In light of the recent nationwide calls for change following the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd and a surge in support for the Black Lives Matter movement, student-athletes across sports at the University of Texas are demanding that the school cut ties with symbols of its racist history.
In a letter released Friday, student-athletes said they would not participate in recruiting activities until their set of demands – which includes re-naming buildings, dropping the school song “The Eyes of Texas,” and committing 0.5% of UT Athletics’ annual income to Black organizations – was met with an official commitment from the school.
Student-athletes are involved in hosting prospective student-athletes on college campuses during the recruitment process. The student-athletes also said that they would not attend donor events.
Among the proposed buildings to be renamed are Robert Lee Moore Hall, Painter Hall, Littlefield Hall and James Hogg Auditorium. The student-athlete group also calls for educating incoming freshmen about the history of racism at Texas.
- Read more about Theophilus Painter
- Read more about Robert Lee Moore
- Read more about George Littlefield, although Littlefield Hall is said to be named after his wife Alice
- Read more about James “Jim” Hogg
- Read more about “The Eyes of Texas”
— 🦅 (@_BrennanEagles_) June 12, 2020
While the letter mentioned that the football team is behind the demands, media outlets are reporting that multiple sports are involved.
The football players say that they will continue to practice and play in games, but will refuse to engage in recruiting new players if the demands are not met. Notably, Texas Governor Gregg Abbot said Friday that his state is working to make sure that the 2020-21 college football season starts as planned, with some fans in attendance, as it reopens amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Texas letter comes on the same day the NCAA released a statement on “social activism,” which encouraged schools to make Nov. 3, 2020 – Election Day – an official off day for student-athletes.