Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves two law professors getting fired from Georgetown University for racist remarks about Black Students.
Georgetown University Law Center on Thursday said that it had fired an adjunct professor who made “abhorrent” remarks about Black students on a video call, and another adjunct who was on the call with her resigned on Friday. The two adjunct professors, Sandra A. Sellers and David C. Batson, seemed to be unaware they were being recorded, according to a roughly 40 second clip of their conversation that generated widespread outrage after it was shared online.
In the clip, Sellers, a mediator with experience in intellectual property and high tech disputes, discussed the evaluation of Black students with Batson after their virtual class had ended, according to the university. “You know what? I hate to say this,” Sellers said on the video. “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 know? You get some really good ones. But there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom. It drives me crazy.”As she spoke, Batson murmured, “Mm-hmm,” but did not challenge her remarks.
The video prompted condemnation from students and alumni. The dean of the law school, William Treanor, said he had referred the matter to the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Affirmative Action, which had begun an investigation. He called the contents of the video, which the university learned about this week, “abhorrent” and said it “included reprehensible statements concerning the evaluation of Black students.” “It includes conduct that has no place in our educational community,” Treanor wrote addressing the law school on Wednesday. “We must ensure that all students are treated fairly and evaluated on their merits.”
Thursday morning, the university’s Black Law Students Association posted a letter to the administration calling for Sellers to be terminated and urging the law school to audit the grades and student evaluations in her past classes.
Treanor said he had spoken to Ms. Sellers and Mr. 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,” Treanor wrote. “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.”Before Batson announced his resignation on Friday, Treanor had said that Batson had been placed on administrative leave and was to “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,” Treanor wrote. “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.”
Batson, a mediator and former senior counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement, said he had resigned as an adjunct professor and was “deeply saddened by the disturbing situation.” The sentiments expressed on the video “are not mine and do not characterize my experience with Georgetown students,” he wrote in a resignation letter to Treanor, a copy of which he shared with The New York Times.“When suddenly and unexpectedly faced with such remarks, it is challenging to know how to appropriately respond,” Batson wrote. He said he understood, however, that he had “missed the chance to respond in a more direct manner to address the inappropriate content of those remarks,” he wrote. “For this, I sincerely apologize.”
The video began to circulate in group chats, and one student reported it to the administration on Monday. On Wednesday, the video has been viewed more than 750,000 times.