17 March 2005

red state reality

the friends I left behind at Kent State University are depressd. under the "leadership" of a Republican governor the university faces a 5 million dollar cut. I happen to believe that those who vote for the likes of a Bush or a Taft deserve the screwing they will inevitably get. however in the process too many good folks are screwd as well.

I paid little attention to my former state's fiscal woes till Mark Bloch informd me of the disaster visiting my former university turf. Mark is a mail artist whose research into Ray Johnson is formidable. years ago I arrangd for his collection to come to Kent.

for those of you who don't know: when I took an early retirement 11 years ago I was curator of Special Collections & Archives. from modest beginnings my mentor Dean Keller built an important collection   notably strong in contemporary poetry. his partnership with legendary bookdealer Jim Lowell brought renown to Kent State. over the years the department amassd the typescript of WCW's Paterson   key Hart Crane letters   James Broughton's papers   & significant holdings of Robert Duncan & d.a. levy. later amazing collections of theater & true crime attractd scholars from around the world.

the current library administration is having a tough time dealing with its share of the university's cutbacks. my belief is that something like a special collections department at a state institution is considerd a luxury. a football team that never wins is more important to any university than a bunch of old books. so my former department is struggling to stay alive. the university won't even fill its vacant position of archivist.

let's return to Mark Bloch. he was ready to add to his mail art collection but was informd that the department cd no longer accept his gift. in fact they were more than willing to return his entire collection. all of this is part of the library's strategic planning which includes a "no growth policy" for Special Collections & Archives.

all of this saddens me. part of it is ego. I realize the university has no obligation to former employees. however as someone who workd diligently to guide an emerging collection I feel hurt that no one at the university botherd to inform me of this "no growth policy." & I worry that the collections I brought to Kent are being dismantld. & sadder still is the knowledge that I can no longer fight for my department. in fact the library has made it clear that it is no longer my department.

1 comment:

Tom Beckett said...

It is sad. But it was also sadly predictable. The Ohio legislature and Governor Taft are slowly but surely running this State into the ground through the underfunding of infrastructure. These right wing ideologues don't believe in government and only pay lip service to education. State Universities are slowly evolving into vocational schools. These are only some of the reasons why I decided not to give my papers to my alma mater