In 1967, while an assistant professor at UCLA, Kurt was notified that his contract was not going to be renewed. Had it been renewed, he would have become a full, tenured professor. He was loved by his students, and as the article from the L.A. Times notes, "This rapport with students swelled one of his classes, a survey of 20th Century Art, from 75 students in the fall of 1965 when he started at UCLA to 450 students when he taught it last fall." He was wildly popular with students, but not with his Art Department chair. In comments, Kurt is quoted about two main areas of disagreement, "The first was the subject matter and the content of my courses...such as playing rock-and-roll and maybe even my choice of slides." He went on, "The other major area of concern was the methodology, the syllabus, specifically the unorthodox classes and bringing in outside speakers and for following methods other than the strict, didactic approach that usually makes art history so deadly dull."
Among the guests he invited to speak to his classes was Rock and Roller Lew Reed, just at the beginning of his career. Phil Spector dropped in, and Andy Warhol. And then there was the "book burning" art-piece on campus, and the art-event when Kurt led his students in throwing an old black and white television off the Santa Monica Pier. This is what Kurt meant by "unorthodox." UCLA just was not ready for Kurt, who in student letters to the Daily Bruin was deemed "a genius." And of course, he was.
He lost his appeal, despite the uproar of his devoted students.