Georgetown Law professor fired over leaked call complaining about Black students' grades

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A Georgetown law school professor was fired for her comments about Black student grades. Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images
  • A Georgetown Law professor has been fired over comments about Black students.

  • In a Zoom call, Sandra Sellers told a colleague "a lot of my lower ones are Blacks."

  • After video of the call was shared, Sellers was fired and her colleague was placed on leave.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Georgetown law school professor Sandra Sellers was fired after a leaked Zoom video showed her speaking negatively about Black students.

In the video, Sellers was speaking with Professor David Batson about how her students fair in class.

"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, shared by Hassan Ahmad on Twitter. "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."

In the video, Batson muttered in the affirmative, but didn't challenge or include his own thoughts on the subject.

The video, which has been retweeted more than 7,000 times, caused controversy on campus and prompted a statement from the Law Center administration.

On Thursday, William Treanor, dean of the Georgetown University Law Center, released a statement that Sellers' relationship with the school has been terminated and Batson was placed on leave.

"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," he wrote. "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."

Thursday morning, the school's Black Law Students Association posted a statement to Twitter, calling Sellers' comments racist, demanding her termination, and urging the school to audit grades and student evaluations in the professor's previous classes.

"Not only is this situation revealing of Sellers' true beliefs about Black students, it is also illustrative of the conscious and unconscious bias systematically present in law school grading at Georgetown Law and in law school classrooms nationwide," the association wrote.

Sellers, who has taught at Georgetown for more than 20 years, shared her resignation letter with The New York Times, in which she expressed regret for her comments.

She called her words an "inarticulate reflection of long soul searching," and said she must do better to understand the issue.

"I would never do anything to intentionally hurt my students or Georgetown Law and wish I could take back my words," Sellers wrote, according to the Times. "Regardless of my intent, I have done irreparable harm and I am truly sorry for this."

A message left for Batson was not immediately returned Friday morning.

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