WASHINGTON, DC (WJZ) — One Georgetown Law professor was fired and another put on leave after “abhorrent” and “reprehensible” remarks were made about evaluating the university’s Black students, the university’s dean says.
Adjunct professor Sandra Sellers was caught on a Zoom recording saying,” “I hate to say this … 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.”READ MORE: WATCH: Maryland NAACP Calls For Ocean City Police Officers In Arrest Video To Be 'Removed From Posts' Until Investigation Is Complete
Another professor David Batson nodded his head to signal “yes” during the conversation.
“We learned earlier this week that two members of our faculty engaged in a conversation that included reprehensible statements concerning the evaluation of Black students,” said Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor in a statement on March 10. “We are responding with the utmost seriousness to this situation. I have watched a video of this conversation and find the content to be abhorrent. It includes conduct that has no place in our educational community. We must ensure that all students are treated fairly and evaluated on their merits.”
.@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
Hassan Ahmad, a Georgetown law student who posted the recorded Zoom on Twitter, told The New York Times the discussion between the adjuncts took place last month.
Ahmad said students had already logged off, but the Zoom continued to record the class and then was later uploaded to the class website.
Georgetown’s Black Law Student Association called for Sellers’ immediate firing.
“We demand nothing short of the immediate termination of Sandra Sellers as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Not a suspension. Not an investigation,” they said in a statement. “The university must take swift and definitive action in the face of blatant and shameless racism.”
The BLSA Executive Board released this statement regarding Professor Sandra Sellers’ racist remarks towards Black students at GULC and Professor David Batson's complicity upon hearing those remarks. In the statement, we make explicit demands for the GULC administration. pic.twitter.com/nAx1jDE37GREAD MORE: Shooting With Multiple Victims Reported In West Baltimore
— Georgetown BLSA (@GeorgetownBLSA) March 11, 2021
Sellers was later fired and Batson was put on administrative leave.
In a statement on March 11 to the law school, Treanor said:
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.
Sellers showed The New York Times her resignation letter in which she said she was “deeply sorry for my hurtful and misdirected remarks.”
“I would never do anything to intentionally hurt my students or Georgetown Law and wish I could take back my words,” Ms. Sellers wrote according to NYT. “Regardless of my intent, I have done irreparable harm and I am truly sorry for this.”
She had taught at Georgetown for 20 years.MORE NEWS: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Announces Free Summer Concert Series