The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, founded in 1974 by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, has thrived in the tradition of the Beat movement as a center for avant-garde and experimental writing. But recently, the University has been facing financial difficulty, and as a result of restructuring and layoffs, the future of the program is uncertain.
Students, who have largely been left out of any decision making processes, are demanding their voices be heard by the administration while trying to keep the program intact. They are demanding greater transparency and a role for student input. “Save TKS” has been using social networking sites including facebook to spread their message.
This issue is not just about Naropa. It is about student involvement in US higher education. Should students be treated simply as consumers of this product called education? Or, in the rich tradition of student activism at Naropa and other US campuses, should students be able to take charge of their education? I hope that educators and administrators learn to treat students as the stakeholders that we are in the institutes of higher education, and truly hold us to being intellectually curious when they encourage us to be so.
Maybe students might even have a role in designing programs of study and course syllabi 😉