‘White trash’: Yale dean June Chu is placed on leave over offensive Yelp reviews
‘If you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you’, wrote Chu, mocking ‘low-class folks’
A Yale University dean has been placed on leave over offensive reviews she made on Yelp, including one in which she refers to customers of a local restaurant as “white trash.”
Pierson College Dean June Chu issued a public apology Saturday after reviews from her personal Yelp account began circulating at the Ivy League school.
Pierson Head Stephen Davis sent an email Thursday informing members of the residential college that Chu had been placed on leave after he discovered there were numerous “reprehensible posts,” not the two he had been led to believe existed.
“If you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you!” Chu wrote in a review about a Japanese restaurant, which she said lacked authenticity but was perfect for “those low-class folks who believe this is a real night out.”
“Side note: employees are Chinese, not Japanese,” added Chu, who identifies in one review as Chinese American. In another restaurant review she said, “I guess if you were a white person who has no clue what mochi is, this would be fine for you.”
In a 2015 review, she called a movie cinema’s employees “barely educated morons trying to manage snack orders for the obese and also try to add $7 plus $7.”
Davis said he discovered on Saturday night that there were other “reprehensible posts” that represented a more widespread pattern, compounded the harm of the first two and damaged his trust in Chu and her ability to lead the college.
“Let me be clear,” he wrote. “No one, especially those in trusted positions of educating young people, should denigrate or stereotype others, and that extends to any form of discrimination based on class, race, religion, age, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
Chu did not immediately return phone and email messages Thursday seeking comment.
On Saturday, she wrote to students that she was wrong to make the remarks.
“There are no two ways about it,” she wrote. “Not only were they insensitive in matters related to class and race; they demean the values to which I hold myself and which I offer as a member of this community.”
Chu was appointed Pierson’s dean in May 2016 after serving as an assistant dean of undergraduate students at Dartmouth College and before that as director of the Pan Asian American Community House at the University of Pennsylvania.
Her biography on the Yale website said that during her career she has “sought to help students not only succeed academically but to support their holistic academic experience and multifaceted identities.”
Davis said Chu will not participate in any activities related to the university’s May 22 commencement or work with students through the end of this academic year.
He did not directly address her long-term future with the school.
But he wrote that while he had envisioned a future before Saturday that included healing and reconciliation over Chu’s remarks, “Today I am grieving because I no longer can envision such a way forward.”
Additional reporting by the Washington Post