In a racist misapplication of policies allegedly designed to protect students from racism, Georgetown University Law School has fired one professor and placed a second on administrative leave for comments expressing “angst” that African-American students tend to earn grades near the bottom of the grading scale.
Footage captured two colleagues, Georgetown Law professors Sandra Sellers and David Batson, commiserating on a Zoom call over their experiences grading students.
“You know what? I hate to say this, I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks,” Sellers commented to Batson. “Happens almost every semester and it’s like ‘oh come on.’”
Sellers added, “I get some really good ones but there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom, it drives me crazy… so I feel bad.”
The video shows Batson nodding his head, possibly indicating agreement, but remaining silent while listening to his colleague.
A video of the private conversation, which had followed the conclusion of an online class, was posted to an online database which was accessible to students. Once posted on social media, the video quickly went viral and sparked a petition by Georgetown’s Black Law Student Association which collected over 1,000 signatures demanding that Professors Sellers be fired.
Astoundingly, instead of rebuking the students for seeking to suppress facts that affect them, Georgetown Law School Dean Bill Treanor immediately acquiesced to the mob and fired Sellers. For the apparent thought crime of possibly agreeing with Sellers, Professor Batson was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, and later resigned.
The irony of this case lies in the fact that Sellers’ comments were the exact opposite of racist. She expressed her dismay that when assigning grades meritocratically, her African-American students, on average, earned lower grades than those of other races. This is a statement of fact, not evidence of discrimination. And being a concerned and dedicated educator, Sellers felt “angst” about this racial disparity. Where is the racism in that? Should she have artificially inflated the test scores of her African-American students in some misguided attempt at equity? If she had taken this step, that would be evidence of actual racism.
But this logic entirely escaped Georgetown Law School Dean Treanor. “I am appalled that two members of our faculty engaged in a conversation that included reprehensible statements concerning the evaluation of Black students,” Treanor said in a statement. “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.”
Dean Treanor noted that Sellers had offered her resignation, but he did not accept even this conciliatory gesture, instead notifying her that he was “terminating her relationship with Georgetown Law effective immediately.”
Despite being summarily fired by the University, Sellers used the opportunity to issue an apology for her “insensitivity.”
“My comments were the inarticulate reflection of long soul searching. I must do better to understand and address these issues,” Sellers wrote in a resignation letter. “I am committed to doing this for myself and also looking for ways I can combat racism in the Georgetown community.”
As head of Georgetown University Law School, Dean Treanor speaks with the weight of the university behind him. His anti-intellectual and anti-educational decision to fire a professor for publicly voicing her concern about the poor performance of African-American students demonstrates contempt for academic freedom and racism toward those very students. Instead of investigating the reasons why African-American students are in fact performing poorly—and seeking to remedy them—he punished the messenger who sought to raise the issue. Furthermore, there is zero indication that other administrators within the Georgetown hierarchy attempted to challenge his decision. Clearly the entire university has been so thoroughly inculcated with critical race theory that even the professors in this case admitted their “guilt” and attempted to resign before they could be fired.
Dean Treanor has also announced that the incident will have larger implications for the university community, writing in a statement that he is planning to implement “a range of actions and changes” 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.” Instead of ensuring that all students at Georgetown Law receive an excellent legal education, Dean Treanor is more concerned that they be indoctrinated with the racist precepts of critical race theory.
For its decision to summarily fire one professor and discipline another because they dared to discuss and lament the poor academic performance of African-American students—an anti-racist sentiment— Georgetown deserves its place among America’s most racist colleges and universities.