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UT-Austin Paid Consultant $1.1M to Improve Song's Image

He was on committee that looked into background of 'The Eyes of Texas'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2021 1:33 PM CDT

(Newser) – In March, the University of Texas at Austin released a report penned by a panel that concluded the school's "Eyes of Texas" song was not "overtly racist." But while university president Jay Hartzell said the panel would consist of athletes, historians, professors, and students, it also included a consultant who had been hired to revamp the song's image, the Texas Tribune reports. Brad Deutser—who was listed as a chair of the committee in its final report—and his company had been awarded two contracts worth up to $1.1 million to improve the song's image, along with other communications projects. His contract says he was hired to "align Eyes of Texas History Committee findings with cultural imperatives” and to “leverage results to build out desired culture and necessary understanding.”

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"Eyes of Texas," which is sung at the end of Longhorns football games, made its debut at a 1903 minstrel show, though the committee said it found no evidence that it was sung by performers in blackface or that it was inspired by remarks from Robert E. Lee. Students tell the Tribune that in meetings after the report's release, they felt Deutser wasn't taking their concerns seriously. "It was very much like he was trying to really convince us of what they thought, in terms of ‘this is what the song means,'" says Brianna McBride, former leader of the Black President's Leadership Council. Despite continued student objections, the university says the Longhorn Band will be required to play "The Eyes of Texas," and another band will be assembled that won't have to play the song, the Daily Texan reports. (Read more University of Texas stories.)

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