University officials have said Jessica Krug will no longer teach classes this semester. She was a professor of African and Latin American studies.
Krug’s sister-in-law, who did not want to be identified, told CNN that her husband has been estranged from his sister for 20 years. She said Krug is as “white as snow white.”
“There’s no way she’s Black, I can tell you that, there’s no member of the family that is Black,” the sister-in-law said, confirming that her husband and Krug are Jewish and grew up in Kansas. “Our last name is tarnished, and all my husband and I want to do is cry our eyes out right now. I can only imagine my father-in-law rolling around in his grave.”
She said they were unaware that she was lying about her race until they received a call from a reporter Thursday evening.
“We had no clue, we are shocked right now and hurt. Our name is ruined,” she added. “It hurts because she slapped everyone in the face, not only her family, she slapped every Black woman in the face.”
The sister-in-law said she’s not met Krug, and she’s not welcome in their household. Requests for comment from Krug have not been returned.
Throughout her adult life, Krug had masqueraded as North African, African American and “Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness,” she said in the essay.
She apologized for what she calls her “continued appropriation of a Black Caribbean identity,” saying she was wrong, unethical, immoral, anti-Black and colonial.
“I am not a culture vulture,” she wrote. “I am a culture leech.”
One student at GWU who had a class with Krug told CNN she fronted as an Afro-Latina woman from the Bronx.
In a message to students, university Provost Brian Blake and Dean Paul Wahlbeck on Friday said the university is reviewing the situation. Classes at GWU began on August 31.
“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,” the message said, offering support to students and faculty through the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement and Counseling and Psychological Services.
GWU did not comment further on the situation.