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University of Wisconsin Teaching Assistant Steps Down After Admitting to Pretending to be Black

A graduate student and teaching assistant has stepped down from a teaching role after admitting to feigning Black and Latino identities on multiple occasions. The former University of Wisconsin student admitted to being of Italian and Sicilian descent and apologized for the insincerity after another anonymous UW graduate student shared their suspicions about Vitolo-Haddad’s racial identity in a Medium post.

In a Medium post dated Sept. 4, an anonymous UW graduate student shared evidence that Ph.D. student CV Vitolo-Haddad had faked a Black and Latino identity. The anonymous student said they decided to make their suspicions public after former George Washington University professor Jessica Krug admitted she had pretended to be Black and/or Latino for most of her life although she was really a “white Jewish” woman.

“I have long suspected CV Vitolo, a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, of engaging in the same kind of race-shifting and copious lying that now has people enraged with Krug,” the unidentified student wrote in the post.

CV Vitolo-Haddad/Facebook

The author said they had been exposed to conflicting information about Vitolo-Haddad’s racial identity, since the two met upon Vitolo-Haddad’s matriculation to UW as a Ph.D. student in the school’s Department of Communication.

Vitolo-Haddad initially identified as a “person of color,” claiming Asian and Afro-Latinx heritage at different times to different people. On social media, Vitolo-Haddad alluded to having Ethiopian heritage, and identified as “lightskin.”

The author wrote that Vitolo-Haddad regularly posted on social media about being a victim of racism, saying the graduate student was “perpetually in a victim status, but also perpetually shifting in terms of the specifics.”

Vitolo-Haddad allegedly brought sage to class on one occasion to “cleanse the space of whiteness.” The author also noted that Vitolo-Haddad’s physical appearance had changed over time. The post includes a supposed image of Vitolo-Haddad, who appears as a white child in 2011, compared to recent images of the student with darker skin and curly hair.

CV Vitolo-Haddad circa 2011

Days after the anonymous post, Vitolo-Haddad admitted on Medium to being of Sicilian and Italian descent.

“First, I am deeply sorry and regretful to the people I deceived by inserting myself into Black organizing spaces I didn’t belong in. That deception was parasitic and harmful. I want to identify those moments and state what I should have done differently,” Vitolo-Haddad wrote.

Vitolo-Haddad admitted to feigning Black and Cuban identities on multiple occasions.

“I have resigned from my position as co-president of the Teaching Assistant’s Association and from my job at the university,” Vitolo-Haddad concluded. “Education is build on a foundation of trust and accountability, and until I repair that I should not be teaching.”

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