Georgetown Law Professor Fired For Comments About Black Students In Viral Video
Healy Hall on the campus of Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. (Photo by: Robert Knopes/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Robert Knopes/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

On Thursday, Georgetown Law terminated one of its professors who was recorded in a video discussing the academic performance of black students.

In the video that has gone viral on Twitter and sparked controversy and outrage, Professor Sandra Sellers and Professor David Batson can be seen generally discussing students’ academic standings on a video Zoom call.

“You know what? I hate to say this, I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks,” Sellers says. “Happens almost every semester and it’s like ‘oh come on.'”

Sellers then briefly laughs before saying: “I get some really good ones but there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom, it drives me crazy … I feel bad.”

Batson doesn’t speak much in the video but can be seen nodding his head a few times.

On Thursday afternoon, Georgetown Law Dean Bill Treanor stated that Sellers would be fired and that Batson has been put on leave awaiting the findings of an investigation being conducted by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action.

“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,” Treanor said in a statement to Fox News. “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.”

“Until the completion of the investigation, Professor Batson will have no further involvement with the course in which the incident arose,” Treanor added. “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.”

Treanor said that when he spoke to Sellers, he told her that he was “terminating her relationship with Georgetown Law effective immediately,” even though she said that she was planning to resign.

Sellers provided Fox News with her resignation letter to Treanor, which said she is “deeply sorry for my hurtful and misdirected remarks.”

“While the video of this incident is an excerpt from a longer discussion about class participation patterns, not overall grades, it doesn’t diminish the insensitivity of I have demonstrated,” she continued. “I would never do anything to intentionally hurt my students or Georgetown Law and wish I could take back my words.”

Sellers added, “My comments were the inarticulate reflection of long soul searching. I must do better to understand and address these issues…”

Earlier, the Black Law Students Association at Georgetown University Law Center released a statement “to express our condemnation” of Sellers and demand her “immediate termination.”

“Not suspension. Not an investigation. The University must take swift and definitive action in the face of blatant and shameless racism,” it said.

“Not only is this situation revealing of Sellers’ true beliefs about Black students, it is also illustrative of the conscious and unconscious bias systemically present in law school grading at Georgetown Law and in law school classrooms nationwide. The difference is that Sellers was caught and her racism was broadcast for the world to see,” it continued.

The group also demanded that Georgetown Law require a public apology from Batson, carry out an audit of Sellers’ past grading “to account for her admitted biases,” and promise to hire more black professors “who will be better situated to fairly assess Black students in a non-biased manner.”

The footage has received over 900,000 views on Twitter and was originally put up on an online platform that students can access, according to NBC News.

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