Advertisement
MO BIO
MO BIO

Free Speech of Scientist Tested

A judge says a Louisiana State University scientist should not have been fired for speaking out against New Orleans levee construction.

By | October 28, 2011

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A scientist fired for speaking out about faulty construction of the levees in New Orleans should have been protected under the first amendment, according to federal judge James J. Brady.

Ivor van Heerden filed a lawsuit against his employer, Louisiana State University, last year for firing him after he told the press that the levees were not properly constructed. He had worked at the university for 15 years on a contract basis as the deputy director of their hurricane center. The university said that it had the right to fire the scientist because his comments were work-related, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Van Heerden charged that the University sought to distance itself from his comments because of fear of losing federal funding from the Army Corps of Engineers, the organization which built the levees.

The judge ruled that "although it is a close question, van Heerden was not acting within his official job duties," but rather was speaking as a citizen, reported the Associated Press. The court's decision supports van Heerden's lawsuit of wrongful termination, which is ongoing.

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Comments

Avatar of: Kathy Barker

Kathy Barker

Posts: 9

October 28, 2011

Thanks, Edyta, for reporting on this. Do you have any suggestions on how other scientists can support Ivor van Heerdan? These suppressions of free speech are happening all over- a related example here in Seattle is that of Cliff Maas, a University of Washington atmospheric science researcher who was let go from his weekly radio spot on KUOW for talking about the inadequacy of Seattle Public Schools' math curriculum. Public outcry is probably one of the reasons another radio station picked up his popular show. Scientists should not be punished for being citizens.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

October 28, 2011

Thanks, Edyta, for reporting on this. Do you have any suggestions on how other scientists can support Ivor van Heerdan? These suppressions of free speech are happening all over- a related example here in Seattle is that of Cliff Maas, a University of Washington atmospheric science researcher who was let go from his weekly radio spot on KUOW for talking about the inadequacy of Seattle Public Schools' math curriculum. Public outcry is probably one of the reasons another radio station picked up his popular show. Scientists should not be punished for being citizens.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

October 28, 2011

Thanks, Edyta, for reporting on this. Do you have any suggestions on how other scientists can support Ivor van Heerdan? These suppressions of free speech are happening all over- a related example here in Seattle is that of Cliff Maas, a University of Washington atmospheric science researcher who was let go from his weekly radio spot on KUOW for talking about the inadequacy of Seattle Public Schools' math curriculum. Public outcry is probably one of the reasons another radio station picked up his popular show. Scientists should not be punished for being citizens.

Follow The Scientist

icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-youtube
Advertisement
Ingenuity
Ingenuity

Stay Connected with The Scientist

  • icon-facebook The Scientist Magazine
  • icon-facebook The Scientist Careers
  • icon-facebook Neuroscience Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Genetic Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Cell Culture Techniques
  • icon-facebook Microbiology and Immunology
  • icon-facebook Cancer Research and Technology
  • icon-facebook Stem Cell and Regenerative Science
Advertisement
Advertisement
NeuroScientistNews
NeuroScientistNews
Life Technologies