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UT System Board of Regents chairman issues statement in support of 'The Eyes of Texas' school song

This summer, some student-athletes requested the song be replaced because of its racial undertones.

AUSTIN, Texas — The chairman of the University of Texas System Board of Regents issued a statement Thursday, reiterating the board's support for keeping "The Eyes of Texas" as the official school song.

This summer, some student-athletes requested the song be replaced because of its racial undertones.

RELATED: Here's why Texas Longhorn athletes say the 'Eyes of Texas' song has racist undertones

"The Eyes of Texas has been UT Austin’s official school song for almost 120 years. It has been performed at most official events – celebratory or solemn – and sung by proud alumni and students for generations as a common bond of the UT family. It is a longstanding symbol of The University’s academic and athletic achievements in its pursuit of excellence," Kevin P. Eltife wrote.

The statement comes a day after UT President Jay Hartzell said "The Eyes of Texas" will be played without the live band at the University of Texas vs. Baylor University football game scheduled for Saturday.

"We knew this summer that, as we make our campus a more welcoming place, we would face many hard conversations. I remain truly optimistic that we will find ways to join together around our song, which has been so positive for so many Longhorns over the past 120 years," Hartzell said Wednesday.

According to a message to band members obtained by the University of Texas student publication "The Daily Texan" on Wednesday, the Longhorn Band would not attend the football game against Baylor because an internal survey found there was a lack of "necessary instrumentation" after asking them whether they would play "The Eyes of Texas."

“Based on (survey responses), we do not have the necessary instrumentation, so we will not participate in Saturday’s game,” Longhorn Band Director Scott Hanna said in the message, according to the report

Hartzell said Wednesday the song will continue to be played at future games and events. In his statement Thursday, Eltife agreed.

"To be clear, the UT System Board of Regents stands unequivocally and unanimously in support of President Hartzell’s announcement that The Eyes of Texas is, and will remain, the official school song," Eltife wrote.

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