Georgetown Law has fired a professor for "reprehensible" comments about Black students that were shared online.
Dean of Georgetown Law Bill Treanor said he was “appalled” by the “reprehensible” statements made by former professor Sandra Sellers and David Batson, another professor who was placed on administration leave, in a letter to the Georgetown Law community on Thursday.
Treanor said he spoke with both professors while reviewing the incident for further 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,” Treanor said.
Batson has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the school’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action. Batson will not be involved in courses while the investigation is being conducted.
“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,” Treanor added.
Sellers was heard in a video discussion with Batson talking over her "angst" about the performance of Black students, NBC News reported.
The conversation was recorded and posted on the online database Panopto which students have access to as they attend virtual classes.
“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.
According to NBC News, the Black Law Student Association had already collected over a thousand signatures demanding that the school take action before Sellers's termination was announced. The petition called for an audit of past grades and student evaluations as well as a commitment to hire more Black professors.