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Georgetown Law Prof Fired for Complaining About Performance of Her Black Students

Georgetown Law Prof Fired for Complaining About Performance of Her Black Students

“I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are blacks”

Georgetown University fired law professor Sandra Sellers over comments she made about black students to a colleague during a Zoom call.

Joshua Rhett Miller and Tamar Lapin report at the New York Post:

Georgetown Law professor caught complaining about black students on Zoom: video

A white Georgetown Law professor was fired Thursday after getting caught on video belittling black students during a Zoom call with a colleague, saying they “usually” perform “just plain at the bottom” of her classes.

Georgetown Law Dean Bill Treanor said he was “appalled” by the conversation between now-terminated adjunct professor Sandra Sellers and another faculty member, David Batson, who was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation…

A brief clip posted to Twitter Wednesday showed Sellers and Batson having what they believed was a private discussion about a class they jointly taught.

“I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are blacks,” Sellers said. “Happens almost every semester. And it’s like, oh come on. It’s some really good ones, but there are usually some that are just plain at the bottom. It drives me crazy.”

You can see the video below:

The Black Law Students Association at Georgetown Law released this statement (emphasis is theirs):

Dear Georgetown Law Administration,

We are writing on behalf of the Georgetown Black Law Students Association (BLSA) to express our condemnation of Georgetown University Law Center Professor Sandra Sellers. This semester, Professor Sellers was recorded during what she believed was a private meeting with Professor David Batson, where the two were discussing a Black student’s performance in a course they taught jointly. In this meeting, Professor Sellers said the following: “I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks. Happens almost every semester. And it’s like, oh come on. It’s some really good ones, but there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom, it drives me crazy.”

Professor Sellers was speaking in reference to the only Black student in her class. She stated that this Black student was being placed at the bottom of the grading curve for the class. The school has since taken down the recording after it was discovered and reported by a student. These racist statements reveal not only Sellers’ beliefs about Black students in her classes, but also how her racist thoughts have translated to racist actions. Professor Sellers’s bias has impacted the grades of Black students in her classes historically, in her own words.

We demand nothing short of the immediate termination of Sandra Sellers as adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Not suspension. Not an investigation. The University must take swift and definitive action in the face of blatant and shameless racism.

Georgetown Law released this statement:

A Message to the Georgetown Law Community (Updated)

To the Georgetown Law Community,

As I wrote to you last night, I am appalled that two members of our faculty engaged in a conversation that included reprehensible statements concerning the evaluation of Black students. I have further reviewed the incident and have now spoken to Professor Sellers and Professor Batson, giving each the opportunity to provide any additional context. I informed Professor Sellers that I was terminating her relationship with Georgetown Law effective immediately.

During our conversation, she told me that she had intended to resign. As a result of my decision, Professor Sellers is no longer affiliated with Georgetown Law. Professor Batson has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action, the results of which will inform our next steps. Until the completion of the investigation, Professor Batson will have no further involvement with the course in which the incident arose.

We are taking significant steps to ensure that all students in this class are fairly graded without the input of Professor Sellers or Professor Batson.

This is by no means the end of our work to address the many structural issues of racism reflected in this painful incident, including explicit and implicit bias, bystander responsibility, and the need for more comprehensive anti-bias training. This is a matter of great concern to me. I will be writing to you soon with a range of actions and changes that we will implement to address these issues. I will also send information about a listening session for the Georgetown Law student community that we plan to hold tomorrow.

Featured image via Twitter video.


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Speaking the truth!!? Forbidden in today’s world.

    Ben Kent in reply to gospace. | March 12, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    Facts are the enemy in today’s woke culture.

      fscarn in reply to Ben Kent. | March 12, 2021 at 8:39 pm

      Amy Wax (U. Penn), move over. You have company.

      Massinsanity in reply to Ben Kent. | March 13, 2021 at 9:26 am

      Let me attempt to play devil’s advocate here or at least contrast the 2 sides. Prof Sellers made an observation based on experience that Blacks haven’t performed well in her class. The Black law students association immediately interpreted her comments as exemplifying her inherent bias/racism which led her to perceive that Blank students underperform when the reality is that they don’t.

      I have never been to Law School [though I have watched a lot of episodes of the Paper Chase]. I have 2 engineering degrees and an MBA. In engineering it is pretty hard for bias to influence grades as you either solve the problem or you don’t and your test scores and grades will reflect that. B school is a mix, some classes in finance and econ are math heavy while others like marketing or organizational development are pretty squishy but all depend on class participation to some extent.

      So, for you lawyers out there, how is performance measured in law school? Is it possible that an inherent bias could manifest itself in consistently poor grades for Black students as the student association suggests or is performance relatively easy to measure to anyone observing a class? Would it be possible to examine the record of performance of minority students to back up her comments with data/facts?

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Massinsanity. | March 13, 2021 at 1:05 pm

        “B school is a mix, some classes in finance and econ are math heavy while others…”

        Have you not heard? Math is racist.

        zennyfan in reply to Massinsanity. | March 13, 2021 at 1:21 pm

        In my law school, we were given numbers to put on our exams in lieu of names, and professors didn’t know the numbers until after grades were submitted. Grades were posted by those numbers, not names. I attended in the days when exams could be handwritten, but professors had no way of knowing whose handwriting was whose. Also, except for a couple of writing classes, professors had no way of knowing our writing styles before exams were given. I suppose that grading of the essays could be somewhat subjective, but if a student didn’t answer the call of the question, that’s blindingly obvious.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to gospace. | March 12, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    She was fired for stating out loud what I would imagine every other professor, adjunct professor, teacher, and tutor at the Georgetown College of Law also knew and thought. That blacks typically end up at the bottom of the class when it comes to performance and achievement in the law school. And I include Dean Bill Treanor in that assessment. 100 points for honesty on adjunct professor Sandra Sellers part but minus several million for stupidly thinking that her Zoom conversation was truly “private” and what she said wouldn’t get out to the black student body.

    The problem for black is, that the truth will set them free, but the continuing lie about their performance in schools will continue to enslave them.

    But, their ‘leaders’ make a lot more money on the race hustle than they would – if any – by actually helping black kids get to where they need to be academically.

    But let’s face it: the homes so many of these kids come from are headed by broken parents. Till the parents are fixed, their kids will continue to be stuck in low gear academically,.

    But (third but), we know that will never change. EVER.

    Which leads me to remind everyone: we leave EVERY liberal/left problem behind if we secede.

      henrybowman in reply to | March 12, 2021 at 8:35 pm

      Except two: the ones coming over your border with Abrams tanks, and the ones coming over your border with Birkenstocks and real-estate advertisements.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to gospace. | March 12, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    The root of the problem is admission of hoards of Affirmative incompetents. Everything affirmative must end.

The Friendly Grizzly | March 12, 2021 at 4:08 pm

What all of this race based trouble will end up causing: no one will hire blacks EXCEPT to satisfy government and corporate-demanded quotas.

The ones who can make the grade will forever be viewed as slot-fillers.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | March 12, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    Affirmative action degrades value of degrees earned by competent blacks. When I first entered industrial controls engineering, I knew a white engineer who simply was not up to doing the job. He was a nice person, but went from job to job his whole life. If he had been black, threat of racism claims would have protected him.

Morning Sunshine | March 12, 2021 at 4:08 pm

“caught complaining”

sounds to me that she was worried about the scores of those students. Not complaining about them. But acknowledging a truth, and trying to figure out a solution to HELP those students.

    broomhandle in reply to Morning Sunshine. | March 12, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    Agreed. She felt terrible that blacks keep earning the lowest grades. I wonder if there is any legitimate way to express that concern that would not have gotten her in trouble.

    At least now we know the solution to this problem: fire professors who care about addressing real problems and just give the worst performing students A’s.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to broomhandle. | March 12, 2021 at 9:58 pm

      They will replace her with an Affirmative incompetent who will make sure that all the Affirmative incompetent students receive great grades.

    Something I learned very early in my teaching career: never ever ever ever speak openly about a problem.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to Dathurtz. | March 13, 2021 at 7:25 am

      As far as administrators are concerned, the only real crime is rocking the boat. In my career, I have only known two k-12 administrators who I thought were competent.

      TeacherinTejas in reply to Dathurtz. | March 13, 2021 at 8:33 am

      I hear you. One other thing in education. Upper level administration is usually a dumping ground for incompetent minority principals! Can’t handle a school, make them “Assistant Director of Pencil Sharpening” with a six figure salary.

Professor Sellers was fired for feeling angst over the poor academic performances of her black students. She would have better off having the soft bigotry of low expectations. Then she wouldn’t have been fired.

The truth is forbidden. Whisper your thoughts and concerns. Georgetown is a disgrace. Let them destroy themselves.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to ajcbjl. | March 12, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    If you cannot acknowledge a problem, you cannot develop a solution. This is why closed, authoritarian, and totalitarian societies always collapse, eventually.

    If what she says is true, about “black” underperformance, the correct solution is not to fire the messenger, but to examine the message, determine if it is correct, determine root cause of the problem, and develop a solution.

    Eventually these students will need to take the Bar exam. If “black” graduates are failing at a disproportionate rate (not stated here and possibly and incorrect assumption), or not completing the program at disproportionate rates, for example, then Georgetown needs to do something about that so students do not waste three years of their precious lives to no gainful purpose.

      Black exam-takers apparently fail the bar in higher percentages than whites and Asians. I say apparently, as state bars are hiding pass rates. The bars have the information but won’t release it; researchers studying the “mismatch” theory have been trying to get the information for years. The higher failure rate is why states have lowered their passing scores (e.g., CA), made the test easier (CA again), and are considering dropping the bar altogether. Provisional licensing because of Covid (yep, CA) is a step toward that.

        zennyfan in reply to zennyfan. | March 12, 2021 at 6:34 pm

        Full disclosure: I’m an inactive (retired) member of the CA Bar (NV, too), so I follow this issue closely.

          Brave Sir Robbin in reply to zennyfan. | March 12, 2021 at 7:28 pm

          Well, the law does not mean anything anymore. It’s just how a group of people in a room feel about something. It’s kind of hard to argue they need a test sanctify admission to that.

        NavyMustang in reply to zennyfan. | March 12, 2021 at 7:48 pm

        Our future “legal” proceedings:

        Christopher B in reply to zennyfan. | March 13, 2021 at 6:24 am

        I don’t remember if I picked this up from Gail Heriot at Instapundit or John McWhorter on SubStack when they posted about this firing but one of them noted that the bar failure rate is high specifically for blacks admitted to the ‘premium’ law schools. The pass rate for blacks who attend law schools for which their college grades and LSAT scores place them within the average of their classmates pass at a higher rate, and at approximately the same rate as other races.

        This is one of the things that convinces me “affirmative action for diversity” has turned into a complete scam run by the so-called elite in this country. Those are the folks designing the ‘holistic’ admissions criteria so you know the grapevine passes along information about what looks good, as well as well to-do parents being able to afford the tutoring and experiences to grease the skids. Eliminating objective measures of performance like grades and test scores blocks otherwise qualified individuals of any race that don’t conform to ‘woke’ sensibilities. Letting in lots of under-qualified minority applicants to fill those slots ensures the elite’s pampered spawn wind up at the top of class effortlessly while enabling them to scream ‘racism’ when anybody points out this system is only perpetuating the widening class and racial divisions in our society without actually helping minority students.

I thought expressing angst would be a good thing in a matter like this. Shows some empathy with anxiety and apprehension toward the situation

    JusticeDelivered in reply to buck61. | March 13, 2021 at 7:40 am

    I have noticed that people with very low IQs are often very nice, child like in their interactions, while people slightly smarter, just enough smarter to understand that they dull, resent it and are often quite nasty.

The truth is, she’s not supposed to admit the truth, she’s supposed to quietly “adjust” their grades.

Not a fair headline at all. This law professor deserves fairness. She was not complaining about her black students always underperforming. She was lamenting that the bottom of every one of her classes is always a struggling black student.. and unsaid.. it breaks her heart because of the implications.

Hypothetical: had she said that Asian students were at the top of her classes would she have been sacked?? If not, why not?

Remember that Obama the Liar was an affirmative action law student. He failed as a lawyer and lied himself into the presidency and failed.

Academic Freedom Alliance::
The alliance will intervene in academic controversy privately, by pressuring administrators, and publicly, by issuing statements citing the principles at stake in the outcomes of specific cases. Crucially, it will support those needing legal aid, either by arranging for pro bono legal representation or paying for it directly.

Lucifer Morningstar | March 12, 2021 at 7:56 pm

We are taking significant steps to ensure that all students in this class are fairly graded without the input of Professor Sellers or Professor Batson.

Wouldn’t the above statement be libel as I doubt except for that one statement from Sellers Dean Bill Treanor doesn’t have any real evidence that Sellers or Batson were giving poor grades to blacks in their class simply because they were black?

And I’ take it now every black student in the class will be assigned an “A” satisfactory grade to make up for this horrendous and heinous crime of speaking the truth. Treanor is simply pandering to blacks now hoping nobody sues the university.

You can’t handle the truth!!!!

So now we all must inhabit the same fantasy world in which Liberals have ensconced themselves or face ostracism

Fired for actually giving a damn.

Just when you think leftists can’t possibly become anymore backwards and twisted in their thinking. What a pathetic mess they’ve made of our country with their hatred and histrionics.

Interesting how when comparing the SAT scores to final grades of ethnic group X and Y, you get a breakdown as follows:
Albanian and Irish – No problem
Lithuanian and Portuguese – No problem
Spanish and British – No problem
Black and White – Fired and hounded from a career

BLSA clearly don’t give a damn about the education of the law students they supposedly represent.

This prof. states what many experience. Her words should ring an alarm bell and motivate the association to get a mentorship or tutoring program started/revived/improved.