The University of Texas President, Jay Hartzell, unveiled a plan to address the racist history of the school’s anthem, “The Eyes of Texas,” in an email to the UT-Austin community Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“As we move forward and continue to perform and sing ‘The Eyes,’ it is critical that we understand the full history of the song, share that history broadly and provide context around its meanings, origins and roles during the past 120 years,” Hartzell wrote.
“I have asked Professor Richard Reddick, a Texas Ex and Associate Dean for Equity, Community Engagement and Outreach in the College of Education, to chair a committee that will chronicle the full history of ‘The Eyes’ and recommend ways we can openly acknowledge, share and learn from it,” he wrote.
Controversy about the anthem began when Texas student-athletes published a letter on social media amid the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing. In the letter, students demand to replace “The Eyes of Texas” with something more culturally competent.
The committee will comprise alumni, staff, faculty, students and current or former athletes and Longhorn Band members. Hartzell said “historians and higher education scholars on campus” will also be sought.
The aim is for the committee to finish its review by January, Hartzell said.