The president of Hampton University wrote a letter to the chair and CEO of Black Entertainment Television condemning the fictional show, �œThe Quad,” about life on the campus of an Historically Black College.
Hampton�™s William R. Harvey sent the letter on Feb. 3 addressing what he feels is an inadequate depiction of what life is like on the campus of an HBCU. Attempts to reach Harvey by phone were unsuccessful on Friday.
�œThe 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 not standards of conduct or penalties for bad behavior,” Harvey wrote.
�œThis 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 relevance of HBCUs,” he stated.
�œThe Quad,” premiered on BET on Feb. 1, and features Anika Noni Rose as the president Eva Fletcher of the made-up Georgia A&M University and the Fighting Mountain Cats. BET has even created a whole website for the un-real Black school in Atlanta. In the storyline, the school is in financial trouble and the married president has an affair with a grad student. Also, the school�™s band director has no intention of taking orders from Rose�™s character.
Harvey, a graduate of Talledega College, Virginia State University and Harvard University, expressed in his letter the character of the president is promiscuous, the trustees are unwilling to deal with a rogue band director who also condones criminal activity. Harvey, president of Hampton since 1978, said he has visited almost every HBCU in the nation.
�œOn none of these campuses have I witnessed the actions portrayed in the first episode of the Quad,” he wrote. �œI know of no campus president who would allow a band director to talk and act in the disrespectful, defiant and insubordinate manner that GAMUs director demonstrated.”
In addition to Rose, the cast includes Peyton Alex Smith, Jazz Raycole, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Zoe Renee, Jake Allyn and Jasmine Guy, who portrays Ella Grace, dean of the history department. Guy was the star of the popular television show, �œA Different World,” about the fictional HBCU Hillman College in Virginia that aired from 1987 to 1993 on NBC.
�œWe cannot afford this kind of storytelling,” Harvey said about the Quad. �œIt amounts to the type of fake news that is prevalent today. You see, all that most people know about HBCUs is what they see on television.”