bush and the Feds because of van Heerden's criticism of the Corpse of Engineers. Van Heerden has no tenure. Expect him to be gone at the next opportunity. LSU will have chased off a good researcher, and a public-spirited scientist. Shame on Ruffner and whoever put him up to this.

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