Black law students at Georgetown took action after a racist viral video showed two adjunct professors engaged in an exchange that students say confirms their suspicions. While Sandra Sellers‘ relationship with Georgetown Law School was terminated Thursday, some students say the school delayed in acting.
Slate reported the school did not act until after the administration received a letter from the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) with signatures from hundreds of current students and alumni. Fifty-one other law student organizations and 74 BLSA chapters also signed on.
The students called for the immediate termination of Sellers and demanded the other adjunct professor on the video, David Batson, apologize for “his failure to adequately condemn Sellers’ statements.”
The letter also requested the law school hire more Black professors to ensure they evaluate Black students in a non-biased manner. In addition, students demanded the school improve subjective class assessments and audit Sellers’ prior grading.
First reported on Monday, it took the Georgetown Law School administration nearly three days to respond to the racist video. The adjunct professors, both white, were caught on video trashing a Black student’s class performance.
Sellers also commented on the way the Black student spoke, raising concerns about her ability to evaluate students of diverse backgrounds and students with disabilities.
“…when he did talk, they were a bit jumbled. It’s the best way I can put it, it’s like okay let me reason through that what you just said,” said Sellers in the video that went viral after Georgetown Law student Hassan Ahmad tweeted it.
ABC News reported the dean of the law school gave the professors an “opportunity to provide additional context” before action was taken.
Batson nodded while Sellers complained about what she said were the poor performances of Black law students. During the conversation, Sellers said that before the semester begins she typically worries that her lowest-performing students will be Black.
The group pointed to another professor who used the N-word in class earlier in the school year. Despite meetings with the administration, that professor kept her title and benefits. That incident came after the dean spoke out about the need to “recommit to the struggle for the equal treatment of all people and to the fight against racism in all its forms.”