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New year, same issues: UT students protest 'Eyes of Texas' at back-to-school event

As hundreds gathered for the annual "Gone To Texas" event, around two dozen students bore signs and chanted in protest of the controversial "Eyes of Texas" alma mater. (Cops off Campus UT/Twitter)

It's the first day of classes at the University of Texas, and some students have already made it known once more that they disapprove of the "Eyes of Texas," the school's controversial alma mater.


There was plenty of liveliness at 'Gone to Texas,' the school's biggest back-to-classes event, as students and staff celebrated what was held entirely online last year. But around two dozen students went to protest the controversial alma mater, which has been accused of having a racist past, showing that contention over the song lingers into this school year.

As the Longhorn band performed a slew of songs, including the 'Eyes,' students chanted "Hey hey, ho ho, The Eyes of Texas has got to go" and bore a sign that read "Students and Workers Demand Cops off Campus."

The protest proves that last year's issues at the university are still unresolved after President Jay Hartzell ruled that the Longhorn Band would continue to play the alma mater despite allegations of racist origins. A UT investigation on the subject, which was conducted after many Longhorn athletes and band members refused to participate in the song, found that the song had "no clear racist intent" but likely debuted at a minstrel show where students were wearing blackface.

Among the protesters were members of Cops Off Campus UT, Underpaid at UT and UTexas Direct Action.

Activists told the Statesman that they attended the event because of its size and its target audience—incoming freshmen, who may not have heard of the song's storied past.

Protesters passed out a zine on the subject to incoming freshmen titled "Eyes Upon You: A Zine About the Troubled Past and Present of The University of Texas at Austin."

In the zine, Cops off Campus writes that "The University of Texas at Austin has been a place of political controversy and social turmoil from its very conception" as it addresses issues including the alma mater, COVID-19 protocols, working conditions for graduate students and sexual misconduct allegations.

Protestors were joined by dozens of incoming students by the end of the event, chanting phrases including "Cops off Campus" and "No justice, no peace."

Popular

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway