Academic Disgrace of the Week

Colleges and universities are working extra hard to disgrace themselves this week, and four efforts in particular stand out.

What’s this? Another white woman claiming to be black? Inside Higher Ed reports:

Historian Jessica Krug, who last week admitted to being white and faking being Black for her entire career, resigned from her associate professorship at George Washington University, effective immediately, the institution announcedWednesday.

But on the heels of her scandal comes another confession of racial fraud from a scholar. This time it’s a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison — where Krug got her own Ph.D.

The graduate student in question is CV Vitolo-Haddad, a Ph.D. candidate in journalism and mass communication. They (Vitolo-Haddad’s preferred pronoun) were outed last week via an anonymous post on Medium and subsequently wrote two posts of their own on the platform.

Vitolo-Haddad described their own actions as letting “guesses about my ancestry become answers I wanted but couldn’t prove” and allowing people to “make assumptions when I should have corrected them.”

If “white privilege” rules all, why would someone claim falsely to be black?

The University of Rhode Island is taking down a World War II mural because — wait for it — it “isn’t diverse enough.” The College Fix reports:

The University of Rhode Island recently announced plans to remove two murals depicting World War II veterans because it lacks “diversity and a sensitivity to today’s complex and painful problems,” according to the university.

Kathy Collins, vice president of student affairs, told CBS 12 she received complaints because the two folk-art murals portraying life in the GI Bill era of the 1950s “portray a very homogeneous population” and that most of the people depicted in the murals are “predominantly white.”

Collins also told the CBS news affiliate that some students told the school they “didn’t feel comfortable sitting in that space.”

However, the University of Edinburgh has these two colleges beat. They’re taking David Hume’s name off of a campus building because —wait for it!Hume was a racist!

Edinburgh University has renamed its David Hume Tower over the philosopher’s “comments on matters of race.”

The building, which will be used as a student study space this academic year, will now be known as 40 George Square. An online petition claiming David Hume “wrote racist epithets” and calling for the building to be renamed has been signed more than 1,700 times.

The university said Hume’s comments on race, “though not uncommon at the time, rightly cause distress today.” The decision was announced in a statement on the work of its equality and diversity committee and its race equality and anti-racist sub-committee.

Okay, fine, but when can we expect that Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels will be expunged from the curricula because of his frequent use of the n-word?* See:

But no—the University of Chicago has them all beat this week, with this recent announcement from its graduate program in English:

Faculty Statement (July 2020)

The English department at the University of Chicago believes that Black Lives Matter, and that the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks matter, as do thousands of others named and unnamed who have been subject to police violence. As literary scholars, we attend to the histories, atmospheres, and scenes of anti-Black racism and racial violence in the United States and across the world. We are committed to the struggle of Black and Indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality.

For the 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle, the University of Chicago English Department is accepting only applicants interested in working in and with Black Studies. We understand Black Studies to be a capacious intellectual project that spans a variety of methodological approaches, fields, geographical areas, languages, and time periods. For more information on faculty and current graduate students in this area, please visit our Black Studies page.

I especially enjoy this ritual confession of guilt:

English as a discipline has a long history of providing aesthetic rationalizations for colonization, exploitation, extraction, and anti-Blackness. Our discipline is responsible for developing hierarchies of cultural production that have contributed directly to social and systemic determinations of whose lives matter and why. And while inroads have been made in terms of acknowledging the centrality of both individual literary works and collective histories of racialized and colonized people, there is still much to do as a discipline and as a department to build a more inclusive and equitable field for describing, studying, and teaching the relationship between aesthetics, representation, inequality, and power.

Here’s a suggestion: every faculty member in the English department who is a white male should immediately resign their position so as to make room for a person of color to fill the position.

* P.S. It would seem some people on the left are worried about Marx’s vulnerability to the thought crime police. Read carefully and notice how certain terms in the original German from this passage from Marx are translated:

Hat tip: Phil Magness.

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