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Faculty Protests Ban on Door Signs

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

August 06, 1999

ORANGE COUNTY — On a campus already strained by tensions, professors at Irvine Valley College are in an uproar over a new policy that they say threatens the time-honored practice of decorating office doors and windows with the cartoons, clippings and fliers that reflect their humor and passions.

Faculty representatives are threatening legal action over a memo teachers received last week telling them to remove any posters or signs on their office windows or external doors.

The college president, Raghu P. Mathur, said he is seeking only to protect the school from unsightly clutter and denies the policy was meant to silence his critics.

"We have opportunities available for people to post things, and we are trying to expand those opportunities by providing specific spaces for . . . expression of different ideas and so forth," Mathur said.

But professors allege that the policy is a ploy to stifle their ongoing criticism of the school's leadership.

"This is such an absurd attack on the academic environment," said political science professor Traci Fahimi.

Signs on professors' doors and windows range from cartoons, newspaper clippings and announcements about grades and scholarships to sharp blows at Mathur. In one window, which faces the campus and can be seen from a distance, large signs proclaim "Mathur Must Go" and "Raghu Must Resign."

Mathur has been the target of faculty dissent since he took the school's helm in 1997, chosen on a 4-3 vote by the South Orange County Community College District's board of directors.

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