Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Philly News For Your Information


University of Texas Longhorn band won’t play “The Eyes of Texas” this weekend after some members say they’re unwilling

By PhillyNews.FYI , in News , at October 21, 2020 Tags: , , ,


The Longhorn Band will not play “The Eyes of Texas” at this Saturday’s football game between the University of Texas at Austin and Baylor University after a survey of members revealed several students are unwilling to play the traditional alma mater song, according to The Daily Texan.

The survey was sent to band members asking if they would be willing to play “The Eyes of Texas,” a song that has divided the university community in recent months over its ties to minstrel shows where performers wore blackface. The Daily Texan reported that a message sent to band members by leader Scott Hanna said the survey results wouldn’t affect whether the band performs at future games. The band has yet to play at a football game this season, due to safety restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ADVERTISEMENT

Band members are “evenly divided” over playing the song, the student newspaper reported, but responses from certain instrument sections would prevent the band from playing this week. The message from Hanna said many band members wanted to have further discussions about the song, which he said he would facilitate.

A spokesperson said in a statement that the university will continue to work with band members to maintain the musical traditions of UT-Austin, including “The Eyes of Texas,” but given the long-standing traditions and the mission of the spirit band, this disagreement needs to be resolved before the band resumes public performance.

The song was played via recording at the first two home games of the season against the University of Texas-El Paso and Texas Christian University. Doug Dempster, dean of UT-Austin’s college of fine arts, said in a letter in September that the band would be expected to play the song when they returned in-person.

The song gained attention again after quarterback Sam Ehlinger was photographed standing alone and singing the song after the UT-Austin game against Oklahoma on Oct. 12. Many players had already left the field. Ehlinger later said it was a misunderstanding, and he was on the field to talk to coaches. But he said he sang the song because it makes him feel a connection to his family and late father, whom he watched UT-Austin games with growing up.

Student athletes asked UT-Austin to drop the school song during this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, among other demands, threatening to forgo participation in recruiting and donor events. The university responded with plans to boost Black student enrollment and recruitment, but it kept the song and pledged to educate visitors and students on its history and context.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Together, we have the power to define what the Eyes of Texas expect of us, what they demand of us, and what standard they hold us to now,” UT President Jay Hartzell said in the statement in July. “‘The Eyes of Texas’ should not only unite us, but hold all of us accountable to our institution’s core values. But we first must own the history. Only then can we reimagine its future.”

Removing “The Eyes of Texas” song was not the student’s only demand this past summer. Student-athletes and other groups also insisted UT remove a statue of James Hogg, a prominent segregationist, rename some campus buildings named after Texans who held racist views, and donate 0.5% of the athletic department’s earnings to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The university said it would add plaques to statues to educate visitors about the Littlefield Fountain, the statue of Hogg, and pedestals on which multiple statues stood until 2017. They also pledged to erect statues honoring Black figures in UT-Austin’s history and rename two campus structures, though it’s unclear which ones would be renamed.

ADVERTISEMENT

Disclosure: Baylor University, Texas Christian University and University of Texas at Austin have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism.

Enjoy good journalism?

… then let us make a small request. The COVID crisis has slashed advertising rates, and we need your help. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we’ve expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Value Raw Story?

… then let us make a small request. The COVID crisis has cut advertising rates in half, and we need your help. Like you, we believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we’ve expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Comments


Leave a Reply