"Some people stepped forward to protect people. Some did not. Those things matter," says Erdmann. There are exceptions, though "the idea that you became a senior party member by accident - it usually doesn't happen."
But some say it did happen to Hussam al-Rawi, a former ranking Baath Party member and British-educated former head of the architecture department, who now must "volunteer" to finish the year, until his status is resolved. At least one fellow professor says Mr. Rawi came to her aid in the past, against an unscrupulous Baathist who deliberately misinterpreted her work, to get her into trouble.
"They did this [de-Baathification] without considering who were good people, and who were bad people," says Janon Kadhim, an architecture professor who says that Rawi "protected" her reputation.
"This is not an American way of working," says Rawi, who lived in Britian for 16 years and was elected as a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. "A lot of skilled workers are out of jobs now," Rawi says. Mr. Bremer has "made enemies of millions of people."
During a brief interview on campus, two separate groups of concerned students, with folders and books tucked under their arms, came to Rawi to inquire, "Are you back with us?" and to wish him luck. Students and other faculty have signed a petition for an exemption for Rawi - adding to the pile of thousands awaiting Bremer's review.
Upon noticing the presence of a Western reporter, one student, unbidden and within minutes, collected five others, to vouch for their professor.
"Of course we don't accept what [the CPA] decides," says student Mohamed Jassim. "He studied abroad and we will lose him. Whoever comes after can't be as good."
"Dr. Hussam is a good professor and teacher, who helped us a lot," says another student, Haidar Faleh. "We want him to stay."
"In my case, if I were to leave the party, I would have had to flee the country, or would have been questioned," says Rawi, whose portrait hangs with those of a string of other past department heads, in the faculty room.