Yale University Dean Placed On Leave For Yelp Reviews

| by Michael Allen

June Chu, the dean of Yale University's Pierson College in New Haven, Connecticut, was placed on leave on May 18 after controversial Yelp reviews she wrote surfaced.

In one review, Chu made derogatory remarks about customers at a local Japanese steakhouse, notes The Associated Press. 

"If you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you!" she wrote.

Chu wrote a 2015 review about a movie theater where there were "barely educated morons trying to manage snack orders for the obese," Yale Daily News reports. Chu also complained that she had to "remain in line with all the other idiots."

Chu slammed a restaurant in another review: "Everyone raves about the views but seriously -- it’s New Haven. Come on. There is no view."

Pierson Head Stephen Davis told members of the residential college via email on May 18 that Chu had been placed on leave because of numerous "reprehensible posts," notes the AP.

Davis said Chu's Yelp reviews were "deeply harmful to the community fabric."

"Let me be clear, 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," he wrote in the email.

Davis said Chu would not be a part of the university’s May 22 commencement.

Chu did not comment to the AP, but sent an email to the college community on May 13, notes the Yale Daily News:

I have learned a lot this semester about the power of words and about the accountability that we owe one another. My remarks were wrong. There are no two ways about it. 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's biography page on the Pierson College website recalls her background:

For seven years she was the Director of the Pan Asian American Community House at the University of Pennsylvania and most recently served as Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students at Dartmouth College, working with the 2015 class starting at their matriculation.

In these various teaching and administrative roles she has sought to help students not only succeed academically but to support their holistic academic experience and multifaceted identities.

Dean Chu has an extensive research background that involves best practices in advising in higher education, and she has published articles and presented papers on a range of topics, from the advising of first-year college students to family, cultural, and psychological dimensions of the experiences of Asian American and Asian adolescents.

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