The abuse going on with Naropa University and, to a larger extent, Shambhala International is not well documented outside of some arcane references in the annals of Buddhist scholarship and the Beat Poetry traditions. Since Chogyam Trungpa and many of the luminaries that lent their names to Naropa, giving it undeserved credibility, have all but died off (there are a couple still alive) – there is little attention in the here and now about the ongoing abuse at Naropa University. This is the only place (that I know of) where the modern day abuses at Naropa University and Shambhala International is coming to light. I get e-mails regularly from people asking me for help or to share people’s stories. I always make sure that anonymity of those hurt by the abuse is protected unless I am given permission to publish the story and/or the name of the person who contacted me. I believe in exposing Naropa, and I believe Naropa’s fraud and abuse needs to stop, but I am committed to fighting that abuse in a civil manner.
On my twitter feed, I have a follower with someone who claims that they are the target of abuse at Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. They maintain a website where they document the steps they took to resolve the abuse and what is going on. I do believe wholeheartedly that abusive behaviour in higher education needs to be stopped. Having said that, though, there are some points in her claims where I must question the validity of her assertion. She does not include screenshots of the offending posts on Sheridan College’s message boards and there are links on the bottom of her site are truly… troubling because they lead to sites with very homophobic, hateful and derogatory material. Additionally, some of the content on the anti-Sheridan blogspot website is repeated in the website with the hate speech, leading me to believe that the sites are owned by the same person. I highly doubt that their story is accurate given the derogatory things they publish against gay people and how they blame a Canadian judge for a disgusting act by her ex spouse (who posted naked pictures of her on the Internet) and try to make her seem like a bad person because of it. It is for these reasons why I refuse to link to her site, I feel as though the site is extremely derogatory in nature.
And now we come full-circle to the work I do here at Boulder Buddhist Scam. In the recent months, I have posted content based on e-mails I receive from my readers. I recognize that because of my commitment to presenting an accurate picture of what Naropa is, my site is often a place where people who need to share their experiences can come to. I also recognize that being the only person running a site dedicated to exposing the fraud and abuse of Naropa University opens me up to over-zealous alumni trying to vigorously defend Naropa and it’s programs. I believe in letting both sides have their say and accept feedback from Naropa supporters, as well as it’s detractors (though I don’t post positive Naropa stories simply because Naropa’s admissions office does a pretty good job of spamming those stories). But I have an obligation to those who share their stories with me to be completely ethical. If I am wrong about Naropa, it is my duty to issue a retraction and I do hope that I do my best to offer a fair and reasonable assessment of what Naropa is so that people can make up their own minds. I will not compromise that position by posting hate speech, lies or incorrect information (or sharing links to those who do). I will not succumb to petty attacks or cheap shots because those things get us nowhere.
I hold this standard because this website also gets attention from people applying for admission to Naropa, people we can save from the scam, and current students and staff that have serious concerns about the way Naropa University is run. I need to make sure that they get the information that they need so that they can make their own choice. Since the days I ran The Naropa Biz and up to today, I have always treated this duty with the utmost of respect.