University says “Eyes of Texas” will remain a school song despite protest by black athletes

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The University of Texas said on Monday that it was taking a series of steps to make its black students feel more comfortable on campus, but stopped setting aside “The Eyes of Texas”, a song sung during of most of the campus events that many athletes have called. to get rid of its racist origins.

Jay Hartzell, acting president of the University of Austin’s flagship campus, said the song would continue to be the alma mater of the Longhorns.

“Aspects of its origin, whether widely known or unknown before, have created a disruption in the way the song is understood and celebrated, and this needs to be corrected,” he said. “I believe we can effectively recover and redefine what this song represents by first owning and recognizing its history in an open and transparent manner. ”

“The Eyes of Texas” has long been criticized for its connection to minstrel shows with black characters in the early 1900s. Players in all sports as a team often sing it after each game.

FILE: Texas players sing “The Eyes of Texas” after an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.
(AP)

An unsigned letter posted on social media last month said that Texas athletes would not help the school recruit prospects at alumni events as they usually do, unless the school replaced the song, among other steps.

Texas defensive back Caden Sterns has said he will not sing the song, but he enjoys the conversation.

Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, who previously posted on social media that he would boycott all team activities until the issues are resolved, retweeted the University’s statement Monday with the message “We Are One ”.

Football coach Tom Herman said he supports the efforts of the athletes.

“So we’re very proud of our players, of all of the student athletes in Texas, of our entire student population, and of the university leadership,” said Herman in a tweet. “They will forever be known to be responsible for tangible and positive change on our large campus. Today is an important first step. ”

Despite the remaining song, the school has announced several changes, including renaming Joe Jamail Field to Black Heisman Trophy winners Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams. The full name of the establishment was Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium at Joe Jamail Field.

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The school will also erect a statue for Julius Whittier, the first black football factor of the Longhorns, at the Memorial Stadium, after the athletes demanded that part of the football stadium be named Whittier. Texas will also remove the name of segregationist Robert L. Moore from a building and find ways to honor Heman Sweatt, whose 1950 trial paved the way for black students to attend school.

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Many institutions have decided to remove the names of historical figures associated with slavery and racism following the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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