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Georgetown University Fires Professor Heard Complaining About Academic Performance Of Her Black Students On Zoom Call

Georgetown University Fires Professor Heard Complaining About Academic Performance Of Her Black Students On Zoom Call

Update ( March 12, 2021):  The Georgetown University Law professor who made “reprehensible statements” about Black students during a Zoom call was fired from her job this week. 

The law school’s dean Bill Treanor confirmed on Thursday that Georgetown immediately terminated its relationship with Sandra Sellers after a recording of the video chat circulated online following a student sharing it on Twitter, according to USA Today. 

Sellers was speaking to fellow professor David Batson after a class had concluded. In the conversation, Sellers complained to Batson that a number of her Black students often fall in the bottom percentage of the class academically each year. 

“I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks, happens almost every semester,” Sellers said in the video. “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.”

Batson, who can be seen nodding in agreement to her statements, has not been terminated by the Law Center. Treanor said Batson will remain on administrative leave until an investigation by Georgetown’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action is concluded. 

“Until the completion of the investigation, professor Batson will have no further involvement with the course in which the incident arose,” he said. 

A petition calling for Seller’s firing, released by the Georgetown Black Law Students Association, has amassed thousands of signatures from students, alumni and other school supporters who are outraged about the situation. 

According to New York Post, the BLSA expressed that the video exposes a “conscious and unconscious bias” in the university’s grading system. 

In a statement issued by Georgetown, the school said it will work “to ensure that all students in this class are fairly graded without the input” of Sellers or Batson.

Original (March 11, 2021): A white Georgetown Law professor is under investigation for an unsettling remark made about her Black students.

Fox5 DC reported that adjunct professor of law, Sandra Sellers, was captured during a Zoom conversation with another faculty member complaining that her Black students “usually” perform “just plain at the bottom.”

The footage began with Sellers speaking to another professor, David Baston, explaining, “They were a bit jumbled,” referring exclusively to her Black students.

“I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks, happens almost every semester,” Sellers said in the video. “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.”

Executive vice president and dean of the Law Center, Bill Treanor, said that the university is “responding with the utmost seriousness to this situation.”

“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,” Treanor said in a university statement released Wednesday. “I am committed to taking steps to support students through this and to addressing racism and bias wherever they appear.” 

Sellers’ comments incited outrage at the university, prompting its Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action office to launch an investigation. 

“The Law School is also pursuing additional responses and will act swiftly and seriously to address this incident,” Treanor said.

The clip was posted to Twitter, where the conversation was deemed highly inappropriate and the university’s acknowledgment was cited as a “woefully inadequate statement.” 

“I recognize how hurtful this incident is to members of this class, to the members of the Black community, and to members of our community as a whole,” Trenor’s statement continued. “There is no place for bias in our grading process or anywhere in our community.”

According to NBC News, the conversation was also posted to Panopto, an online database for students to access class recordings. Students were able to view the video for weeks before it was removed from the platform. 

The Georgetown Black Law Students Association (BLSA) issued a petition calling for the professor’s termination which has garnered thousands of signatures from students, alumni and other Georgetown faculty members and sponsors who are galvanizing around the issue. 

New York Post also reported that the BLSA claimed the video exposes a “conscious and unconscious bias” in the university’s grading system and is adamant that Sellers’s duties as a professor are expeditiously discontinued. 

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

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