Objection! Georgetown Law Professor Fired After Making Disparaging Comments About Black Students on Video Call

Illustration for article titled Objection! Georgetown Law Professor Fired After Making Disparaging Comments About Black Students on Video Call
Photo: SAUL LOEB (Getty Images)

The latest instance of academic racism takes us to Georgetown Law, where a professor lost her job after making disparaging comments about Black students.

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According to the Washington Post, professors Sandra Sellers and David Batson at the Washington, D.C., university were having a conversation over a video call. At one point during the call, the professor saw fit to disparage the academic efforts of 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 is heard saying in the video. “And it’s like, ‘Oh, come on.’ You get some really good ones, but there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom. It drives me crazy,” she added.

Maybe—hear me out—that means you should do a better job of reaching out to those students, perhaps see what factors might be contributing to their perceived underperformance and provide some recommendations on how they can improve. If it really “drives you crazy,” then do something more than just complaining about it over Zoom.

The video was uploaded to Panopto, an online database that students have been using to learn virtually as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The call was initially a lesson on negotiations, but Batson and Sellers stayed on the call after students left and had their conversation. As a result, their exchange was uploaded as part of the lesson.

Do we need to give technical incompetence an NAACP Award? Because it never fails to put racists on blast, y’all.

Understandably, the Black Law Student Association was not feeling the professor’s comments in the slightest, and created a petition that has already garnered over a thousand signatures from students, alumni, and others. The petition calls for the professor to be fired, a commitment from the school to hire more Black professors and an audit of the professor’s past grades and student evaluations. The group has also called on Batson to publicly apologize for not pushing back against Seller’s comments in the video.

At least one of those demands were met, as Law Center Dean William Treanor confirmed that Sellers has been fired. Batson is currently on administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation by the university’s office of diversity, equity and affirmative action. Sellers initially intended to resign, and in a resignation letter shared with the Washington Post, she apologized for her “hurtful and misdirected remarks.”

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.

DISCUSSION

feministonfire
FeministOnFire

I read at age 3, lived at libraries with my nose in a book and went to the gifted high school. I flunked HS trigonometry. I wrote a letter, at age 22, that unbeknownst to me, formed the entire basis for a federal lawsuit. After that, as a grown-ass woman, I attained a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Dean’s List all through, having taken Algebra II and III concurrently getting an A and a A-, AND winning a scholarship.

As an even older ass grown woman in grad school, I struggled mightily in finance and quantitative stats. I was the only over-25 student in a small class of about 12 with six foreign students, and the only Black. The QS Prof crossed her legs and smirked saying there is no ‘tutoring’ or extra help for game theory because At.This.Level I should be able to figure it out. She tried it cuz ‘White Woman’. Her posture changed and the fear returned when I leaned forward, swuinted and said that At.This.Price.Point I expect resources to be made available to me and that I saw firsthand that I wasn’t the only one not following. Oh, and that I had read the foreign students’ so-calledA’ papers which showed no deductions for the incoherent writing, poor grammar, syntax and just incorrect answers as defined in the syllabus.

Suddenly, in the next class, worksheets of helpful hints were passed out and carefully assigned teams put an international student in every project. Cuz she knew that if I started failing, I was gonna blow up the bullshit free pass program given to SOME students! Subsequently, where I’d miss step 4, 17 and 30 out of 50 calculations, my teammates would catch them and I’d cleanup, collate and re-write all the analyses. Just.Like.In The.Real.World. Nobody is good at everything and somebody has to be at the bottom. Try to notice when it’s the dumb white football player or the workshop white guy or the stinky weirdo from Slovakia too! Because they’ll be silent about what they don’t know and you’ll pass them without a second thought!

We KNOW you do it cuz we see dumbass muhfukkas with advanced degrees from prestigious universities unable to form thoughts into cohesive, coherent sentences verbally or in writing on the job and out in public every day.

Donald Fucking Trump, bitch!