On June 12, UT student-athletes banded together with their #WeAreOne statement on Twitter. Among the list of changes included: renaming certain campus buildings, replacing statues, starting outreach programs and replacing "The Eyes of Texas."
UT Interim President Jay Hartzell released a statement Monday, announcing the changes to be implemented in light of these demands from UT student-athletes.
Hartzell said the university would make a multi-million dollar investment to programs that recruit, retain and support Black students; rename the Robert L. Moore Building as the Physics, Math and Astronomy Building; honor Heman M. Sweatt in numerous ways, including placing a statue of Sweatt near the entrance of T.S. Painter Hall; honor the Precursors, the first Black undergraduates to attend The University of Texas at Austin, by commissioning a new monument on the East Mall; erect a statue for Julius Whittier, the Longhorns’ first Black football letterman, at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium; and more. For a full list of the changes to be made, read Hartzell's full letter here.
However, one of the most controversial topics on the list – replacing "The Eyes of Texas" as UT's alma mater – remained untouched.
"'The Eyes of Texas,' in its current form, will continue to be our alma mater," Hartzell said in his letter. "Aspects of its origin, whether previously widely known or unknown, have created a rift in how the song is understood and celebrated, and that must be fixed. It is my belief that we can effectively reclaim and redefine what this song stands for by first owning and acknowledging its history in a way that is open and transparent. 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. '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, and I look forward to partnering with our campus community to do just that."
UT will also rename Joe Jamail Field – as suggested by the Jamail family – in honor of Texas’ two great Heisman Trophy winners, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.
Texas head coach Tom Herman responded to the news on Twitter Monday.
"So very proud of our players, all Texas student-athletes, our entire student population and university leadership," Herman tweeted. "They will forever be known for being responsible for tangible, positive change on our great campus. Today is a great first step."
Several Texas student-athletes also took to Twitter in light of the announcement.
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