York College of Pennsylvania has been called out for Photoshopping an image on a promotional billboard in an attempt to “fix the problem” of lacking diversity. The school replaced two students in the photo with one Asian student, and one student who appeared to be Muslim.
Former student Karina Garcia, who had agreed to pose for the photo shoot, was dismayed upon realizing one year later that two of the students she had posed with were missing in the promotional advertisement for the school, according to Fox 43.
“I was confused, I was like what happened,” said Garcia, who said she went to the photographer to ask why the two original students had been replaced, “Why weren’t they there, that was my first question.”
Garcia added that the photographer told her the photo would not be approved until “the problem” with it was fixed.
“He was like, yeah, they just wanted a more diverse billboard so we had to get two other students and we put them in there. When they went to show the person that had to approve the photo it wasn’t approved so they had to rush to fix the problem,” said Garcia.
“Their intention with the billboard was to attract a more diverse population to the school and I think that’s a good thing that the school wants to do that,” added Garcia.
The original photo, however, was shared and circulated on social media, alongside the doctored photo used on the billboard, which garnered some backlash.
Did York College photoshop in people of different ethnicities to make them look like a more diverse campus or.. pic.twitter.com/DheEBZQIZU
— Corey C-137 (@CoreyReever) January 29, 2019
“This photo reflects the diversity of students who live and learn at York College,” said a York College spokeswoman in response to the backlash, “All those included are York College students. In an effort to reinforce inclusivity, we attempt to ensure that all students are represented and welcome.”
“We were up against a deadline, but we should have made a better decision,” added the school.
The Assistant Director of Intercultural Student Life and International Student Support, Ines Ramirez, chimed in as well with a statement on Sunday.
“In my opinion, the message of the photo was to show that York College of Pennsylvania welcomes students from diverse backgrounds and to feature our current students,” said Ramirez, “I think we succeeded at that.”
“As you know, minority student recruitment at mostly Caucasian institutions is very challenging,” added Ramirez, “and we need to make sure our target market is included or featured in our publications.”
York College of Pennsylvania is not the only school to Photoshop images in an effort to appear more diverse.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison fell under scrutiny after a black student discovered that he was on the cover of the school’s admissions booklet, attending a football game. The student was Photoshopped into the image, as he had never been to a football game.