Our Statement on Jessica Krug

September 04, 2020

The members of the faculty of The George Washington University Department of History are shocked and appalled by Dr. Jessica Krug’s admission on September 3, 2020 that she has lied about her identity for her entire career. 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.

September 11, 2020

This has been a tumultuous week for the GW History Department to say the least. Last Thursday, Dr. Jessica Krug, at the time an associate professor of History and Africana Studies at GW, revealed in a blog post that she had been lying about her identity for her entire career. The news of what she herself termed her "audaciously deceptive" appropriation of an Afro-Caribbean identity stunned and enraged her students and colleagues. It led the department to take the unprecedented step of calling for her resignation and, failing that, the revocation of her tenure and termination of her appointment. On Wednesday, GW announced that Dr. Krug had resigned, effective immediately. While her resignation thankfully spared the department a drawn-out struggle, it did not bring the feelings unleashed by the revelation to an end. The previous evening, the department held a virtual town hall to allow students affected by Dr. Krug's confession to voice their thoughts and concerns. For two hours, they gave emotional testimonials about their feelings of anger at and betrayal by Dr. Krug. Many also criticized the department for the overwhelming whiteness of its faculty and alleged that it often appeared unwelcoming to students of color. The department is committed to addressing these concerns. While there is currently a hiring freeze at GW due to the pandemic, we recognize the need to diversify our department to include more faculty of color. We also intend to rethink our courses and syllabi to make them more inclusive. And going forward we will be holding more town halls so that we, the faculty, can hear from the students on a more regular basis, and they can hear from us. Hopefully, out of this deeply upsetting scandal, some good can come.

Dan Schwartz, Chair