Georgetown Law has fired a professor for making derogatory statements against Black students during a video conference , The Washington Post reports. The clip shows Adjunct Professor Sandra Sellers discussing student performance with Professor David Batson. “I hate to say this,” she said. “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. You get some really good ones. But there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom. It drives me crazy.”
The Black Law Students Association called for Sellers’s immediate termination after the video began circulating via social media. The Association wrote a letter to the law school demanding “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.”
The letter continued, “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.”
Bill Treanor, dean of Georgetown Law, said in a statement on Thursday that he was appalled by the conversation between Sellers and Batson. Treanor terminated Sellers and placed Batson on administrative leave pending an investigation by the University’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action. “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,” he said. “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.”
Treanor said that in the coming days he will inform students and faculty of actions and changes he plans to implement moving forward.