The halls are silent. The equipment collects dust. Students shuffle to and from class ignoring each other. Am I in the right building?
Three years ago I entered the Dan Rather Communications Building as an eager freshman yearning to learn and get involved. Fresh out of high school, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but I do know it had to involve a video camera and an editor. So I set forth, working with the newscasts, helping start the only college Spanish newscast in the state of Texas, and ultimately producing a sports show that won regional and national awards which spawned also regional and national scholarships.
There was one thing about life in the Radio/Television department that was unique from any other department on campusthe social aspect. Walk into the business building, Evans, Farrington, or any of the academic buildings, and there’s one thing that is a common sight, students sitting around reading newspapers and lacking social interaction. However, if you took a stroll through the first floor of the Dan Rather Communications Building, voices and screaming would greet you the moment you walked through the door. Dr. Fullerton would often poke his head around the corner and tell us to quiet down, but five minutes later we had the VU meter peaking into the red again. We had a lively department filled with characters that would make any conversation interesting. Our social interaction extended outside of school as well. We were a close knit group that partied, went on road trips, and just hung out…..together. It wasn’t just five or ten of us, but a good chunk of the RTV department.
Our professors were knowledgeable and social-able as well. They showed up to a few of our parties. They would joke with us in the halls. Most importantly, they were there to teach us and that’s what they did. The quality of productions that aired on Channel 7 was unmatched in all of its history. The newscast was a top three finalist for a national competition. The radio station was doing live remotes almost weekly. The students were learning.
Fast forward to today. After two years of downfall with professors leaving and new replacements coming in, where are we at now? The new look of the mono-colored tile floor and bare walls reflect the attitude of the department, cold and dead. Silence echoes through the floor with a deafening result. Students no longer socially interact as they are eager to leave the black hole of the DRCB as soon as class is over. The equipment and studio sit hardly used. Channel 7 runs the same programming it ran three years ago. New programming looks like high school productions. 90.5 The Kat is mostly automated. The professors are a common subject of constant complaining as students express frustration to no avail. Previous professors have moved thousands of miles away because of the changes. To those in the outside world that have power, all is fine. To those that don’t have power, they know things are wrong but are powerless to fix.
Two years ago myself and many others would of told any prospective student that we were the best program not only in the state of Texas, but the entire southwest region. Today, we turn them away with despair and point them in the direction of Stephen F. Austin & University of North Texas. While they aren’t as good as we once were, they are better than we are now.
This letter should not be taken as a call to action or as further complaints, but as a tombstone to the Radio/Television department.
What was is now lost. Unfortunately, all good things do come to an end.
It really is a shame.