Reputation and Character Assassination in Academia: A Jessica Krug Story

By Arya Rashidian

The reputation of a professor is how the students perceive the image of the professor based on their decisions, actions, and moral responsibility towards their classroom and academia. A professor’s reputation greatly affects the classroom and the students in it, and being dishonest can shame and destroy their reputation and the institution they teach in. Especially, when examining the case of Jessica Krug, a George Washington University (GWU) professor, who was called on for dishonesty regarding her race and hometown status for several years. Her action made her hunted by the media and students, attacking her discreditable nature, bringing her position as a tenured professor into question. This is a form of character attack. This negative imagery is something that Jessica Krug had to endure in GWU after her story was exposed to the media. This essay will predominantly focus on how detrimental a professor’s decisions, actions, and moral responsibility towards academia can become assassinated through an immoral decision, driven by a misguided self-interest, such as one discussed in the Jessica Krug story.

GWU Professor Jessica Krug is currently facing consequences due to the recent incident regarding her remarks. Students and other people around her seemed to think highly of her in the past, but the criticisms continue by the media. Some students are shocked and some of them lost their respect for the professor due to her lack of credibility. This led some students to vent their frustrations on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms regarding this situation which does not seem like it will stop anytime soon. This led to Professor Krug not being able to teach this fall semester at GWU. In the short-term, this hurts GWU’s reputation and their students. In the long term, this would hinder GWU’s credibility, as professors are known to be a source of credibility for universities. It would not be surprising if students look at professors in a negative way in the future.

Professors must be a little more careful because their reputation matters. After this incident, many will believe that a lot more people will be careful with their actions and words because if an educated person like a college professor gets dismissed like that, just imagine how much easier it would be for a regular American to get relieved from their position(s). The same goes for students; they can get expelled from their universities, just for saying the wrong words. GWU’s professor made a reputation for herself by saying she was black and was from The Bronx, NY– but, she is white and from the suburbs of Kansas City.

In general, who would have thought lying about one’s race would harm one’s life? Some people may lie about their race because they want to feel more privileged and get the same opportunities as everyone else. Jessica Krug’s outright dishonesty and insensitivity in a country embattled in a civil rights war was unacceptable, and she will have to live with the fact that her actions have had a significant impact on professors, universities, and the field of research.

Humans are not perfect and are bound to make mistakes. Professors are humans too and they make mistakes. As human beings, we can avoid some mistakes but not all of them. Mistakes are made every day and you are supposed to learn from your mistakes. Many people around the world can now learn from Professor Krug’s situation, so everybody should think before speaking and acting.

Arya Rashidian is the founder and Director of Tutor Dudes Services, an educational company that provides a variety of tutoring and conceptual curriculum classes ranging to K-12 to college students. Arya graduated from George Mason University (GMU), in Spring 2020. He is hoping to pursue a Masters Degree in Political Science in Spring 2021. Arya is currently a Research and Marketing intern at CARP.

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