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'Another Academic Racial Fraud,' This Time in Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin-Madison grad student CV Vitolo-Haddad confesses to being mostly Italian
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2020 8:24 AM CDT

(Newser) – Apparently, academics pretending to be Black is a thing? Earlier this month, George Washington University professor Jessica Krug resigned her position after penning an admission on how she'd faked being Black. Now, out of Wisconsin, a similar case. Per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, University of Wisconsin-Madison PhD student CV Vitolo-Haddad has resigned from their teaching position and as co-president of the school's TA grad student union after admitting to cultural appropriation in a Sept. 6 Medium post. "In trying to sort through parts of who I am, I've taken some very wrong turns," Vitolo-Haddad, who uses they/them pronouns, wrote. Their online apology was preceded by a Medium post two days prior titled "Another Academic Racial Fraud?" The anonymous writer presented what they claimed was evidence of Vitolo-Haddad's "race-shifting and copious lying."

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After Vitolo-Haddad's online disclosure, they posted a follow-up saying they were "Southern Italian/Sicilian" but that their parents had "conflicting stories." "I have no idea what to believe and the public nature of this has left me scrambling and confused. I am deeply sorry for how this is playing out." Vitolo-Haddad added, "When asked if I identify as Black, my answer should have always been 'No.' ... I should have never entered Black organizing spaces." A UW-Madison rep tells the Journal Sentinel that Vitolo-Haddad isn't a current TA there, and per CNN, Vitolo-Haddad has also lost a gig at Cal State Fresno that was due to start in the fall of 2021. Meanwhile, the grad student workers union laments in a statement that it "unknowingly rewarded the toxic opportunism of performing Blackness" by electing Vitolo-Haddad to an executive position: "We intend to immediately begin the work of repairing this harm." (Read more University of Wisconsin-Madison stories.)

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