LSU, Southeastern Louisiana University and Northwestern State University have been censured by a national organization of professors in a unanimous vote declaring that academic freedom is in peril. The American Association of University Professors took that action Saturday during its annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
The organization said LSU, which is in Baton Rouge, violated the academic freedom of two professors: coastal researcher Ivor van Heerden, who has claimed he was fired out of fear that his outspokenness would hurt LSU's chances of landing federal contracts and grants; and Dominique Homberger, a tenured biology professor who had been rebuked for grading too hard.
At SLU, which is in Hammond, and NSU, which is in Natchitoches, the organization said officials disregarded their own guidelines by eliminating about 30 positions and dismissing about 20 tenured professors.
LSU Chancellor Michael Martin declined to be specific because, he said, van Heerden's case is the subject of continuing federal litigation and because Homberger's case has been settled. Discussing it would violate employee confidentiality, he said.