California university promotes internship exclusively for students identifying as BIPOC

San Diego State University excludes white students to participate in an internship through the 4A’s Foundation.

Applicants 'must identify as Asian/Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Multiracial or Multiethnic (e.g. Hispanic and Black).'

San Diego State University (SDSU), a public research university in California, is promoting an internship program that specifies one of their basic eligibility requirements is identifying as “Black, Indigenous, People of Color” (BIPOC).

The School of Journalism and Media Studies (School of JMS), within the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PSFA), recently posted on their social media pages an advertisement for students to apply for a Multicultural Advertising Internship (MAIP) through the 4A’s Foundation.

The 4A’s Foundation’s Multicultural Advertising Intern Program is a highly intensive fellowship that provides diverse students with the opportunity to work in the advertising, communications and marketing industries,” according to the original post.

To be considered, the student “[m]ust be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident” and “[m]ust have a (preferred) GPA of 3.0.” 

In addition, the student “[m]ust identify as a BIPOC,” meaning they “must identify as Asian/Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Multiracial or Multiethnic (e.g. Hispanic and Black),” according to the MAIP 2022 application page.

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As part of the 2022 application checklist, students are required to submit a short video answering the question, “What do you want your agency/the industry to know about your identity?”

The School of JMS “Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion” Statement includes “Creating and maintaining an environment that promotes participation by all while demonstrating our responsibility to historically underrepresented groups.”

Christie Ritter, Internship Coordinator for the School of Journalism and Media Studies, told Campus Reform that she received the announcement directly from the 4A’s Foundation.

 “I get notifications from many organizations offering fellowships, internships and scholarships for our students,” she said. “We passed along their announcement to our students via social media as it was given to us by the 4A's Foundation.”

The School of JMS established an Advisory Board made up of “diverse individuals” in July. One of its top priorities is to put “new DEI initiatives” into effect.

SDSU has also established a Strategic Planning Steering Committee to include “sub-committees and working groups focused on data and assessment, mission and vision and also diversity, equity and inclusion.”

[RELATED: UPDATE: Harvard backs off BIPOC-only music program]

Campus Reform has previously reported on other universities pushing similar programs excluding white students.

In May, a professor from the University of Michigan “filed a Title VI complaint against the University of South Carolina” for excluding white students from attending a workshop hosted by the Business Success Academy at the Darla Moore School of Business.

Last year, Harvard University also received a Title VI complaint regarding “a music program only open to students of color.” As a result, the program indicated it was “not affiliated with Harvard University.” But prior to the change, the description read, “a music business course at Harvard University.”

Based on the language set in the application, SDSU is preventing a plurality of its Fall 2022 undergraduate student body from applying to the internship as 35% are White. 

PSFA also mirrors these numbers with the student body composition at 35.9% White and 37.2% Hispanic/Latino. 

The 22-week MAIP internship program is currently closed for the 2022 cycle. 

Campus Reform reached out to SDSU and the 4A’s Foundation. This article will be updated accordingly.

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