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Yale suspends Dean for ‘white trash’ comment

May 19, 2017 by norman lebrecht

18 comments.


June Chu, Dean of Pierson College, has been sent on leave after students found online comments in her name that called restaurant staff ‘morons’ and diners ‘white trash,’

Pierson’s Head of College Stephen Davis said he was ‘grieving’ over the issue. ‘On Saturday evening, I found out that she was in fact responsible for multiple reprehensible posts, enough to represent a more widespread pattern,’ he told students in an email. ‘The additional posts that surfaced compounded the harm of the initial two, 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.’

This is preppy Yale.

Not an environment conducive to learning.

More here.


Comments (18)

  1. ColinG says:

    What are “sketch crowds”, in this context, and why would the expression strike a nerve in New Haven?

    1. Bruce says:

      “Sketch” (short for “sketchy”) means dubious, low-class, tacky, possibly dangerous. If said about a neighborhood, you probably wouldn’t want to go there after dark. If said about a crowd, you would not be surprised if a fight broke out. Sounds like she had to share a space with working-class people, and didn’t like it.

      (The thing is, she could have written all those gleefully negative reviews without throwing in the mean digs at various groups: “if you have no idea what mocha is,” “barely competent staff managing snack orders,” “if you like tacky restaurants, this place is for you” etc.)

      1. ColinG says:

        Bruce, thank you for the explanation.

        I note that during her PhD studies, Ms Chu’s main academic focus was ‘discrimination’.
        (http://www.brynmawr.edu/alumnae/bulletin/chu.htm).

        I have also learnt what ‘mochi’ are (rice-based ice creams) and that they may be liked by people who don’t know what ‘mocha’ is (a specific coffee or its related milky drink).

        I wonder if Ms Chu is interested in classical music or its related cultures.

  2. Ungeheuer says:

    Discrimination is a two way street. This was the absolutely right thing to do.

  3. Beppo Estravaganza says:

    It was the Russians. They hacked her Yelp account to foment racial tensions and undermine American society.

  4. Wai Kit leung says:

    Reprehensible comments from someone who is supposed to be a moral example. But then it seems that some students really wanted her out? They set up a webpage for posting screenshots of her reviews. I don’t see any Peabody students doing the same to Katherine Needleman.

    Did these Yale students do this to Ms. Chu because she is a reprehensible person in general, or because of her race, I wonder?

  5. Freddy Ng says:

    I’m just shocked at how high profile individuals still so casually post on social media without realizing the repercussions……

    1. Marg says:

      Ditto. It boggles the mind.

    2. Holly Golightly says:

      I would suggest it’s the repercussions which are reprehensible. American campuses are becoming frightening places reminiscent of Siberian gulags.

      1. Dave T says:

        And the prize for the single most ignorant comment on SD of 2017 goes to…

        “American campuses are becoming frightening places reminiscent of Siberian gulags.”

        1. Holly Golightly says:

          It’s a belief many millions of people have both inside and outside the USA and one of the reasons you got Trump!! If you have something to say on campus which doesn’t accord with their ideologies watch out for violence and intimidation. We’ve seen lots of images of that in the recent past.

          You are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

  6. Alex says:

    And what does this have to do with a music blog?

  7. Larry W says:

    Yes, what does this story have to do with classical music? Is Chu being Asian a “related culture”? She has Taiwanese heritage but makes no mention of musical training, classical or otherwise. Her degrees in psychology come from Bryn Mawr and Harvard, not “preppy” Yale. In a teachable moment, Yale acted swiftly to censure Chu and relieve her of her duties. In comparison, this blog may not be an environment conducive to learning.

    1. Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

      Wegschauen, bis es nicht mehr geht …

  8. bye bye says:

    “Sketchy crowd”

    Well, let me tell you my real life story involving New Haven and its “sketchy crowd”.

    In high school I went up to New Haven to visit Yale (a traditional American rite, visiting colleges one is applying to) and at the Metro North train station, I decided to go to the restroom.

    Now, growing up in NYC, I knew never, never, never to use a public restroom at a train station. But I thought, it’s got to be safe to use the restroom here: New Haven, Yale, college town, sunny weekday morning. So I pushed open the door.

    What I witnessed I shall never forget for the rest of my life among the denizens of New Haven and perhaps, for all I know, between an undergraduate and a dean of Yale. While the scene unfolded before my young eyes the train station was piping in Pachelbel’s Canon.

    And Pachelbel’s Canon, for my young ears, was the theme song to the film Ordinary People, directed by Robert Redford, starring the very preppy Timothy Hutton.

    Thus in my mind, Yale and New Haven and preppy and Pachelbel’s Canon and “sketchy”, shall always be united as one.

    1. Bruce says:

      This is a fascinating story. I wonder what it’s about.

  9. Gerald Martin says:

    I have no idea what any of this is about.


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