culture war
March 1, 2021

Wealthy alumni are threatening to pull their donations from the University of Texas at Austin because students have been protesting the university's controversial alma mater song, The Texas Tribune reports.

"The Eyes of Texas," which plays after football games, is a cherished tradition for many, but it was historically performed at campus minstrel shows, and the title is linked to a saying from Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Students, therefore, have criticized the song as racist for a while now, the Tribune notes, but action has increased over the last year amid protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

It appears, however, many donors consider the movement to be the product of "cancel culture" and "Marxist ideology," and emails obtained by the Tribune show they're willing to pull their financial support for the university over the issue. UT-Austin President Jay Hartzell has publicly confirmed the school will keep the song, but the emails suggest they want him to take an even stronger stand. A few donors even called for Black students to leave the university if they didn't appreciate the tradition.

"It's time for you to put the foot down and make it perfectly clear that the heritage of Texas will not be lost," one donor whose name was redacted wrote to Hartzell. "It is sad that it is offending the blacks. As I said before the blacks are free and it's time for them to move on to another state where everything is in their favor."

Larry Wilkinson, a donor and 1970 graduate of UT-Austin, argued in an email to Hartzell and an interview with the Tribune that because Black students make up only 6 percent of the student body, "the tail cannot be allowed to wag the dog ... Nothing forces those students to attend UT-Austin." Read more at The Texas Tribune. Tim O'Donnell

January 1, 2017

A federal judge in Texas on Saturday granted a temporary injunction against enforcement of an ObamaCare rule concerning abortion and transgender patients which otherwise would have gone into effect Sunday.

The Affordable Care Act prohibits "discrimination on the basis of gender identity and termination of pregnancy," a provision U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor said likely runs afoul of freedom of conscience protections guaranteed in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The plaintiffs in the case object that the rule forces "them to perform and provide insurance coverage for gender transitions and abortions, regardless of their contrary religious beliefs or medical judgment."

O'Connor is the same judge who in August temporarily blocked the Obama administration from enforcing national guidelines requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms matching the gender with which they identify. Bonnie Kristian

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