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Professor investigated for pretending to be black resigns

Jessica Krug ‘has resigned her position, effective immediately,’ according to university

George Washington University Associate Professor of History Jessica Krug, who built a successful career as a black woman before admitting earlier this month she is actually white, has resigned from her job.

An announcement Wednesday by George Washington University states: “Update regarding Jessica Krug: Dr. Krug has resigned her position, effective immediately. Her classes for this semester will be taught by other faculty members, and students in those courses will receive additional information this week.”

The news comes after GWU officials had said last week they were looking into the situation but could not comment further on personnel matters.

In a Sept. 3 Medium post titled “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies,” Krug wrote that she had “eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness.”

Krug’s areas of expertise had included African American history, imperialism and colonialism, and she built her career researching slavery and colonialism. She is author of “Fugitive Modernities” and “has also written on hip hop, politics, and gender,” according to her faculty bio.

After Krug came out as white, some suggested the confession was given under duress after she had been found out. Others called for her resignation, including students and peers.

Writing in the campus newspaper the GW Hatchet, the opinion editor of the paper argued Krug must leave the university and stop teaching.

“This semester, she’s teaching classes on African and Latin American history. She’s met her students this week,” Hannah Thacker wrote. “But Krug doesn’t deserve to have a relationship with them when her platform is built off lies. She should hand her classes over to a more reputable and honest professor.”

On Sept. 4, the GWU History Department also put out a statement saying its faculty were “shocked and appalled” by Krug’s confession and demanded her resignation:

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 discipline of history is concerned with truth telling about the past. With her conduct, Dr. Krug has raised questions about the veracity of her own research and teaching. Accordingly, the department calls upon Dr. Krug to resign from her position as associate professor of History at GW. Failing that, the department recommends the rescinding of her tenure and the termination of her appointment.

The Hatchet reports that for many of Krug’s former students, they now “realize her actions in fabricating her identity were a ‘performance.'” It also reports that a campus spokesperson would not say if students had raised suspicions about Krug prior to her public confession; what’s more, “Seven history professors declined to comment and 29 professors did not return requests for comment.”

As Krug’s story unfolded, many observers dug through her old appearances and writings.

Conservative GWU alumnus Kara Zupkus, weighing in on Krug’s resignation on Twitter, pointed out it’s “almost like society putting such a ridiculous emphasis on race and victim culture instead of individual achievements & ideological diversity will eventually lead to crazy people like Dr. Krug.”

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