In a strongly worded letter, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has alerted Michael Martin, Chancellor of Louisiana State University (LSU) that, in its opinion, the firing of Professor Ivor van Heerden "raises significant issues of academic freedom, tenure and due process."
Two months ago, van Heerden, the former deputy director of the Louisiana State University (LSU) Hurricane Center filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in state court against the flagship university.
Van Heerden alleged that LSU officials waged a campaign of retaliatory harassment for his criticism of the federal Army Corps of Engineers. Louisiana State University receives large federal grants from the Corps.
John Barry, Oliver Houck, Dr. Mtangulizi Sanyika, Bill Schulz and Harry Shearer listen to the organizers of Ivor van Heerden's press conference. Photo by Sandy Rosenthal
Apparently Chancellor Martin had ignored previously written letters to his office setting forth AAUP's concerns regarding actions taken by LSU administration to terminate the services of Dr. van Heerden.
The most recent letter dated April 5, 2010 puts LSU on alert that the AAUP shall "establish an ad hoc committee composed of persons who have had no previous involvement with the particular matter, to conduct its own full inquiry without prejudgement of any kind." (Hat tip to the Editilla at the New Orleans Ladder for posting this information first.)
When the professor announced his intention to sue LSU, he was flanked by big name supporters including John Barry (author Rising Tide), Harry Shearer (actor, filmmaker), Oliver Houck (Tulane University law professor), Mtangulizi Sanyika (African American Leadership Project), and Jed Horne (author Breach of Faith).
At the time, few media reports mentioned this significant show of support. This ad hoc investigation now shows, yet again, that Ivor van Heerden is far from alone on this journey to find out the truth about Ivor van Heerden's firing.