Major donors to the University of Texas at Austin reportedly threatened to stop sending money if “The Eyes of Texas” didn’t remain the university’s alma mater.
The Texas Tribune obtained emails sent to UT Austin President Jay Hartzell between the months of June and October. Over 70% of the roughly 300 people who emailed Hartzell demanded the university continue to play “The Eyes of Texas,” while 75 threatened to rescind their donations, the outlet reported Monday.
The emails also question why quarterback Sam Ehlinger was left on the field alone to stand for the alma mater following the rival game between Texas and Oklahoma, according to The Texas Tribune.
“UT needs rich donors who love The Eyes of Texas more than they need one crop of irresponsible and uninformed students or faculty who won’t do what they are paid to do”
Emails show wealthy alumni supporting “Eyes of Texas” threatened to pull donationshttps://t.co/w6TpTFR5ga
— Kate McGee (@McGeeReports) March 1, 2021
“My wife and I have given an endowment in excess of $1 million to athletics,” an unidentified donor wrote in October, the outlet reported. “This could very easily be rescinded if things don’t drastically change around here. Has everyone become oblivious of who supports athletics??” (RELATED: The University Of Texas To Keep ‘The Eyes Of Texas’ As Alma Mater While Acknowledging Racist Origins)
“The Eyes of Texas is non-negotiable,” said another unidentified graduate, who has reportedly held season tickets since 1990, the outlet reported. “If it is not kept and fully embraced, I will not be donating any additional money to athletics or the university or attending any events.”
“The Eyes of Texas” came under fire during the summer of 2020 after the history of the school spirit song became widely known. The song is played to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” and was played at minstrel shows at the campus, according to The Texas Tribune. The title of the song is reportedly linked to Confederate Army Commander Robert E. Lee.
A survey given to band members in October showed that most students did not feel comfortable playing the alma mater, as previously reported. Meanwhile, Texas’ athletic director Chris Del Conte told fans he expects the football team to stand for “The Eyes Of Texas,” which is sung at the end of football games.