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George Washington Professor Who Reportedly Faked Being Black Resigns

George Washington University says Jessica A. Krug has resigned from her position as an associate professor at the school.
Jonathan Newton
The Washington Post via Getty Images
George Washington University says Jessica A. Krug has resigned from her position as an associate professor at the school.

George Washington University says associate professor Jessica A. Krug has resigned, after a blog post published under her name last week said she had invented several Black identities.

The blog post stated that Krug is actually a white, Jewish woman from the Midwest, who for years has "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 apparent fabrications garnered swift criticism from the academic community. Krug worked in GWU's history department, focusing on politics and cultural practices in Africa and the African diaspora. GWU said in an email to the university community on Wednesday afternoon that her resignation is 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 university said. It encouraged students, faculty and staff impacted by the incident to seek support.

"We hope that with this update our community can begin to heal and move forward," the GWU statement read.

Krug has not responded to NPR requests for comment about her resignation or whether she actually wrote the blog post. However, it's worth noting that she has not publicly distanced herself from the post since it was published on Sept. 3.

A day after the post was released, GWU said Krug "would not be teaching her classes this semester" while it reviewed the situation.

The post predicted that her apparent confession would cause pain: "People have fought together with me and have fought for me, and my continued appropriation of a Black Caribbean identity is not only, in the starkest terms, wrong — unethical, immoral, anti-Black, colonial — but it means that every step I've taken has gaslighted those whom I love."

"I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech," the writer said, adding that mental health issues probably contribute to why she assumed a false identity.

Some members of the academic community have demanded more than Krug's resignation. Yomaira Figueroa, an assistant professor of global diaspora studies at Michigan State University, told NPR last week that she thinks Krug "took up some of the very few — very few — resources and spaces that there are available to Black and Latino scholars and use those to her advantage."

"There absolutely has to be a form of restitution for the things that she took. It's egregious," Figueroa added.

Lisa Betty, a doctoral candidate at Fordham University, echoed that call in a blog post. "Krug took up space, opportunity, time, and money. I call for reparations."

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Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.