We recently discussed the controversy surrounding postings by June Chu, dean of the school’s Pierson College, on Yelp. She was called classist for such comments as “This establishment 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.” Chu has now been fired by the university in a move that makes many academics feel uncomfortable over the monitoring of their statements outside of school in social media.
Chu was put on leave after it was discovered that she had written reviews on Yelp deemed offensive. In one review of a Japanese steakhouse, Chu wrote “I guess if you were a white person who has no clue what mochi is, this would be fine for you . . . if you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you!” She also described a theater as having “sketchy crowds (despite it being in new haven)” and a movie theater as having “barely educated morons trying to manage snack orders for the obese and also try to add $7 plus $7.”
Chu issued a public apology that said “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.”
Pierson Head Stephen Davis called the post “reprehensible” and faculty and students denounced Chu as espousing racist and classist sentiments.
There remains great uncertainty for professors on how the limitations that they face outside of their positions in participating in public commentary or social media. The fact that “classist” comments can be also grounds for termination is chilling for many teachers.
What do you think?
60 thoughts on “Yale Sacks Dean Over “Classist” and “Insensitive” Yelp Reviews”
DSS, she was the Dean of Pierson College, one of Yale’s 12 residential colleges. I was in Saybrook College. Her job was not in any sense relating to “clientele,” or potential ones. She administered the functions of the residential college and acted as advisor to students. Anything from calming down drunk Yalies to making sure the dining hall runs smoothly. She may have taught classes too; her wiki is sparse.
She ridiculed fat, white trash. I thought that was OK in PCville.
Hopefully this blog, and its free wheeling comments, never bites JT in the ass.
This is absurd. What this amounts to is retribution on the job for being rude. Classist? Come on! Does that mean another person could be fired for making remarks that were insensitive to the obscenely wealthy class? Good grief! As for the racist comments well, is it really racist simply to make any remark that is unkind toward an ethnic group? I think not. And even if it is, we live in a racist society for goodness sake! Racism taints us all in one way or another. It literally shapes our world view—sometimes for good and sometimes for ill but it permeates everything in our society and it permeates all our people of every race. The idea that being rude or offensive in one’s private life could get one fired is just wrong whether the victim of the intrusive examination of one’s personal opinions or beliefs is a professor or in any other job. There need to be limits on what an employer can use to evaluate employees and on matters that have zero impact on the work of the employee as in this case would apply to anyone in any job, then the employer should have no right at all to punish, reprimand or otherwise take action against an employee.
I should add I don’t agree with the opinions of the former Yale employee. The comments were rude. No question about it. But they certainly didn’t rise to the level of necessitating a public humiliation of the employee and then even after the “confession” and apology deserving of job loss.
“Mission Statement of Yale College
The mission of Yale College is to seek exceptionally promising students of all backgrounds from across the nation and around the world and to educate them, through mental discipline and social experience, to develop their intellectual, moral, civic, and creative capacities to the fullest. The aim of this education is the cultivation of citizens with a rich awareness of our heritage to lead and serve in every sphere of human activity.”
Pray tell, of June Chu’s public statements related to her firing, please repost her statements below which do NOT contradict every letter of her ex-employer’s Mission Statement, and beyond the letter, the spirit of the Statement. Note especially “all backgrounds…educate…mental discipline and social experience…develop…moral capacities to the fullest…cultivation of citizens with a rich awareness…LEAD and SERVE” (emphasis added)
If June’s multiple posts reflect her true ID, as one should presume, every cell of her moral and intellectual, personal being exemplifies the polar opposite of her ex-employer’s Mission Statement.
Don’t be surprised when firefighters are discharged after being caught starting fires on their days off.
Wow! New Haven must have a lot of thin skinned people living there. If the comments offended someone, It is a petite matter for them to deal with. But this is a classic overreach by people who have nothing in the game. I am white. I am 75 years of age. I have been talked down to by many other cultures (many times in critical situations). I am still white and 75, and no worse for ware!
The University has failed the professor and given the millennial crowd something to crow about. Really sad.
She’s a dean, not a professor. She’s a representative of the institution to its clientele and potential clientele in a way even the faculty are not. Here’s a suggestion: job one for someone in the student affairs apparat is ‘no incidents. please’. This counts as an incident. And it’s not her mishandling someone else’s bad behavior. It’s her own bad behavior.
John, I grew up near New Haven. There is Yale, within the city of New Haven, then New Haven. Yale is aloof and removed from this dying city.The city used to be a lot of legal immigrants, particularly Italians. There is still some of the best, authentic, pizza in the US in New Haven. Yalies look down their noses @ New Haven people. The sin this professor committed was saying aloud what most all Yalies whisper intramural.
To not be offended is the new human right.
“To not be offended is the new human right.”
Also, to not be offended is used as the right to silence any and all dissent. It’s simply oppression.
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