UT-Austin releases report on history of ‘The Eyes of Texas’

The University of Texas at Austin’s Class of 2023 attends the university’s annual Gone to Texas on Aug. 27, 2019.                    Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Daily Texan
The University of Texas at Austin’s Class of 2023 attends the university’s annual Gone to Texas on Aug. 27, 2019. Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Daily Texan

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The University of Texas at Austin on Tuesday released the findings of a report — months in the making — exploring the history of its alma mater song, "The Eyes of Texas." Read the report here.

In recent months, the song has divided the university community. Over the summer, students protested and petitioned the university to rid the campus of the song, which has ties to minstrel shows. Officials said the song would stay, but announced a 24-member committee that would look into the song's history.

Last week, The Texas Tribune reported that hundreds of alumni and donors wrote UT-Austin President Jay Hartzell over the summer and fall demanding he keep the song. At least 75 donors threatened to pull their donations, and a handful of alumni used racist language toward students who were protesting the song.

The Tribune also reported that two football players said athletic officials told them they had to stay on the field for the song after football games, because donors and fans were upset about their protests.

In July, UT-Austin announced new initiatives and renaming of buildings after student athletes publicly said they would stop showing up at donor events unless the university leaders took action toward racial equality.

This story is developing as reporters review the report. Check back for more details.

Disclosure: University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter 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. Find a complete list of them here.