As a third year student of an illustrious HBCU (Hampton University), I have seen and been through mutual experiences that are inherently timeless. What I mean by that is that even my father who also attended an HBCU (North Carolina A&T) more than 30 years ago, has dealt with similar cultural, educational, and iconically "gourmet" encounters. Though this is so, it is a part of the fabric and lineage in being at a black college. It's truly an adventure of self-discovery where you meet like minded individuals determined to change the status quo of African Americans all while embracing and fostering the differences that make humanity unique.
As a testament to the positive nurturing occurring at HBCUs, Black Entertainment Television (BET) released a new drama series 'The Quad' on February 1st. The show takes place at a fictional black college (GAMU) and displays reality through the joys and pains in attending an HBCU. There has been some controversy among administrators at black colleges because the content the show "feeds a false narrative about the irrelevance of HBCUs".
Though trustees and administrators have the right to voice their opinion on a BET drama series, there's more than the perspective that they perceive to be fact or fiction. Any post-secondary institution, regardless of academic background or social reputation has a side where students and even faculty engage in behaviors deemed unacceptable. Though this is so, like it or not it is part of a campus' backbone. It doesn't necessarily provide a bad image for the school, but brings into the light the issues that prevent the institution from progressing to greatness.
There will always be a dilapidated dorm, an inefficient office, controversial issues, and lackluster dining anywhere you go. HBCUs are prominent institutions of higher learning but its time to stop living in the past. We can't bring 'A Different World' into existence because that's an idea of perfection, which is impossible in this world. 'The Quad' though fictitious and near far-fetched highlights authentic situations that has happened somewhere and cannot be ignored.
It's up to each and every individual (especially the students of HBCUs) to uphold the reputation of their school. There will always be a great deal of media representation when your school is a part of greatness, but let's acknowledge the mistakes and create a better school for tomorrow.