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Music Instructor


On July 13, 1976, Salli Terri (1922-1996) was selected from a pool of over 100 applicants as a new music instructor responsible for teaching Music Theory, College Choir, and five voice classes. Five months later, in December of 1976, after receiving three positive evaluations in which she was given the highest placement (Channel A) in recognition of her teaching abilities, Terri was fired. Her dismissal caused a firestorm on campus and in the media as the case dragged on until 1979, with Fullerton College receiving much negative press. A Grammy-award winner, Terri had taught for twenty years, done cartoon voices for Walt Disney, and worked with Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Burl Ives, Aaron Copland, and the Roger Wagner Chorale. At the time, faculty members were not covered by collective bargaining, using the Faculty Senate instead to settle disputes. Because established personnel guidelines were not followed, the Terri case created a very divisive atmosphere on campus and was a contributing factor when faculty members voted to unionize. In September 1978, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law landmark legislation that allowed faculty members in California colleges and universities to select a union to represent them. In November 1978, Fullerton College’s 540 full-time faculty members voted to unionize. (courtesy of Fullerton College Library Archives)