A Zoom call between two Georgetown Law professors has gone viral after one expressed that all of her underperforming students are Black.
“I hate to say this. I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks,” Professor Sandra Sellers said. “Happens almost every semester. And it’s like, oh come on. It’s some really good ones, but there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom, it drives me crazy.”
Professor David Batson is seen nodding in agreement.
The clip was available on the university’s website but was taken down after being reported by a student in the class that the professors taught together. They are currently being investigated for their remarks.
The comments have gone viral for the racist undertones.
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Josie Duffy Rice, host of The Justice Podcast which examines the legal system wrote on Twitter that watching the exchange gave her “heart palpitations.”
“I was one of four black people in my 80 person law school section. By the end of first semester we were down to 3,” Rice wrote. “All year I was terrified of speaking up and asking questions, because I knew one misstep would perpetuate the idea that we weren’t REALLY good enough to be there.”
“It is unsurprising that many law professors feel this way, though, because this is how the legal system operates,” she added. “She thinks black people are either dumb or lazy, even when smart hardworking people like her give them a chance they don’t deserve. The legal system thinks that, too.”
The Georgetown Law Black Law Students Association condemned the remarks calling for the University to perform an audit of Sellers’ pas classes and to commit to hiring more Black professors.
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Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor said in a statement, “We learned earlier this week that two members of our faculty engaged in a conversation that included reprehensible statements concerning the evaluation of Black students, We are responding with the utmost seriousness to this situation. I have watched a video of this conversation and find the content to be abhorrent. It includes conduct that has no place in our educational community. We must ensure that all students are treated fairly and evaluated on their merits.”
“We are taking this incident extremely seriously. Upon hearing of it, I immediately engaged the University’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Affirmative Action, which is undertaking a thorough investigation,” he continued. “The Law School is also pursuing additional responses and will act swiftly and seriously to address this incident.”
“I recognize how hurtful this incident is to members of this class, to the members of the Black community, and to members of our community as a whole. I am committed to taking steps to support students through this and to addressing racism and bias wherever they appear,” Treanor added. “There is no place for bias in our grading process or anywhere in our community.”
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