UT Votes to Keep 'Eyes of Texas' As School Song As Diversity Issues ArisePress Release
AUSTIN, TX – University leaders announced Monday the University of Texas at Austin has voted to keep “The Eyes of Texas” as it's school song, but will begin to make additional changes throughout campus to promote diversity, inclusion and equality, and to more fully support Black students on campus.
The university began by saying it will, “own, acknowledge and teach about the origins of the song" as it moves forward while partnering with the campus community and the student body to "re-imagine its future as a song that unites all Longhorns.”
Moving forward UT plans to rename the Robert L. Moore building, add a statue of Heman M. Sweatt, (UT’s first Black student), and a statue of Julius Whittier, (UT’s first Black letterman in athletics), among several other changes as the university looks to promote diversity, inclusion and equality of Black students on campus.
The following is a brief list of the changes and initiatives outlined in a letter from interim President Jay Hatzell, however the complete list of changes outlined in the letter can be found here.
- Allocate a multimillion-dollar investment from Texas Athletics’ revenue to programs — on or off campus — that work to recruit, attract, retain and support Black students.
- Expand UT’s presence and outreach in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and elsewhere to better recruit outstanding high school students from underrepresented groups.
- Adopt a university wide plan to recruit, develop and retain world-class faculty members who bring more diversity.
- Refocus and sharpen the implementation of the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, released in 2017.
- Expand the UT Austin Police Oversight Committee to include more community members and explore creative approaches to on-campus safety and wellness issues.
- Rename the Robert L. Moore Building as the Physics, Math and Astronomy Building.
- Honor Heman M. Sweatt, UT’s first Black student, in additional ways:
- Creating the Heman M. Sweatt Entrance to T.S. Painter Hall on 24th Street.
- Placing a statue of Sweatt near the entrance.
- Re-imagining, redesigning and rededicating a major space in the building as an exhibit and gathering space where we will tell the story of the U.S. Supreme Court case of Sweatt v. Painter, recognize Sweatt’s courage and leadership in changing the world through the 1950 case that he won, and place Painter Hall within the context of the university’s resistance to integration under T.S. Painter’s presidency
8.Build new spaces and monuments for deserving, heroic Longhorns:
- Honor the Precursors, the first Black undergraduates to attend UT Austin, with a new monument on the East Mall, as part of a larger space dedicated to pioneering students and faculty members.
- Erect a statue for Julius Whittier, the Longhorns’ first Black football letterman, at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
- At the suggestion of the Jamail family, rename Joe Jamail Field at the stadium in honor of Texas’ two great Heisman Trophy winners, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.
9.Educate visitors to the campus about the history and context of many of the names that will remain, such as the Littlefield Fountain, the statue of Gov. Jim Hogg, the Belo Center and the pedestals on which a series of statues stood until 2017.
10. Own, acknowledge and teach about all aspects of the origins of “The Eyes of Texas” as we continue to sing it moving forward with a redefined vision that unites our community.
“The Eyes of Texas,” in its current form, will continue to be UT’s alma mater, but the university will work to reclaim and redefine what this song stands for, first by owning and acknowledging its history in a way that is open
and transparent, and then by partnering with the campus community to re-imagine its future as a song that unites all Longhorns.
Timelines and details for the aforementioned actions will be released in the upcoming weeks as projects are started.
Information regarding initiatives and updates on project progress will be included on the university’s central diversity webpage.
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