The University of Texas-San Antonio dropped its “Come and Take It” slogan before football games this season.
The school played its first game of the season this past weekend and beat Lamar 54-0.
UTSA President Taylor Eighmy told students, staff, and faculty on Sept. 7 that the rallying cry was not allowed at college football games this year. Last year, the pandemic kept it from being played as fans were not allowed to games.
The UT System Board of Regents, which oversees all Texas public universities, did not support UTSA’s decision, according to Fox News.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, fans chanted the slogan and brought a flag.
UTSA School President Has Issue With Battlecry
The “Come and Take It” slogan has drawn fire for its potential racial connotations in the past few years.
In past college football games, a flag reading “Come and Take It” would be unfurled during the fourth quarter. A cannon is also fired at that point.
Despite the possibility of a task force to tackle the phase in August, Eighmy ended the tradition without any consultation.
In the letter, the school president said the issue had become a distraction and unfortunately shifted focus from future work.
The school also ended its use of the phrase in its digital environment. It also ended connections with merchandise, buildings, and playing fields, among other things.
Football Battlecry Has A History
The school president said the battlecry had changed since it was adopted.
A Nov. 23, 2019 college football home game was the last time the school used the battlecry. Since then, Eighmy said organizations and movements had adopted the term for their political motives.
“A simple online search of webpages, articles and images involving this phrase reveals the myriad of ways numerous organizations have adopted it for their particular cause,” he wrote.
For three years, the school used the tradition to inspire college football fans. It has roots in the Texas Revolution, as the phrase was said to come from an 1836 Gonazlez skirmish. Then, it served to challenge Mexican forces to “come and take (their cannon), according to Britannica.
A past online petition calling for the school to stop using the slogan. The petition said the motto has “carried those white supremacist beliefs from 1835 to today.”
Now, some see the phrase as “both anti-Mexican and pro-slavery sentiments.”
At the same time, it has “also been widely adopted by anti-government, pro-gun extremists.”
Other schools like Army have dropped their slogans over the years. The school axed its “God Forgives, Brothers Don’t” for its ties to white supremacy groups.
Meanwhile, The UT System Board of Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife did not support UTSA’s decision.
Eltife said the “Come and Take It” flag had a deep meaning for many Texans. The chairman expressed his disappointment in the decision and vowed to bring the issue up with the board.