“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:
.@GeorgetownLaw negotiations Professors Sandra Sellers and David Batson being openly racist on a recorded Zoom call.
Beyond unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/q5MoWjBok8
— Hassan Ahmad (@hahmad1996) March 10, 2021
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.
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