By KATHRYN HOBGOOD RAY
Tulane University was one stop on the “American Whistleblower Tour: Essential Voices for Accountability” that is crisscrossing the country, stopping at universities to educate students and the public about why whistleblowers are important and need protection.
“From Katrina to the Gulf oil spill, there are many courageous whistleblowers around New Orleans who need to be heard and protected,” said Tom Devine, legal director of the New Orleans Coalition on Open Governance, one of the organizers of the tour, along with the Government Accountability Project. “Truth-tellers are the best resource for Louisianans to regain control of their future.”
The tour, which stopped in New Orleans on Tuesday (Feb. 28), brought a Gulf Coast focus to the agenda at Tulane. National and local experts explored in depth how whistleblowers have promoted transparency and accountability on issues such as Hurricane Katrina, police corruption and the BP oil spill disaster. Along with Devine, speakers were:
- Steve Beatty, managing editor of The Lens, a nonprofit media outlet focusing on the New Orleans area;
- Susan Hutson, head of the local Independent Police Monitor Office, a civilian police oversight agency;
- Scott Porter, a biologist with the nonprofit EcoRigs who gathered Deepwater Horizon disaster oil samples to determine water toxicity;
- Sandy Rosenthal, founder of Levees.org, a nonprofit advocacy organization devoted to educating America on the failures of federally built levees during Katrina.
“The Public Law Center and Tulane are proud to have played a role in bringing the tour to New Orleans,” said David Marcello, executive director of the Tulane Public Law Center and an event organizer. “Whistleblowers absolutely need the support of public interest law firms, civic organizations, governmental watchdogs and members of the press in order to achieve their greatest impact on business and government.”