Monday, May 14, 2007

SLU President forces out nationally recognized wetlands ecologist

Update: The pdf of the Ponchatoula Times article on the demotion of Paul Keddy is at the following link
Click on the large orange "Download" button.

This story in today's Morning Advocate seems inexplicable, almost surreal. SLU President Randy Moffett is forcing Professor Paul Keddy, who, according to an SLU press release, only a few days ago received a prestigious national award for his work in wetlands ecology.
Despite national honor, ecologist being reassigned

Advocate staff writer
Published: May 13, 2007 - Page: 1b

HAMMOND — Southeastern Louisiana University wetlands ecologist Paul Keddy received one of the top prizes in wetlands sciences this past week, but says he is being forced to leave the university.

Keddy said recently that he lost his endowed professorship as of this September and the university has offered to give him a six-course teaching load for an academic year. But, “they know I can’t handle that,” he said, because of a neurological disability that he had when he was recruited to campus seven years ago.

On Wednesday, Keddy was one of six people recognized with a National Wetlands Awards by the Environmental Law Institute. The institute is joined in making the awards by several federal agencies including the National Marine Fisheries Services, National Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

I have asked contacts in the university community to see if they can dig up more detail. On the face of it, from this article, this seems a spectacularly ill-advised move on SLU's part. Keddy's accomplishments, as described in his vita, are truly impressive and his dismissal will reverberate nationally throughout the academic community to SLU's detriment, and to the detriment of every Louisiana university. Losing his expertise will greatly damage efforts at hurricane protection in Louisiana as well.

Here is another blog post from Professor Zero on the subject.

I have a pdf on the incident from the Ponchatoula Times (local newspaper near SLU), if I can figure out how to post it. It gives more details than the Advocate article. The reporter is clearly astonished at the move by SLU president Randy Moffett.

And take a look at Keddy's campus website for a sense of what he has accomplished.


Professor Zero said...

A commentator to my blog said it was because SLU and Shell have a cosy relationship ... and the Shell line on wetlands is, oil exploration does not hurt them ... and if Keddy has scientific proof that it does, well,
that would not please Shell. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

To post a PDF (if you are using the old version of blogger) upload it to a place like photobucket and then link to it, just like any other image.