Dean June Chu of Yale’s Pierson College has apologized to the student body for her brutal, sometimes classist Yelp reviews of local businesses, especially when she took out her frustrations on cashiers and waiters. The most objectionable review was for a movie theater: “they have…barely educated morons trying to manage snack orders for the obese and also try to add $7 plus $7.”
In the grand scale of academic scandals, this is pretty tame. And while Dean Chu’s comments are more vitriolic than you’d expect from a high-ranking professional, they’re not out of place at Yelp. What’s more, while a lot of her remarks are shitty, some–like mocking white people’s understanding of mochi–are harmless. There are all sorts of legitimate grievances to have here, but “she’s being racist against white people!” isn’t one of them.
Still, this highlights a serious class divide in academia. Even as the right frets over radical leftist colleges or whatever, universities often oppose unionization, offer workers the bare minimum, and rely on adjunct professors making poverty wages. And Yale itself is facing union protests at its commencement ceremony. To see one of the school’s deans lash out against people making minimum wage shows how far a school’s administration is from the working poor it exploits.
Dean Chu’s Yelp reviews, while cruel, aren’t newsworthy on their own. But they’re symptomatic of something that is.
(Photo of "White Trash Cafe." Courtesy of David Antis)