The interim president of the College of Texas mentioned Monday he’s scheduling conferences with pupil teams after dozens of Longhorns athletes mentioned they wished the varsity to ditch “The Eyes of Texas” tune and rename a number of campus buildings.
The athletes mentioned final week they won’t help the school recruit future athletes and will not take part in alumni occasions as they usually do. They mentioned they’ll proceed with group actions main up to the autumn semester, however did not say what they’ll do as soon as faculty begins.
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“I have heard from many students, alumni, faculty and staff asking for meaningful changes to promote diversity and equity and ensure that black students at UT are fully supported. It is important, first, for me to listen closely — and then to work with the entire community to develop a plan to move the university forward,” interim president Jay Hartzell mentioned in an announcement.
The assertion didn’t tackle any of the particular points raised by the students, who issued their demands after the demise of George Floyd in Minneapolis led to huge protests in opposition to racial injustice and police brutality.
Another campuses have moved since Floyd’s demise to strip the names of historic figures related with slavery and racism, together with Clemson College, which took the title of former vice president and slavery proponent John C. Calhoun off its honors school. The transfer was supported by alumni and NFL gamers DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson.
Hartzell mentioned he’ll meet this summer season with leaders of black pupil organizations, pupil athletes and different students and neighborhood members.
“Working collectively, we’ll create a plan this summer season to tackle these points, do higher for our students and assist overcome racism,” Hartzell mentioned.
The athletes issued an unsigned, two-page assertion final week requesting the varsity rename a number of campus buildings named after faculty officers with ties to its segregationist previous. Additionally they mentioned the varsity ought to cease utilizing “The Eyes of Texas,” which has lengthy been criticized for its connection to minstrel reveals with characters in blackface within the early 1900s. It’s often sung at almost each organized campus occasion and gamers in all sports activities collect as group to sing it after each recreation.
Different demands embrace naming a part of the soccer stadium after Julius Whittier, Texas’ first black varsity soccer participant, and donating a number of the athletic division’s annual income to Black Lives Matter and different organizations that combat racial injustice.
Texas has beforehand tried to tackle points surrounding a number of the Accomplice figures and racist insurance policies in its historical past. In 2010, the varsity eliminated the title of a former Ku Klux Klan chief from a dormitory, and in 2015 it eliminated a statue of former Accomplice president Jefferson Davis. In 2017, the varsity eliminated a number of extra statutes of Accomplice figures, together with Gen. Robert E. Lee.