‘Eyes of Texas’ are on UT as governor ends mask mandates, opens state ‘100 percent’

by WorldTribune Staff, March 3, 2021

“The Eyes of Texas are upon you”.

And now, so are a lot of the mouths and noses of Texas after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ended the state’s mask mandate.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott / YouTube

“Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities; too many small-business owners have struggled to pay their bills. It is now time to open Texas 100 percent. Every business that wants to open should be open,” Abbott said on Tuesday.

Effective March 10, all businesses will be allowed to open at 100 percent of capacity, Abbott said during a media briefing in Lubbock. His executive order allows county judges to reinstate anti-virus rules should hospitalizations surge.

Leftists were livid. Many vowed to continue wearing masks, and encouraged others to do so

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky advised Texans to continue wearing masks despite the governor’s order amid a decline in cases.

“I think we, the CDC, have been very clear that now is not the time to release all restrictions,” said Walensky during a White House pandemic briefing in response to a question about reopening Texas. “Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here, regardless of what states decide.”

“Texas will experience more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths,” state Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, a Democrat from the border city of Laredo, told Abbott in a letter Monday, as reported by the Associated Press.

While the Left wants to keep Americans locked down, free states have proven that gloom-and-doom predictions like that of Peña Raymond are not guaranteed.

The Free State of Florida, which has been open since early last year, is the best example, Washington Times columnist Kelly Sadler noted on Feb. 26:

“Florida has lower per-capita COVID-19 mortality than the national average and lower than 27 other states, including tightly lockdown California, despite having more senior citizens. Its unemployment rate is lower than the national average. Florida offers more in-person education than any other state, and it leads the nation in vaccinating those older than 65 years old. And its budget remains in good shape, with (Gov. Ron) DeSantis declaring he hasn’t had to use a penny in Florida’s rainy-day fund to cover for pandemic-related expenses.”

At CPAC 2021 in Orlando last week, DeSantis said: “We are in an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering from the yoke of oppressive lockdowns. We look around in other parts of our country, and in far too many places, we see schools closed, businesses shuttered, and lives destroyed. And while so many governors over the last year kept locking people down, Florida lifted people up.”

Texas is following Florida’s lead, as is Mississippi, which announced that it would rescind county mask mandates on Wednesday, and that businesses could operate at full capacity.

Meanwhile, back in the Lone Star State, University of Texas alumni are saying they will withhold or rescind donations to the university if it bows to the cancel culture mob and removes the alma mater song “The Eyes of Texas”, a long-time tradition at football games.

The Texas Tribune reported on March 1 that hundreds of alumni were outraged that UT would ever consider canceling the song.

“My wife and I have given an endowment in excess of $1 million to athletics. This could very easily be rescinded if things don’t drastically change around here,” wrote one donor in October. His name was redacted by UT-Austin, citing open records laws that protect certain donor identities. “Has everyone become oblivious of who supports athletics??”

The Texas Tribune noted that, from June to late October, over 70 percent of the nearly 300 people who emailed UT-Austin President Jay Hartzell’s office about the alma mater song “demanded the school keep playing it. Around 75 people in emails explicitly threatened to stop supporting the school financially, calling on the university to take a heavier hand with students and athletes they believed were disrespecting university tradition by protesting it.”

The report continued: “Alumni and donors threatened to cancel season tickets, end donations and boycott games. They complained that Hartzell was not forcefully defending the song and school traditions enough, accusing him of cowing to political correctness.”

Kent Kostka, president of the Longhorn Alumni Band Charitable Fund Board of Trustees, wrote to a group of administrators, including Hartzell: “[Alumni] are pulling planned gifts, canceling donations, walking away from causes and programs that have been their passion for years, even decades and turning away in disgust. Last night one texted me at 1:00 am, trying to find a way to revoke a 7-figure donation,” “This is not hyperbole or exaggeration. Real damage is being done every day by the ongoing silence.”

While UT insists it has not intention of abandoning the song, Hartzell in October announced that Richard Reddick, a professor and associate dean in the College of Education, would chair a committee to review and document the history of “The Eyes of Texas”.

The Texas Tribune noted that, prior to the start of the 2020 season, several student athletes “threatened to stop showing up at donor events if the university didn’t take action and many players left the field when ‘The Eyes’ started playing after the first two home games of the season. In September, students started a petition to boycott the song coinciding with a social media campaign called ‘Rewrite, not Reclaim.’ ”

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