A Yale University dean has been placed on leave after screencaps surfaced of her calling people “white trash” on Yelp.
On Saturday, the Yale Daily News discovered Pierson College Dean June Chu made negative Yelp views condemning restaurants around the New Haven area for not being authentically Asian enough and for their “white trash” patrons.
In one review for a Japanese restaurant, Chu wrote, "To put it quite simply: if you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you!” The review went on to say the restaurant is “definitely not authentic by any stretch of any imagination and perfect for those low class folks who believe this is a real night out.” She also pointed out the employees appear to be Chinese, not Japanese.
Chu herself identifies as Chinese, not Japanese.
Another review of Chu’s, this time for a mochi store, shows her pointing out again that she is Asian before going in to a tirade about how “if you’re a white person who has no clue what mochi is, this would be fine for you.”
In a review for a movie theater, Chu calls employees “barely educated morons” and “obese.”
Chu apologized for her Yelp reviews on Saturday.
“I have learned a lot this semester about the power of words and about the accountability that we owe one another,” Chu said in an email to residential college community at Yale. “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.”
Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway said administrators met and decided Chu should email the members of her residential college. Holloway applauded Chu for being “very honest” in her apology.
Although many of her comments were made during her tenure as dean, on Saturday, Holloway said he and Pierson Head Stephen Davis decided Chu would not be asked to resign.
“She’s terribly sorry, and I think she’s doing exactly the right thing by saying ‘I’ve learned from this, I want to stand by all of you and I hope that you’ll stand by me as well,’” he said.
However, the Yale Daily News reports that as of Thursday morning, Chu was placed on leave.
While Davis originally defended Chu, he said he discovered “multiple reprehensible” reviews. In an email sent on Thursday, Davis condemned Chu for denigrating and stereotyping others.
“Let me be clear,” his email said. “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.”
“What holds us together is our collective effort to ensure that every single person in our midst is valued beyond measure,” he said. “This is true not only in Pierson and across the [University,] but most emphatically throughout the city of New Haven and in every locale beyond.”
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