Silencing the Truth

From Scout:

The NYT has a good article on the pressures that have been placed on hurricane expert Ivor van Heerden to Shut Up…

To many in Louisiana this outspokenness has made Dr. van Heerden a hero. But at his university it has gotten him called on the carpet for threatening the institution’s relationship with the federal government and the research money that comes with that. Last November two vice chancellors at Lousiana State — Michael Ruffner, in charge of communications for the university, and Harold Silverman, who leads the office of research — brought him in for a meeting. As Dr. van Heerden recalled in an interview in Baton Rouge, La., the two administrators — one of whom controlled his position, which is nontenured — said that “they would prefer that I not talk to the press because it could hurt L.S.U.’s chances of getting federal funding in the future.”

The administrators told him to work through the university’s media relations department instead.

Dr. van Heerden regarded the meeting as a threat to his career. “I actually spoke to my wife about it that night,” he remembered, “and said: ‘Look, we need to recognize that I could lose my job. Are we prepared for that? Because I’m not going to stop.’ “

The vice chancellors’ directive lasted less than a week: after Dr. van Heerden channeled dozens of interview requests through the media office, the administrators dropped the new requirement.

To show van Heerden some support…buy his book: “The Storm: What Went Wrong During Hurricane Katrina — The Inside Story From One Louisiana Scientist,”

(h/t to virgotex)

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