A professor at South Carolina’s Furman University resigned Tuesday following allegations that she pretended to be Hispanic, a university spokesman said.
An anonymous writer accused Kelly Kean Sharp, an assistant professor of African-American history, of the “fabrication and strategic use of a Chicana identity.”
The writer said that he or she knew Sharp when she was a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, and that Sharp only recently began identifying as Chicana.
Sharp reportedly identified herself as Chicana in her Twitter profile, which has since been removed.
According to screenshots provided by her accuser, Sharp also tweeted that her grandmother “came to the US during WWII and worked hard so I could become a teacher.”
The accuser reportedly investigated Sharp’s “newfound identity” and found that “Kelly had no grandparents who were born outside of the United States or had Hispanic names.”
The accuser also references the claim made in Sharp’s since-deleted Furman biography that her research on the antebellum South was inspired partially by the “majority-minority population” of her hometown of Encinitas, California.
Encinitas is 88.7 percent white, census records show, and “known to anyone from California for being a wealthy beach community,” according to Sharp’s accuser.
Furman University did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Furman spokesman Tom Evelyn told InsideHigherEd that Sharp had resigned.
The accuser asks how much Sharp benefited from her claims to Mexican heritage, noting that Sharp “found a tenure-track job after graduating, a rare commodity in academia today.”
“Perhaps she won the job simply because she investigated the role of slave women in shaping consumption and markets in the antebellum South,” the anonymous author writes.
“But is it possible that the complex identity provided by her imagined Mexican immigrant grandmother helped her to secure this diversity hire?”
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