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Dean of Pierson College June Chu has left her position, head of Pierson College Stephen Davis announced in a Tuesday morning email to Pierson students.

Chu, who was appointed dean of Pierson College in spring 2016, was placed on leave in May after screenshots circulated of offensive reviews she posted on her personal Yelp account: One described customers at a local institution as “white trash” and “low class folk” and another praised a movie theater for its lack of “sketchy crowds (despite it being in New Haven).”  

“Dean Chu has left her position at Pierson College and wishes the best to the students,” Davis said in his email. “As a result, I am initiating the process of the search for a new dean, who will be in place before the start of the fall term.”

Days before Chu was placed on leave, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway told the News that he had not asked for her resignation.

In his email, Davis added that he will be reaching out to students in Pierson to inquire about their availability and willingness to play a role in the search for the college’s next dean over the summer. He had not responded to an email from the News at publication.

An email request for comment from Chu was met with an automated response stating Chu is “unavailable” and directing questions about academics to Dean of Academic Affairs Mark Schenker and other questions regarding Pierson to the residential college office email address.

On May 13, after screenshots of two offensive Yelp reviews – of Koto Japanese Steakhouse and Criterion Cinemas – surfaced, Chu sent an email to Pierson students apologizing for her insensitive language. Shortly afterwards, Davis sent a follow-up email underscoring Chu’s remorse for her comments and asking students to share their thoughts on how best to move forward as a community.

Later that day, the News obtained and published nearly a dozen screenshots of additional derogatory reviews posted from Chu’s account, which neither Chu nor Davis had mentioned in their emails.

In a May 18 email, Davis announced that Chu had been placed on leave and would not participate in Commencement activities. In his email, Davis said that he had lost trust in Chu’s ability to lead Pierson students after discovering that there were not just two troubling reviews, but “multiple reprehensible” posts indicative of a broader pattern.

Pierson student Darby Mowell ’18 said she was not surprised by Chu’s departure, and was pleased with Davis’ solicitation of student input in the search for her successor.

“I think it was a logical move for her, considering how the revelations seemed to compromise her credibility as someone to whom all Pierson students could feel free to come with their problems without fear of judgement,” Mowell said.

  • Hieronymus Machine

    So, should one respect the “consistency” (i.e., that Progs will eat their own) or fear the more fundamental absurdities?

    What would Beckett or Pinter have thought? Would they have pulled a Tom Lehrer, (who joked that political satire was obsolete after Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize, only superseded in incongruity by Obama’s winning it for his potential)?

    Of course, Beckett and Pinter are dead (although Harvard’s Lehrer and Yale’s Kissinger are not), but I digress.

    Ah Chu: Bless You; We Hardly Knew Ye.

    • ProfG

      If she had only said these things as part of a lecture…

  • Nancy Morris

    It would be interesting and important to know whether Davis (or someone else in authority) requested Chu’s resignation.

    While the matter is not free from doubt, at least to me, this seems an unfortunate and counterproductive development.

    • MattSchlager

      At this point, it is really not that important. She has resigned, and that’s the end of it.

      • ldffly

        I think it is important to know the answer to that question because these days who holds administrative power is what counts.

        • Brian

          “who holds administrative power is what counts”

          More like :-

          ‘who has been given administrative power is what counts’

      • Nancy Morris

        Yes, she’s gone. But if she was pushed, it is significant to know who did it and why.

  • Ronaldus_Maximus

    Heheheh. Karma. Maybe she can go join Click from MU and they can do consulting on how to survive being canned for being an idiot.

    • ldffly

      She’s not even in the same universe as Melissa Click.

      • ShadrachSmith

        Click is a horrible person, ugly too. But both share status as a poster-girl for the mean girls flavor of PC. With all respect, they share that metaphor.

  • 100wattlightbulb

    Yale going through faculty at warp speed. It couldn’t be their “progressive” leadership could it?

    • ldffly

      Yale needs another dean to oversee this action. They’ll probably have one soon.

  • Cindy lou

    Another example of hiring for diversity versus experience and age

  • Mark O’Neill

    There is bigotry and stereotyping on the left and right. Imagine how she was going around to all the right parties, kissing up to the right people. Meanwhile, she was having her own thoughts – biased and mean spirited thoughts – about everyone and everything. She’s very immature inside.

  • Michaleen

    Buh bye June! Happy trails to you…until we meet again…

  • I.R.H.

    Anyone know if she’s born in America or from the People’s Republic of China?

  • Dick_Gosinya

    A shame I’m going to have that mug sticking out of the Starbucks Drive Thru when I get my morning coffee.

  • Remonster

    She seems nice.

  • Stephen Henkin

    Wow! Yale has made big deals about a stained-glass window depicting a slave scene and a dean who said some off-color remark, but the venerable institution is ignoring the elephant in the room, namely Elihu Yale, the school’s namesake, was a slave owner and slave trader.

    “Elihu Yale (5 April 1649 – 8 July 1721) was a British merchant, philanthropist, and slave trader, President of the East India Company settlement in Fort St. George, at Madras, and a benefactor of the Collegiate School in the Colony of Connecticut, which in 1718 was renamed Yale College in his honor.” (Wikipedia)

    So okay, Yale, when are you going to change the school’s name to something non-racist? To do anything less would be hypocritical. Maybe you could hold a “Rename Our School Contest” with a suitable cash prize. How about, “The New Haven Institute for Advanced Progressive Studies.”

    • dave

      Oh stop it everyone had slaves back then. Might as well renounce all our founding fathers too. Completely different time. Totally different from saying stupid racist things in 2017.

  • Matthew Newgarden

    With her reviews Pierson College Dean June Chu becomes trapped in Yale’s politically correct “kafkaesque” vortex.

  • Quincy Lane

    I hope she doesn’t let the door hit her on the way out. Shameful, public behavior for someone so “educated”.

  • Boos

    I really can’t understand what the fuss is all about. Yale has bigger problems to worry about.

    • Jawaralal_Schwartz

      Consider each Yelp review cited as a micro aggression.

    • sarco64 .

      Would you understand what the fuss was about if she had referred to “black trash” or “brown trash,” or if someone had referred to her as “slant-eyed trash?”

      • Brian

        The problem is the ‘Trash’.
        Who cares?
        Was it in a formal paper? If not,what’s the problem?
        The colour of the trash is equally irrelevant, you don’t have to read porn.

  • Robin Goodfellow

    My question is how come posted those comments under her real name! There is a reason trolls post under fake names.

    I don’t see what the big deal is – freedom of speech. It’s yelp, and nobody cares what’s on yelp.

    Like the former dean, I have lived in Davis, California. Being familiar with Davis, I agree with some of her thoughts about some of the illustrious residents of New Haven. Some of the people can be difficult to deal with, and they can be depressing.

    What she said was mean. Having said that, I would have expressed myself differently.

    • tudie

      She posted under her name, and with her photo because that is what Yelp requires for users to become “Yelp Elite”. Once the dean acquired this status, she emailed Pierson students to let them.know about her achievement. She was proud of her Yelp reviews. She liked about her Yelp reviews when she thought it might cause a problem.

      If any of the workers for whom you and Dean Chu had such contempt wrote something online that made their employer look bad to the public – they’d get fired.

      Dr. Chu’s poor judgement; the fact that she went way out if her way to brag about herself on Yelp – not a good indicator for the maturity and well being of a middle aged woman.

  • Boos

    If folks at Yale believe that they were not aware of this behavior up until the Yelp reviews were leaked, I got a bridge in NY to sell.

  • F. R.

    P.S. Don’t follow the Evergreen State University’s examples. They’re no better off; and in fact, seem to be faring not so well after their racially charged videos by their little miscreants became public fodder. All the “white” hatred and self-loathing needs to stop – except for the stupid; then go ahead and self-loathe.

  • Frank Furter

    So, this awesome dean, June Che, has to be sacrificed for calling White Trash people “white trash” and “uneducated morons,” in private Yelp reviews. I guess I would be fired too, and I grew up White Trash. This is over-punishing her. She apologized. Enough is enough! Leave her be.

  • Awal

    At this point, Yale is basically run the same way as your local public school district–except with a $25 billion endowment. At some point, I keep hoping some grownup is going to take charge. While Kingman Brewster and Bart Giamatti didn’t have to worry about social media in their days, you can be sure that every little perceived online slight would not have required a personnel decision. Can we please get rid of Salovey (and any remainders of the Holloway administration) and start fresh? Maybe there’s even a bad-ass woman out there who could run the University and/or college like the world class institution which it is.

    • ldffly

      I think the starting point is at the trustee level. They gave us Levin and Levin gave us Salovey.

    • Lumi Sencion

      “Can we please get rid of Salovey (and any remainders of the Holloway administration) and start fresh?” Yes, please!

  • Bob Kern

    Hey , Doc! Chu on this …guess who is being considered as your replacement ..None other than “Larry The Cable Guy ” !

  • ladyofshalott

    like she said about the gym employee, i’m sure mcdonalds is hiring

    • frabn

      She can write a yelp review about herself when she gets hired.

  • kara

    hmmmm interesting… an elitist snob as a College President , you don’t say. Well I hope when she takes her unenlightened self to and fro from her new job interviews she can find somewhere she belongs…

  • Z3TA2

    Sarah Jeong did the same thing on twitter, but The New York Times is hiring her anyway.

  • Gary Morris

    She wasn’t sacked or even asked to resign so yes, I am telling you she didn’t jump before she was pushed. Your puerile, thoughtless rant aside, as a Dean and Cultural Sensitivity lecturer, her position at Yale was clearly compromised. She resigned because she had lost the respect of her students. You’re pretty thick ………… lol!