Activist students have been working on getting the University of Texas to dump its more than 100-year-old song, “The Eyes of Texas,” but it appears that UT donors want just the opposite.
A new report by the Texas Tribune finds that UT-Austin President Jay Hartzell was flooded with demands from donors and alumni to stand up for the song and ignore the activist requests that it be eliminated.
An unsigned letter posted on social media in July of last year said UT athletes want the school to replace the song because they feel it is “racist.” The letter said the athletes would not help the school recruit prospects or at alumni events as they typically do unless their concerns are addressed.
“The Eyes of Texas” has long been criticized for connections to blackface minstrel shows in the early 1900s. It is sung at most organized campus events, and players in all sports gather as a team to sing it after every game.
Now, the Texas Tribune has found emails from several wealthy donors who demanded that the school keep its traditional song.
“My wife and I have given an endowment in excess of $1 million to athletics. This could very easily be rescinded if things don’t drastically change around here,” wrote one donor whose name was redacted for privacy. “Has everyone become oblivious of who supports athletics?”
“The Eyes of Texas is non-negotiable,” another wrote.
The paper added that 70 percent of the donors’ emails were against the elimination of “The Eyes of Texas.”
Another attacked the leftist “critical race theory,” infesting higher education.
“It is disgraceful to see the lack of unity and our fiercest competitor Sam E[h]linger standing nearly alone,” the donor wrote. “It is symbolic of the disarray of this football program which you inherited. The critical race theory garbage that has been embraced by the football program and the university is doing massive irreparable damage.”
Despite the pressure from left-wing students, though, the school decided to keep the anthem. Jay Hartzell, the president of the university’s flagship campus in Austin, said the song would continue to be the alma mater for the Longhorns.
The pressure from students and some faculty members has continued, though. In October, for instance, the Longhorn band announced it would not play the school song. But the fans in the stands fought back after the announcement and sang the song at the team’s next game anyway.
In January, UT coach Steve Sarkisian exclaimed that his team would “proudly” sing the song regardless of the activism.
“I know this much,” Sarkisian said on Jan. 12,” ‘The Eyes of Texas’ is our school song. We’re going to sing that song, we’re going to sing that proudly. That’s our song, and we’re fired up to sing it.”
Sark: "I know this much, The Eyes of Texas is our school song. We’re going to sing that song, we’re going to sing that proudly." Says that he knows there are tough discussions that need to happen. But, "That's our song and we're fired up to sing it."
— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) January 12, 2021
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