A Georgetown University law professor was fired after a discussion she had with another professor about the “angst” she felt each semester upon learning that black students ended up with lower grades was leaked online, which created an outcry from members of their community.
“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,” Sandra Sellers said. “Happens almost every semester and it’s like ‘oh come on.'”
“I get some really good ones but there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom, it drives me crazy… I feel bad,” she said.
Sellers was fired after her comments, which are observations of fact, were made public. Georgetown Law Dean Bill Treanor said Sellers would be fired for the comments. The professor who was listening to her, David Batson, has also been put on leave awaiting the results of an investigation conducted by the university’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action.
The Daily Wire reports that the conversation was posted to Panopto, an online database accessible by students. The Black Law Student Association circulated a petition calling for Sellers’ termination, which gathered more than 1,000 signatures to demand action against her.
In a statement to Fox News, Treanor described the conversation as “reprehensible.”
“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,” Georgetown Law Dean Bill Treanor said in a letter.
The Daily Wire reports that following her termination, attorney Hans Bader argued that Sellers’ comments are likely protected by her contract with the university, which claims to support “academic freedom.”
Bader argues that the investigation and punishment of Sellers violates academic freedom.
Sellers has since provided Fox News with a copy of her resignation letter, which included an apology for her comments in which she says she is “deeply sorry for my hurtful and misdirected remarks.”
“While the video of this incident is an excerpt from a longer discussion about class participation patterns, not overall grades, it doesn’t diminish the insensitivity I have demonstrated,” she said. “I would never do anything to intentionally hurt my students or Georgetown Law and wish I could take back my words.”
Sellers has found unlikely defenders in the conservative movement, who have defended the statement that got her into trouble given their presentation of factual reality, which makes students uncomfortable.
Posting on Twitter, attorney Ted Frank said “only thing reprehensible here is the statement of the Dean throwing his faculty member under the bus instead of telling students unpleasant truths.”