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Eyes of Texas song: Tensions boil at UT, students refuse to work – Riverside, California

Riverside, California 2021-05-06 11:58:28 –

When the man entered the online zoom call with something that looked like a gun, a group of students was hosting an event with Professor UT-Austin about the song.

Austin, Texas — Dozens of students on a campus tour of the University of Texas at Austin for a longhorn candidate will work this week over a dispute over a plaque with the lyrics of “The Eyes of Texas” hanging at the Admissions Welcome Center. I’m refusing.

Editor’s Note: The video above was originally aired on March 9th.

Dust on plaque is the latest example of UT-Austin official standing by “The Eyes” over a petition The university is far from the songs of its alma mater. Because it started with a minstrel show where students are likely to be wearing blackfaces.

Relation: That’s why Texas Longhorn athletes say the “Texas Eyes” song has a racist feel.

It’s also the latest in a series of song clashes in almost a year of controversy, with managers and graduates frequently in conflict with students and members of the Longhorn community.

Just this week, a threatening incident was reported to the UT-Austin police. There, a student-led online event about “Texas Eyes” crashed with a stranger in a camera wearing a bandana on his mouth and nose. A big gun.

UT-Austin officials did not respond to requests for comment on the case and did not answer written questions.

Students say the protests against the song never go away. Kendal Walker, a senior at UT-Austin, who is part of a student strike at the admissions office, mistakenly said that after the school formed a committee to study the origin of the song last year, managers would no longer have problems. She said she thought she had assumed. UT-Austin President Jay Hartzell has repeatedly asserted that the university will continue to sing.

“I honestly think this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Walker said. “This is the beginning, and people resist the decision and consider it unacceptable to people’s committees.[ing] The song is not racist. There are students of all generations and minorities who, like us, and are more angry and do not want to enter a space where their opinions are not important. “

According to more than six students working and volunteering as tour guide members of the Texas Tour Guide, the song creates a disruptive environment on campus and is comfortable for all student employees and future students at the Welcome Center. I told my guide and Texas Tribune that I wanted to get rid of plaque so that I could spend time with.

The guide sent a letter to the university on April 19 and asked for details of plans to remove plaque by May 1. Otherwise, they said they would virtually stop touring or directly.

The tour guide said he suggested replacing the plaque with something that symbolizes another more comprehensive university tradition.

The admissions office did not promise to remove plaque and sent an email on April 29 telling students that they do not need to work as a tour guide if they have any concerns.

“Based on your feelings about college rhymes for many years, we understand that you may no longer want to serve in this role. If you don’t want to serve as a Texas Tour Guide, request Please let your boss know that you can handle it, “writes admissions director Miguel Wasielewski. Wasielewski did not respond to the request for comment.

The request to remove the plaque from the Welcome Center was made months after the attendees renamed the tour guide group. According to an email sent to students by the Admissions Office and obtained by Tribune, the Admissions Office last year aimed to make a sound similar to the “Texas Eyes”, formerly known as the “Texas Guide.” We decided to separate it from the name in July. ..

Noemi Gomez, Student Program Coordinator at the University Admissions Office, said:

The tour guide estimated that the strike included about 55 students. This is about half of the entire guide.

Student tour guides compared college behavior towards plaque To a recent announcerMembers of the Longhorn Marching Band must play “Texas Eyes”. The college said that if they objected to playing school songs, they could join another newly created band where it wasn’t needed.

Walker, Black, said he was often asked by Black’s family on tour about his campus experience.

“I [used to] Stand there and say, “I feel welcome. I feel I’ve heard.” … The way I feel has completely reversed in the last 12 months, “she said. “We take students to this university and introduce it in a way that no other student can. They enjoy the tremendous benefits of being there, but we I can’t respect anything that makes me obviously uncomfortable. It hurts so much. “

Students who spoke to the Tribune said they had an unpleasant conversation with future parents and students about the controversy over the past year, but provided guidance on how to deal with song questions during the tour. I have not received it. In some cases, students said the question was becoming aggressive.

“Getting dressed, wearing a tour guide polo, going out and talking to a family, mostly white, about things like racial justice on campus is definitely my mental health. “It’s a burden to us,” said Jeremiah Baldwin, a tour guide and sophomore at UT-Austin. “I’m always playing this game of psychic gymnastics. For example,” How do I explain this? “Or” Do I need to be open and honest? ? “

“Target case”

As another sign of growing tension, a group of students recently reported an online threat related to the song controversy.

Last week, Texas Orange Jacket hosted an online zoom conversation with Professor Alberto Martinez on his report on a song that identified a link to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. According to the student and Martinez on the call, an unrelated person with a gun joined the call when he was presenting, but was removed by the moderator.

A screenshot of Zoom Call, shared with the Tribune, shows a man wearing a black beanie and having a face covering his mouth and nose with something that looks like a big black gun.

“The fact that the conversation about changing songs prompted someone to bring a gun to Zoom Call is just ridiculous,” said Irene Amina, senior leader in the Texas Orange Jacket. “And this shows that it’s not just a small argument. It’s as violent as showing people with a gun.”

The student group reported the incident to university officials, and the professor reported it to the UT police.

“Given the delicate nature of the issue discussed on this phone, we believe this was a targeted incident,” writes Texas Orange Jacket. In a statement on the Facebook page For the event. “We clearly condemn the racism and violence raised in the conversation about this song and call on the university again to remove the” Texas Eyes “as the official school song of the university. “

“Rebuke of their pricklyness”

Walker sang “The Eyes” before student athletes turned their attention to the problem by demanding that schools abolish traditions last summer following the death of George Floyd by police. He said he knew a student who wasn’t there.That demand faced swiftly Opposition from alumni And Heavy weight donor The school demanded that the song be retained and threatened to withdraw donations if it disappeared.While University consignment report discovered in March The song “had no racist intent” and rarely eased the controversy.

Recently, petition UT-Austin leaders are widely called to remove songs, and as of Tuesday morning, nearly 180 faculty members will not attend graduation or college events unless it is confirmed that the song will not play. Is threatening. Earlier petitions requesting the removal of songs had been signed by nearly 100 faculty members.

UT-Austin’s professor of history Jorge Cañizares-Esgera said a new petition was created after Martinez published his report disagreeing with the university’s story about the history of singing. Overall, he said, the professor felt as if the administration had dealt with the problem without the proper involvement of faculty and students.

“It’s a rebuke of the administration,” said Cañizares-Esgera. “It’s a rebuke of donors, graduates, and their lack of spine in front of the powerful capital.”

Texas Black Legislative Caucus and members of the state’s NAACP branch I also blamed the song. After UT-Austin released its report in early March, black student leaders have increased scholarships, affordable dormitories, and student worker wages to improve the experience of black students on campus. I have submitted a new list requesting a raise.

Brianna McBride, senior at UT-Austin and co-director of the Black President’s Leadership Council, said UT-Austin staff, including Hartzell, have accepted their requests and continue to work with student leaders to better communicate initiatives and plans. Said. student.

At the end of the school year, Cañizares-Esgera said he was worried about how the song and ongoing controversy would affect a wider university if it continued.

“It’s not sustainable because it promotes division,” he said. “It is unsustainable as a policy because it shows the world that the university is divided.”

This story was originally published on TexasTribune.org.. The· Texas Tribune Is a non-profit, non-partisan media organization that informs and engages with the Texans on public policy, political, government, and state-wide issues.

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