Yale University students are upset after insensitive Yelp reviews from a college dean emerged, mocking service people as “morons” and referring to restaurant patrons as “white trash,” the Yale Daily News reported.
The reviews were discovered after Pierson College Dean June Chu sent a letter to students in the residential college announcing she had become “Yelp Elite,” according to the YDN. Students then searched the review-sharing site and found messages Chu posted over the past few years.
Chu, who has been dean of Pierson since 2016, has since deleted her account, but the YDN took screenshots of some of the reviews. Some of the most egregious read:
“To put it quite simply, if you are white trash, this is the perfect night for you!” – Koto Japanese Restaurant review
“I guess if you were a white person who has no clue what mocha is, this would be fine for you.” – The Mochi Store review
“I loved the small theatre feel without sketch crowds (despite it being in new haven).” – Criterion Cinemas review
“The front desk person this am, Bethany, was the rudest person and just full of attitude – seriously I don’t care if you would ‘lose your job’ (I am sure McDonalds would hire you).” – Retro Fitness review
“So what they have is barely educated morons trying to manage snack orders for the obese.” – Entertainment Cinemas review
Some students have derided the reviews as offensive. “These reviews make it clear how Dean Chu thinks about people who are different from her, and how she feels about New Haven, the city all of us call home for a few years,” a student who wished to remain anonymous told the YDN.
Yale senior Ring Wang said that making amends with students would be a “big challenge,” the YDN reported.
Since the reviews were discovered, Chu has issued an apology to Pierson students. “I have learned a lot this semester about the power of words and about the accountability that we owe one another,” she wrote in an email last week. “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 administrators do not plan disciplinary action against Chu.
Yale University administrators have previously been at the center of tension over insensitive comments. In 2015, Silliman head of college Erika Christakis
sent an email in response to an Intercultural Affairs Council email that called on students to be sensitive about the cultural implications of their Halloween costumes.
She questioned if students should be able to dress in any costumes they liked, offensive or not. “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious … a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” she wrote.
Christakis faced months of backlash including an open letter criticising her email, signed by hundreds of members of the Yale community.
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