Yale Students Outraged Over Dean's Brutal Yelp Reviews
"To put it quite simply: if you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you!" her review of a Japanese restaurant began.
The city of New Haven, Connecticut is a real shit-hole with zero redeeming qualities, according to a dean at Yale University, June Chu, whose crushing Yelp reviews surfaced this weekend. Apparently, it's hardly worth stepping off the manicured lawn of the elite higher-learning institution—unless you, a slob, delight in bad food and the company of "uneducated" people.
Chu's reviews had been the subject of gossip among students for months, the campus publication, Yale Daily News, reports. There are plenty of people who have left somewhat unflattering reviews of a business on Yelp after they had a bad experience; leaving one-star reviews doesn't necessarily make you a morally bereft person or controversial. The consensus of the student body at Yale, however, seems to be that Chu's ratings are particularly distasteful.
One might describe them as tone deaf, and an example of why people use "coastal elite" as shorthand for "privileged person who is ruining my life." A review of a Japanese restaurant in town reads, "To put it quite simply: if you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you! This establishment is definitely not authentic by any stretch of of the imagination and perfect for low class folks who believe this is a real night out. Over salted and greasy food. Side note: employees are Chinese, not Japanese."
In light of the fact that New Haven has the fastest-growing income inequality in the US, an Ivy league professor deriding "low class folks" is just not a good look. In a review of a Retro Fitness (two stars), she rhetorically tells an employee "seriously I don't care if you 'lose your job.' (I'm sure McDonalds would hire you.)" She gave a local movie theater one star, calling employees "barely educated morons trying to manage snack orders for the obese and also [trying] to add $7 plus $7."
She continued, "Be kind my ass. I pay for my ticket and decent customer service. Decent. I'm not asking for stellar. I'm asking for a bare minimum of competence."
(According to a source at Yale, one of the few restaurants that Chu actually liked—an expensive eatery inside the Omni Hotel, John Davenport—is actually gauche and bad. "It's funny that someone who purports to have cultivated taste reviewed that place so favorably," my source remarked. "It makes me think of what Trump Tower must be like, but if everyone shopped at Gant.")
On Saturday, Chu, the dean of the residential community Pierson College, emailed the students in the dorm to apologize. "I have learned a lot this semester about the power of words and about the accountability that we owe one another," Chu wrote, the Yale Daily News reports. "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." According to the publication, Chu's Yelp account has been deleted and students and faculty are discussing how to move forward. Yale did not respond to Broadly's request for comment.
This isn't the first time a member of the Yale faculty has disappointed the students by making offensive comments. In November 2015, an associate dean for another residential college sent out an email defending students' right to wear culturally appropriative Halloween costumes in response to an original statement from the university asking students to be mindful of wearing insensitive costumes.
"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," an anonymous student told the Yale Daily News.