Ousted departments deserve space in new campus buildings

In the summer of 1985, faculty and staff members of, what was then, the Department of Sociology, were asked to leave Sadler Hall and move into portable buildings on the lot where Tucker Technology now stands.That location was supposed to be temporary.

The Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Anthropology, 22 years later, occupy the same portables, now affectionately known as “the trailers.”

Mike Katovich, program director for the sociology department, said he doesn’t expect a big move any time soon, but contends the “trailer culture” is always vibrant.

But vibrancy aside, building facilities for these departments shouldn’t be last on the university’s list of things to do.

Oh, there were a few changes during the 22 year span.

In 1999, mobile trailers transported the temporary buildings to their new lot behind Beasley Hall, and a few years later, the “trailer compound” also became home to the economics department.

Those who work and study in the trailers may speak of being content with their special culture, but that’s just putting a good face on a bad situation.

Because of the limited facilities, students with majors in these departments must take classes all over a campus where the construction crane seems to be the official bird.

The absence of dignified facilities seems at odds with what TCU seems eager to achieve everywhere else on campus.

Katovich, who has been teaching at TCU since 1983, thinks the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Anthropology will eventually occupy a building of its own, but he’s not holding his breath.

In the 1990s, the department heard several rumors of possibly relocating, such as during the renovation of the Tom Brown-Pete Wright Residential Community and construction of the Brite Divinity School.

The rumors of a potential move hasn’t changed, only the location – to the new Student Union.

But as Katovich said, “When there isn’t an explicit commitment, rumors tend to be created.”

The students and faculty in these departments deserve a home base, too – a place built with special TCU brick that can’t be moved.

Ashleigh Whaley is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Austin.