Stop playing ‘The Eyes of Texas’ from belltower

Alexandra Purchatzke

Despite considerable student backlash, the University recently announced “The Eyes of Texas” would remain UT’s school song. However, claiming the song had no racist intent does nothing to erase the pain many students feel when they hear it play from the tower every night.

If UT refuses to remove the song as the alma mater, then the least it can do is reduce the song’s presence on campus. In order to respect the Black student body on campus, UT should stop playing “The Eyes of Texas” from the tower. 

According to University spokesperson J.B. Bird, while the University is committed to keeping “The Eyes of Texas,” there is nothing forcing the University to play the song from the Tower.

“The University is committed to keeping ‘The Eyes of Texas’ as our school song, (but) there's no rule that dictates how often a school song needs to be played,” Bird said. 

Given that the report found that “The Eyes of Texas” was “most probably debuted in blackface (and) is a painful reality of the song's origin,” we must take steps to reduce reminders of this song on campus, including not playing it from the tower. The UT Guild of Carillonneurs, who determine what is played from the Tower, did not respond to comment before the publication of this story.

Radio-television-film freshman Xavier Ingram is uncomfortable at the thought of hearing the song played every night. 

“I don't think it's necessary to play it from the tower,” Ingram said. “I have not been on campus, but I can imagine being on campus as a Black student, and all of the sudden the song plays and it's like, ‘Oh yeah, this school is racist,’ ‘Oh right, they dont want me here,’ ‘Oh right, slavery.’”

Ingram is not the only one who believes the playing of the song needs to end. Government sophomore Kevin Roberts said that playing “The Eyes of Texas” is disrespectful to the many students who advocated for it to be removed as the school song.

“‘The Eyes of Texas’ is a tremendously hurtful song. The history and the heritage is not reflective of the current culture of the campus,” Roberts said. “Playing it goes to show that the current administration of the campus doesn’t care for the will of the students, because there is a sizable amount of students who would want the song to be removed. The fact that they are playing it every night is a huge slap in the face to those students.”

Given that UT is committed to keeping the song, they can still take steps to diminish reminders of its painful past on campus. According to friends I have spoken to at other major universities in Texas, including Baylor, Texas Tech and A&M, their school does not play their school song everyday like UT does.

While the University may want to please donors and keep “The Eyes of Texas” as the school song, small steps can be taken to reduce the prevalence of the song on campus and reflect the convictions of UT students. 

Purchatzke is a biochemistry freshman from Boerne, Texas.