• Yale University
    Yale University
  • Racial prejudice
    Racial prejudice
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June Chu was the subject of national controversy and headlines when, in May 2017, she was placed on leave by Yale university following the publication of several online reviews Chu left on ‘Yelp’ that were deemed racist and elitist. She, for example, wrote of one restaurant that “if you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you… perfect for those low-class folks who believe this is a real night out.”[1]

Addressing the controversy, Head of College Stephen Davis wrote to students that Chu’s comments were “deeply harmful to the community fabric.” He initially expressed hope that she would have a future with the university, but ultimately wrote that “today I am grieving because I no longer can envision such a way forward.”[2]

A former student of Chu’s added that Chu sent a college-wide e-mail announcing her ‘Yelp elite’ status, and that in so doing, “make[s] it clear how Dean Chu thinks about people who are different from her.” Another negative review of a restaurant left by Chu ended with “I guess if you were a white person who has no clue what mochi is, this would be fine for you.” Furthermore, she left a positive review for a theater she attended, claiming that she “loved the small theater feel without sketchy crowds (despite it being in New Haven).[3]

A month after the scandal broke, Chu permanently resigned her position, just over a year following her appointment. In explaining the reasoning for Chu’s resignation, Davis explained that Chu originally assured him “that she had posted only two troubling reviews on social media,” but that he later found out she was “in fact responsible for multiple reprehensible posts, enough to represent a more widespread pattern… and they also further damaged my trust and confidence in Dean Chu’s accountability to me and ability to lead the students of Pierson College.”[4]



[1] Bowerman, M. (May 19, 2017). Yale dean on leave for Yelp comments calling people ‘white trash,’ ‘low-class’. USA Today. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/05/19/yale-dean-leave-yelp-comments-calling-people-white-trash-low-class/332046001/

[2] Eaton-Robb, P. (May 20, 2017). ‘Barely Educated Morons’: Yale dean suspended over offensive Yelp reviews. Global News. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/3467182/june-chu-yelp-reviews-yale-university/

[3] Hamid, Z., Treisman, R. (May 13, 2017). Screenshots surface of insensitive Yelp reviews by Pierson College Dean. Yale Daily News. Retrieved from https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2017/05/13/screenshots-surface-of-insensitive-yelp-reviews-by-pierson-college-dean/

[4] Hauser, C. (June 21, 2017). A Yale Dean Lost Her Job After Calling People ‘White Trash’ in Yelp Reviews. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/21/us/yale-dean-yelp-white-trash.html

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