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Yale University Rocked by Elite Yelper Scandal

A dean was busted for leaving insensitive restaurant reviews

[Yale photo]

Judging by her Yelp reviews of local businesses, June Chu, the dean of Yale’s Pierson College, is not especially fond of the amenities in her new home city of New Haven, Connecticut. Chu’s hot take on Kyoto Japanese Restaurant: “To put it quite simply: if you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you.” In her takedown of the Mochi Store, Chu wrote: “I guess if you were a white person who has no clue what mochi is, this would be fine for you.” And she didn’t hold anything back in her review of the concession stand at Entertainment Cinemas: “So what they have is barely educated morons trying to manage snack orders for the obese and also try to add $7 plus $7.”

Chu’s Yelp account has been deleted, but the Yale Daily News obtained screengrabs (PDF) of her most notorious missives. Rumors about Chu’s negative reviews started circulating among the student body earlier this year. Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway learned about the controversy last week, and after “wrestling with how to do the right thing,” he and his colleagues decided that Chu needed to apologize to the students. She sent an email to undergrads Saturday morning, explaining: “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.”

The Yale Daily News reports that students found out about her Yelp profile via an email she sent around earlier this year announcing that she had received Elite Yelp status. Some of the students are understandably upset about this turn of events. One anonymous member of the Yale student body tells the campus paper: “Dean Chu is trained in human development and psychology so should clearly understand the gravity of her actions, yet the fact that she would put such things on the Internet shows that she really should not be in a position of advising students.”

UPDATE, 5/19: On Thursday, May 18, Chu was placed on leave by Pierson College, with an administrator noting that the “reprehensible posts” on Yelp were “deeply harmful to the community fabric.”

Screenshots surface of insensitive Yelp reviews by Pierson College dean [YDN]
Yale Students Outraged Over Dean's Brutal Yelp Reviews [Broadly]