AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas at Austin has created a new committee to chronicle the history behind school spirit song “The Eyes of Texas,” UT President Jay Hartzell announced Tuesday.
It will consist of university alumni, staff and students who will share the history and contextualize “The Eyes,” which members of the UT community have criticized for its racist history.
Earlier this year, a group of UT student-athletes called for the school to ax the anthem. Ultimately, in July, UT decided to keep the song, but to make moves to address inequalities and support Black students.
“Our important work to ensure that every person on our campus – regardless of background – knows and feels they are welcome at UT will not be completed in a few months,” Hartzell said. “It will take years – and will take all of us participating.”
Hartzell chose Richard Reddick, an associate dean for Equity, Community Engagement and Outreach at UT, to chair the committee, according to the press release.
The name of the song is a phrase adapted from former Confederate general Robert E. Lee by former UT president William Prather. The Texas Cowboys, a student spirit group at UT, used the song along with blackface for minstrel shows until 1964.