Country Music Association Quietly Changes Race Criteria For ‘Diversity & Inclusion’ Fellowship

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Alexa Schwerha Contributor
Font Size:

The Country Music Association (CMA) revised its “Diversity & Inclusion” fellowship website to clarify that it will not consider race as an eligibility factor after a federal complaint alleged the eligibility requirements violated students’ civil rights.

The fellowship was originally “designed to provide collegiate BIPOC students with an immersive experience in the Country Music industry,” according to an archived version of its website. The paragraph was later changed to clarify that the program is open to all eligible students regardless of race. (RELATED: Medical School Quietly Scrubs Website After Federal Probe Into Race-Based Scholars Program)

“CMA is proud to introduce its inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship, a program designed to provide collegiate students with an immersive experience in the Country Music industry,” the current website reads.

A line was added to the fellowship’s application to clarify that it “is open to all applicants and students from underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.” University of Alabama, University of Tennessee Knoxville and Belmont University students who are of junior or senior status are eligible to apply regardless of race, and must be majoring in “public relations, advertising, journalism, business or a related field.

Mark Perry, Do No Harm senior fellow and University of Michigan emeritus professor, filed a complaint against the CMA fellowship Jan. 10 with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. He alleged that it violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits race-based discrimination.

“This is the latest example of how the ‘new normal’ in higher education (and throughout society) is that it’s perfectly acceptable to engage in racist behavior and illegally discriminate against whites, usually with impunity and with overall general support,” Perry told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Without my Title VI complaint, which was shared with the three university presidents and publicized by the media, the BIPOC-only, no whites allowed racist program would have taken place this summer in Nashville as planned in violation of federal civil rights laws and in violation of each of three universities’ strong policies of non-discrimination on the basis of race.”

Accepted applicants will partake in an “immersive experience in the Country Music industry” by working alongside the CMA’s communication team ahead of the CMA Fest scheduled for June 8-11, 2023, according to the application. After, fellows will “take part in a six-week assignment with a Country Music publicity partner” to gain hands-on experience and be matched with a mentor.

CMA, University of Alabama, University of Tennessee Knoxville and Belmont University did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact