October 21, 2021

Texas NAACP, students file a federal civil rights complaint on UT Austin’s Eyes of Texas. Free.

AUSTIN – The NAACP’s Texas Chapter, a civil rights organization with the University of Texas at Austin Chapter and a group of anonymous students, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights alleging that UT Austin is a ” Hostile environment for black students singing “The Eyes of Texas” at the University of Events.

The complaint, filed Friday morning, alleges that black students were denied the full benefits of Longhorn student life because the song is an official part of the university. And despite the context and the meaning. ” The song premiered at a ministerial show in the early 1900s, where students wore black faces. Despite the pushback, university officials have said they are going to keep the song as their alma mater, a report released earlier this year concluded that the song was not racist. There was no intention.

The complaint, filed by filers with the Texas Tribune, states that the university failed to respond to racial harassment against black students and others who opposed the song, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Yes, and argues for the decision to separate the university. Marching bands for students who do not want to play “The Eyes of Texas” violate the Equal Protection Act under the Fourteenth Amendment.

This past spring, UT Austin Butler School of Music announced the formation of a new band in which students would no longer need to sing when members of the Long Horn Band performed last fall due to its history and originality. I refused to play it. Long Horn Band students must sing.

UT-Austin did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the US Department of Education said it would not accept complaints unless they were accepted for investigation. The department updates its investigation list on a monthly basis.

The latest move by local NAACP chapters comes a day before the start of the football season. The Long Horn Band plays, and they’re playing where there’s a lot of controversy surrounding the song. A year ago, a group of UT football players demanded that the school stop using songs. From athletics and academics to fundraising and student organizations, many sections of the university community were touched by the debate. On Saturday, the band played and the players remained on the field for the postgame Singalong tradition without any major issues. Football coach Steve Sarkisen said in January that “The Eyes of Texas” is our school song. We are going to sing that song. We will sing it with pride.

But the complaint indicates a growing desire among some students and alumni outside the football stadium to stop using the song as UT-Austin’s alma mater, despite university insistence. Last month, a group of students protested at a ceremony over the song that welcomed new students to campus for the fall semester. Some students even walked out during graduation last spring when the song was played.

Texas NAACP President Gary Bledsoe said the groups initially worked with university leaders to end the song but failed. He decided to file a complaint because students said the campus climate around the song has become increasingly tense throughout the spring semester. Nasser Lowell, a senior at UAT Austin and president of the UAT Austin Chapter at NAACP, said black student groups also met with the organizers to discuss their concerns with the song without success.

“As a black student, we feel like our voices are not being heard,” Lal said in an interview. “The main purpose of the administration and the campus is just to please our wealthy donors so that they can continue this funding, and that they don’t really put our best interests at heart.”

He says the song is indispensable because it is sung after sports events, at graduation and every evening with UT Tower bells.

Bladeso said the students chose to remain anonymous because they feared retaliation from the university.

The complaint targets UT-Austin as well as some unknown university alumni, arguing that when alumni do not receive federal funding, “some of the university’s alumni actions may be attributed to the university because the university has a duty.” It is to provide protection to students and a non-threatening and non-discriminatory learning environment.

It also cites five anonymous students who shared different experiences where they felt evicted or abused because of their opposition to singing.

Leaders of the NAACP chapters said they felt the decision to form two bands was an extreme example of discrimination, as opposed to the 1950’s Suite vs. Suite. The painter case, in which the state created a separate law school for black students, admitted black petitioner Hayman Sweet to UT law. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled against UT Austin because there were differences in the law school for white students, which had more professors, a larger law library and better facilities for black students than the law school. ۔

Bladeso said he believes the new band will not be given the same benefits as the old Long Horn Band, which has a rich history and active alumni base.

The complaint also argues that UT-Austin created a hostile environment for campus tour guides who demanded that the university remove the songboard from the Welcome Center. The students went on strike when the university said it understood that if students did not want to continue serving as guides based on their feelings about school singing.

UT-Austin announced last month that it would remove the lyrics, but the complaint argues that the university did nothing to alleviate the financial and emotional loss of students affected by the situation.

UT Austin President Jay Hartzel said the song would continue last summer when a group of soccer players demanded its removal in the wake of George Floyd’s assassination. The president ordered a group to study the history of the song. The group’s report concluded that the song began in a racist atmosphere, but had no racist intent. He could not find a direct link to the Confederate General. Robert E. Lee was inspired by the phrase “Texas has its eyes on you”, as previously said by those who opposed the song.

Shortly afterwards, Alberto Martنیnez, a professor at UT-Austin, released his report on the history of singing, which contradicted some of the university’s findings. The complaint, filed Friday, accuses the university committee of failing to fully track the date of the song, citing Martinez’s report as evidence.

UT-Austin stands by its report.

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