Hampton University students and alumni are calling for the resignation of their President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
A new petition on change.org reads:
It is time for a change at Hampton University! Current President William R. Harvey has repeatedly failed those who he pledged to serve as the President of our Illustrious Hampton University. Due to the reasons detailed below, we the current students, alumni, parents, and supporters of HU believe that it is time for William R. Harvey to retire or resign.
We acknowledge that Hampton University has grown tremendously in the 42 years that William R. Harvey has served as President. He is recognized as the longest-serving tenured HBCU President in history. Unfortunately, this is reflected in the several outdated practices and “standards” that affect students. Such as Hampton’s Business Pro Attire which discourages women from wearing pants and flats. Also, the School Of Business’ Leadership Application Program which prohibits students from having loc’ed hairstyles. Forcing students to either cut their hair or drop out of the MBA program all together. As our world and community change rapidly, we need a President that is ready and willing to change with it.
Discord between President Harvey and students is not new. The Daily Press documents several protests that have been held during Harvey’s reign. Topics of protest discussed in the article include:
- 1985-1986- Demanding University divestiture in South African companies during Apartheid and imprisonment of Nelson Mandela.
- 1991- President Harvey’s invitation to Republican President George H.W. Bush as the commencement speaker.
- 2003- The revelation of health code violations in the cafeteria by The Script.
- 2005- Protests against the George W. Bush Administration and it’s conflicts in the Middle East.
- This resulted in half a dozen students being punished and the American Civil Liberties Union becoming involved.
As detailed by the Philly Tribune:
- 2018- The Hope for Hampton Protests which were sparked by President Harvey and his administration ignoring and blatantly disrespecting students and their concerns during the Hampton University Town Hall meeting. Concerns included lack of dorm safety, Title IX violations, and cafeteria health code violations.
Further, President Harvey has repeatedly failed to address issues affecting students or waited too long to make a statement. Most recently, Hampton University was one of the last colleges in Virginia to announce the closure of campus amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The delayed response led to many students being displaced. Additionally, all on-campus residents were unable to retrieve their personal belongings from their dorms for three months.
One of the most troubling concerns of the student body is the political affairs of President Harvey as detailed below:
- 1991- President Harvey invited Republican President George H.W Bush to speak at Hampton’s commencement; despite the objections of hundreds of students.
- 2005- several students First Amendment Rights of Speech and Assembly were violated when The Harvey Administration disciplined them with community service after protesting against George W. Bush.
- 2017- President Harvey controversially traveled to DC to meet with Donald Trump to discuss the future of our HBCUs.
- 2019- President Harvey erected a statue of George H.W Bush on campus, without consulting the student body or alumni beforehand.
- 2020- President Harvey invited Mike Pence to visit Hampton’s Proton Therapy Institute.
- 2020- President Harvey participated in a phone call with Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos to ensure that Hampton University would not be held liable for any students who may become sick with COVID-19 upon returning to campus for the fall 2020 semester.
- Most recently, it was revealed that several restaurants have donated millions to Trump’s re-election campaign. Among those listed are Pizza Hut and Chick-Fil-A which were both brought to campus under Harvey’s administration.
With the tragic death of George Floyd and Donald Trump’s subsequent responses, HBCU Leaders are being looked to for hope and guidance. Despite this, President Harvey has still yet to make a statement condemning the actions of The Trump Administration. We believe that everyone is entitled to their own political beliefs and affiliation. However, there is no room for a President with these conflicting affiliations on an HBCU campus. As the saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”
The reasons stated above only represent a fraction of the issues under The Harvey Administration. Others include continued Title IX violations, outdated dorm & academic facilities, and discriminatory policies. For far too long, our school has operated on the principle of keeping Hampton’s issues out of the public eye. We share this petition to garner the support of our fellow classmates, alumni, families, and friends. Once we have gained enough signatures to reflect the majority of the current student body, a formal letter will be sent to the Hampton University administration and board of trustees. If our concerns are not acknowledged and addressed, Hampton University will continue to see a steady decline in admissions and donations. There will also be an increase in transfers and un-enrollment. It is time for Hampton University to move into a new era where all of our #BlackLivesMatter and our voices are heard!
Lastly, if this petition is successful, we the students and alumni demand transparency and a chance to be involved in selecting the new President of Hampton University. Removing the current President from office will be fruitless if someone that has already been groomed takes his place. If you are a student or alumni of Hampton University, please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share any constructive suggestions on how the current administration should move forward. Negative emails will not be entertained. Thank you!
VIEW THE PETITION: here
There is also a petition for the resignation of the Hampton University Director of Athletics, Eugene Marshall Jr. who released a statement saying “All Lives Matter.”
VIEW THE PETITION: here