WASHINGTON – Jessica Krug, a George Washington University associate professor of history who lied about being Black, has resigned from her tenured position, officials said Wednesday.
Krug’s classes on Latin American and African history will be taught by other faculty members, according to the university’s Twitter account.
Krug, a White woman whose academic career has centered on African and Latin American history, revealed in a Medium blog post last week that she had been lying about her race. She said she has claimed multiple racial identities, including African American, North African and Black Caribbean.
“For the better part of my adult life, every move I’ve made, every relationship I’ve formed, has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies,” Krug wrote.
Krug did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
GWU’s history department responded to Krug’s blog post by calling for her resignation. She had been teaching at the university since 2012.
“With what she has termed her ‘audaciously deceptive’ appropriation of an Afro-Caribbean identity, she has betrayed the trust of countless current and former students, fellow scholars of Africana Studies, colleagues in our department and throughout the historical discipline, as well as community activists in New York City and beyond,” the department said in a statement. Krug, outside of teaching, was an activist who opposed gentrification in New York.
“With her conduct, Dr. Krug has raised questions about the veracity of her own research and teaching,” department officials said in the statement.
The university’s Black Student Union also condemned Krug, calling her actions a symptom of an institutionwide problem.
“It is embarrassing the lack of authentic Black and Latinx faculty at this institution that made room for a person like Jessica Krug,” students said in a statement. “Our students are embarrassed to attend George Washington University.”
About 25% of full-time GWU faculty members are people of color, data from the university shows.
Krug, in the blog post, said mental health issues probably explain why she developed false identities as a child and why she continued to do so as an adult. Krug grew up in suburban Kansas City, Kan., and said she has been alienated from her family.
The former professor wrote extensively on the topic of Blackness. Her book, “Fugitive Modernities: Politics and Identity Outside the State in Kisama, Angola, and the Americas, c. 1594-Present,” earned her spots as a finalist for awards named for Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
Krug’s scholarship helped her gain access to a tightknit community of Black scholars, many of whom have publicly denounced Krug’s deception.
Krug’s students have also been affected. Aria Sakona, a 21-year-old senior, was taking Krug’s Latin American history class and said she was shocked by the former professor’s announcement.
“We all placed a lot of trust in her,” Sakona said.
In an email, Brian Blake, the university’s provost, and Paul Wahlbeck, dean of the university’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – which houses the history department – said Krug’s former students will receive more information this week about their classes.
“We hope that with this update our community can begin to heal and move forward,” the statement said.