Georgetown law professor resigns after Zoom call comments

A Georgetown law professor has resigned after being placed on administrative leave over a Zoom conversation with a now-fired professor whom the school described as racist.

Georgetown Law professor David Batson resigned from the university after a Zoom call he participated was posted on Twitter. (Courtesy Twitter)

David Batson participated in the call — which was recorded and posted on social media by a student  — with former-Georgetown professor Sandra Sellers.

“I hate to say this. I ended up having this, you know, angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks. Happens almost every semester. And it’s like, ‘Oh, come on.’ You know. Get some really good ones but they’re also usually some that are just plain at the bottom. It drives me crazy,” Sellers was recorded saying in a meeting with Batson.

“What drives me crazy is, you know, the concept of how that plays out. And whether that is, you know, my own perceptions playing in here and when certain, my own, you know, my own unconscious biases, you know, playing out in the scheme of things,” Batson responded.

WTOP reached out to Georgetown asking for confirmation that Batson had submitted his resignation and that Georgetown Law Dean Bill Treanor had accepted.

“Yes and yes,” a university spokesperson said in an email.

Treanor released an updated statement Thursday afternoon in which he said he was “appalled” by the conversation between now-terminated professor Sandra Sellers and professor David Batson, who was placed on leave before resigning.

“I informed Professor Sellers that I was terminating her relationship with Georgetown Law effective immediately,” Treanor wrote.

The Georgetown University Law Center Black Students Association, noting that Sellers thought she was on a private call, had earlier released a statement and petition calling for Sellers’ immediate termination.

“These racist statements reveal not only Sellers’ beliefs about Black students in her classes, but also how her racist thoughts have translated to racist actions. Professor Sellers’s bias has impacted the grades of Black students in her classes historically, in her own words,” the BLSA statement reads.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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