*Hampton University president William R. Harvey has penned a letter to BET criticizing the network’s new drama series, “The Quad,” saying it casts a negative light on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The series stars Anika Noni Rose as the reluctant president of the fictional HBCU Georgia A&M University. She was previously fired as president of a prestigious college for sleeping with one of the students, who is still sniffing around. She lands at GAMU and is tasked with bringing money to the fledgling campus, while facing sexist resistance from notable alumni.
Her entitled daughter also attends the college and has already been hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. Meanwhile, a prospective band member was hazed so hard that she also landed in the hospital. The band director (Ruben Santiago-Hudson), is appalled, not because the student was nearly hazed to death, but because the school president is now questioning his operation.
HBCU Digest published a three-page letter from Hampton’s President Harvey to BET’s President Debra Lee, saying HBCUs “cannot afford this kind of storytelling.”
Harvey wrote that most people have little knowledge about HBCUs, and form their views based on what they see on TV. He also complained that the show bypasses academic life to display the salacious and immoral escapades of the university’s president, students and band director.
Additionally, Harvey wrote he is particularly disturbed by the way “The Quad” depicts female collegiate leadership, which he has helped to nurture over the years.
“What I saw on BET February 1st was not accurate; rather, it was a bogus representation of very important and historic institutions,” Harvey stated in his letter dated Feb. 3.
Harvey continued: “The Quad will lead many to believe that HBCUs exist because of their marching bands; that our presidents are unethical; that our boards are dysfunctional and have misplaced priorities; that our faculty, students and administrators are driven by sex, alcohol, marijuana, low self-esteem, parties and a preoccupation with music; that it is acceptable to disrespect women; that university policy can be set by a band director; and that there are no standards of conduct or penalties for bad behavior. This depiction seems more analogous to a disgruntled, adolescent and unrealistic point of view that some may have. It also feeds a false narrative about the irrelevance of HBCUs.”
According to the Digest, several HBCU presidents wrote Harvey to applaud his letter to BET.