UW graduate student CV Vitolo-Haddad apologized and resigned from their teaching assistant position after allegations of falsely claiming to be a person of color Sept. 8.
The move comes after a UW alumnus Jessica Krug, now a former associate professor at George Washington University, revealed in a post on Medium she had been lying about being Black throughout her professional life.
In another Medium post, an anonymous UW graduate student said Vitolo-Haddad identified as a “person of color” when the anonymous poster first met them years ago. The anonymous source wrote they had heard conflicting accounts from friends about Vitolo-Haddad’s narratives of their race and ancestry.
“CV outright refused to explicitly state their racial self-identification, even when asked in good faith by people seeking community with them,” the graduate student wrote. “From what I have heard from other graduate students in their department, people were afraid to ask them for more detail, lest they be accused of the racism CV purported to experience so often.”
The anonymous poster said Vitolo-Haddad’s social media suggested they were Latinx and they had been a victim of racism. According to the post, Vitolo-Haddad’s last name, Haddad, was “appropriated” from a previous marriage, and Vitolo-Haddad grew up in a wealthy Italian family in Florida.
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In a second statement on Medium, Vitolo-Haddad apologized for their actions.
“In trying to make sense of my experiences with race, I grossly misstepped. I went along with however people saw me,” Vitolo-Haddad wrote. “I over-identified with unreliable and unproven family history and latched onto anything I remembered growing up.”
They said they should have denied being Black every time they were asked and they should not have inserted themself into Black organizing spaces.
Vitolo-Haddad resigned from their position as a teaching assistant at UW and co-chairperson at the Teaching Assistants’ Association. TAA released a statement condemning Vitolo-Haddad’s actions.
“We condemn CV Vitolo-Haddad’s appropriation of Black and Brown identities in no uncertain terms … we recognize that our union is the product of a labor movement infused with white supremacy and anti-Blackness,” TAA said in the statement.
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TAA said they will work on reforming their electoral process and becoming more welcoming for graduate students of color.
TAA added they will continue protesting UW’s Smart Restart plan and will also discontinue actions Vitolo-Haddad was directly involved in organizing.
“I acknowledge that most of the trust I destroyed cannot be rebuilt,” Vitolo-Haddad said. “I want to provide redress that is appropriate for each individual I’ve harmed, not a blanket resolution.”