The University of Texas said it would make a series of changes after student-athletes called for the school to address racial issues on campus. However, it will not replace its controversial alma mater song.
Texas Interim President Jay Hartzell said that while “The Eyes of Texas” will remain as the school’s spirit song, “aspects of its origin… must be fixed” and the school “can effectively reclaim and redefine what this song stands for.” Student-athletes had called for the school to drop the song, which has links to minstrel shows and was created during segregation.
Other changes include renaming multiple campus buildings, replacing statues, and starting a multi-million dollar outreach program using revenue from the athletics department to recruit, retain, and support Black students.
Student-athletes across the country have been calling on their schools to make changes on campus. That includes:
— Texas A&M athletes have called for the removal of a campus statue of a racist ex-university president.
— College athletes from the University of Mississippi have pushed for the removal of Confederate statues in Oxford, Mississippi.
— Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill said he’d quit the team if the Confederate battle emblem wasn’t removed from the state flag. Mississippi’s flag has been at the crux of racial and social justice conversations as the SEC and NCAA threatened to withhold championship events in the state unless the flag changed. The state is currently looking for new flag designs as the old design was retired last month.