Jessica Krug, a white history professor at George Washington University, has resigned from her post after confessing she had falsely claimed to be black.
“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,” said the university in a release on Wednesday.
Krug had penned a piece for Medium, which was published last week, saying she had claimed identities as her own “when I had absolutely no right to do so.”
She listed “North African Blackness, US rooted Blackness, and Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness” as the identities she lied about belonging to.
“I have thought about ending these lies many times over many years, but my cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics. I know right from wrong. I know history. I know power. I am a coward,” she wrote. “There is no ignorance, no innocence, nothing to claim, nothing to defend. I have moved wrong in every way for years.”
In her article, she also mentioned suffering from mental health issues, noting that it would neither explain nor justify what she did.
The university took immediate action in response to Krug’s confession on September 4, announcing that Krug would not be teaching her classes this semester, while the university reviewed the case.
“We want to acknowledge the pain this situation has caused for many in our community and recognize that many students, faculty, staff and alumni are hurting,” a statement from the university said, adding that students who have been affected should seek support from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE), Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), or Office of Advocacy and Support (OAS).
Her colleagues in the university’s history department also issued a statement, in which they said they were “shocked and appalled” by Krug’s admission that “she has lied about her identity for her entire career,” and called on her to step down.
Krug taught African and Latin American history at George Washington University.
Fugitive Modernities: Kisama and the Politics of Freedom, a book by Krug, became a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize and Harriet Tubman Prize in 2019.