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College students at UT-Austin sue to get faculty to cease taking part in ‘The Eyes of Texas’ track

A gaggle of College of Texas at Austin college students are suing the varsity for making a ‘hostile atmosphere’ by forcing members of its marching band to play in a separate group as a result of they refuse to play the varsity’s spirit track, ‘The Eyes of Texas’, at soccer video games.  

‘The Eyes of Texas’ was first sung in 1903 at a student-organized minstrel present, a well-liked type of leisure within the early twentieth century that featured white performers in blackface, in downtown Austin.

It’s been a supply of campus-wide debate for greater than a 12 months after a summer time of Black Lives Matter protests amid the killing of George Floyd – however the college stood by the track in a current report affirming that it had ‘no racist intent’ and that it  ‘stays our alma mater.’

The lawsuit, filed Friday with the Division of Schooling’s Workplace of Civil Rights on behalf of an nameless group of scholars and the Texas chapter of the NAACP, claims the college failed to reply to the harassment of black college students who opposed the track. 

At video games final fall, members of the marching band refused to play it and a few gamers refused to sing it.

The lawsuit additionally alleges that the varsity is violating the equal safety rights of scholars after it created a separate marching band for college kids who refused to play the track final fall, based on the Texas Tribune.

College students within the Longhorn band are required to play the track. 

‘The Eyes of Texas’ is historically performed at Longhorns soccer video games, however a number of pupil athletes and marching band members protested the track at video games final fall

The track was first performed at a minstrel present in 1903. Above, the Longhorns mascot leads the crew onto the sphere in September 2008 in Austin, Texas


A committee led by training professor Richard Reddick discovered that the track had ‘no racist intent’ regardless of the place it was first sung

Alberto Martinez, a historical past professor on the faculty, launched his personal report disputing the college committee’s findings

The go well with alleges violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits race discrimination in any ‘program or exercise’ at publicly funded faculties act and of the Fourteenth Modification, which incorporates the Equal Safety Clause.

‘As black college students, we form of really feel as if it’s not like our voices are heard,’ Al-Nasser Lawal, a senior at UT-Austin and the president of the varsity NAACP advised the Texas Tribune. 

Some rich donors threatened to cease giving cash if the varsity didn’t stand by the track. 

‘My spouse and I’ve given an endowment in extra of $1 million to athletics,’ learn considered one of a number of emails from unidentified donors to UT-Austin President Jay Hartzell that have been beforehand revealed by The Texas Tribune. ‘This might very simply be rescinded if issues don’t drastically change round right here.’ 

Lawal, the coed main the lawsuit, stated: ‘The principle goal of the administration and the campus is simply to appease their rich donors in order that they will proceed to get that funding, and that they don’t actually have our greatest pursuits at coronary heart.’ 

President Hartzell introduced a committee to look into the track’s origins final October.

The committee was headed by Richard Reddick, a black training professor and the affiliate dean for fairness, group engagement and outreach. 

In a report launched in March, the committee discovered that the track debuted at a minstrel present however was written with no ‘racist intent,’ as an alternative being meant ‘to parody the well-known phrases of the college president,’ William L. Prather.

The go well with is being filed by the campus and state NAACP and nameless college students. Above, Texas NAACP President Gary Bledsoe at a rally within the state Capitol in June

It additionally discovered no proof that the title of the track traces again to a quote attributed to Accomplice Gen. Robert E. Lee. 

‘The historical past of “The Eyes of Texas” mirrors the historical past of the USA, Texas, The College of Texas at Austin in addition to its band and sports activities groups. This complexity creates a possibility for continued studying, sharing and understanding,’ states a abstract of the report’s findings.

Historical past professor Albert Martinez launched his personal report later that very same month, saying that then-President Prather was certainly impressed by Robert E. Lee when he stated, ‘the eyes of Texas are upon you,’ as a result of Prather’s son had stated as a lot in 1936. 

In January, soccer coach Steve Sarkisian stated, ‘”The Eyes of Texas” is our college track. We’re going to sing that track. We’re going to sing that proudly.’

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