Last week it was reported that the American Society of Civil Engineers is being accused of a cover up. The claim states that the ASCE is covering up errors and brushing aside stricter building standards in order to protect engineers and governmental agencies from lawsuits. These accusations stem from the recent disasters like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina and come from engineering experts on a team that was funded by the National Science Foundation. At the time of the article, ASCE had no comment.
After 9/11, ASCE reported that they were happy with how long the structures that made up the World Trade Center held up, as they are not typically designed to withstand the impact of airplanes. Forensic expert Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl believes otherwise, claiming the ASCE investigation into this disaster was misleading and noted it as “moral corruption.”
Regarding Hurricane Katrina, Raymond Seed, a levee expert at Cal-Berkeley accuses that ASCE and the Corps of Engineers worked together to “promulgate” (now that’s a fancy word) misguided reports and doctor information to divert any independent investigations from occurring.
With the influence that ASCE has in the civil engineering community, its strong commitment to excellence and its great history and heritage, I find it strikingly hard to believe that they would intentionally be involved in a cover up. Though I guess these days anything is possible. I believe it is good to have checks and balances and to have groups like the NSF conducting research and investigations into this matter…but are we really seeing corruption now from national associations?