The University of Texas has been working toward sweeping changes to promote racial diversity for most of the summer. Now it appears the school may be closing in on making several of those moves.
“During the past month, I have listened to scores of students," UT Jay Hartzell said in a statement. "I went into these conversations understanding that UT has worked hard to become a more diverse and welcoming place. I came out of them realizing there is still more work to do — and this starts and ends by creating an environment in which students are fully supported before, during and after their time at UT,” Hartzell said.
The school is planning several new projects in the wake of outcry from fans, players and alumni over the past few months.
The university plans to honor Heman M. Sweatt as the school's first African-American student. The 24th street entrance to T.S. Painter Hall will be named for Sweatt.
It will also erect a statue of Julius Whittier, the university's first African-American letterman.
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Joe Jamail Field will also be renamed to honor both Ricky Williams and Earl Campbell, the two Longhorns to win the Heisman trophy. The request for this action came directly from the Jamail family.
Though the school will not change the "Eyes of Texas", it does plan to educate current and future students on the origins of the song.
From the university's statement:
"'The Eyes of Texas,' in its current form, will continue to be UT’s alma mater, but the university will work to reclaim and redefine what this song stands for, first by owning and acknowledging its history in a way that is open and transparent, and then by partnering with the campus community to reimagine its future as a song that unites all Longhorns
The timeline on these upcoming projects is still fluid, but the university plans to provide updates as they get underway.
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