AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Black lawmakers, the Texas NAACP, civil rights leaders, University of Texas students, and alumni are holding a joint news conference to denounce the University of Texas' decision to keep "The Eyes of Texas" as its official song, despite the song's racist origins and history.
The press conference, which is being held at the Speaker's Committee Room in the Texas State Capitol, is scheduled to begin at noon.
Student-athletes asked UT-Austin to drop the school song during Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, 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.
Before the start of the fall semester in August 2020, several Longhorn band members said they wouldn't perform the song. The song had been played at games using a recording as the band wasn't playing due to COVID-19.
After a loss to the University of Oklahoma in October 2020, only a few UT players remained on the field as the song played. Athletic director Chris Del Conte came out shortly after that and said there was an "expectation" players at least stand "in unison" for the song to honor the school and fans.