Yale’s Bigoted Dean And Pazuzu

I’m generally a Jonathan Turley fan—for one thing, he makes almost as many typos on his blog as I do— but the George Washington Law School constitutional law professor is the master of equivocation, and this often obscures important facts. Writing about Yale’s  Dean June Chu, recently put on leave by the school  for  online posts showing her to be a racist, a bigot and a hypocrite, he writes that she

“has been a successful academic and administrator at Yale University.  However, that stellar record came to a halt — and Chu was put on leave — after it was discovered that she had written reviews on Yelp deemed offensive.” 

“Deemed offensive” is classic Turley mild-speak, and it misleadingly suggests that the Yale dean has been another victim of campus political correctness because someone “deemed” her words “offensive.” Here is a sample of what she wrote on Yelp in various consumer reviews:

  • In a review of a Japanese steakhouse, Chu wrote, “I guess if you were a white person who has no clue what mochi is, this would be fine for you . . . if you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you!”
  • She  described a theater as having “sketchy crowds (despite it being in new haven)”
  • She said a movie theater  had “barely educated morons trying to manage snack orders for the obese and also try to add $7 plus $7.”
  • Chu said of a fitness employee that “seriously I don’t care if you would ‘lose your job’ (I am sure McDonalds would hire you).”
  • She called another  gym class instructor ” frail and totally out of shape.”

Interestingly and tellingly, these and other nasty posts by Chu were discovered by students after she sent a campus-wide email  in which she proudly announced that she had become “Yelp Elite,” meaning that she had been recognized by Yelp for “well-written reviews, high quality tips, a detailed personal profile, an active voting and complimenting record, and a history of playing well with others.” Some students decided to see what she had written.  That wasn’t an unpredictable response, so Chu obviously didn’t see anything wrong with the attitudes she had projected. Stunned and disillusioned by what they found, the students  circulated some of the most remarkable of her comments. These  sparked anger from Yale students and alumni, who deemed the posts offensive because, Prof Turley, they were offensive. They were arrogant, elitist, classist and racist, reflected poorly on the institution, and  were not the kinds of expression that supported Yale’s trust in her.

Chu quickly deleted her Yelp account and sent an apology by e-mail to students at Pierson, Yale’s largest residential college, where she is dean. She wrote:

“I have learned a lot this semester about the power of words and about the accountability that we owe one another. 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.”

This is the Pazuzu Excuse.( other examples here). Chu is saying, apparently, that she was possessed by a malign entity, and the words she wrote were not her own. If those posts didn’t express her values, where did the bigotry and class bias come from? What she is really admitting is that those words and sentiments shouldn’t be uttered by someone responsible for molding young minds, so she is disowning them. The devil made her do it, as the late, great Flip Wilson used to say.

Not to pick on Turley, but he also argues that the dean’s non-Yale-related consumer bigotry might not be a legitimate concern to Yale:

Yet, there still remains the question of whether faculty should be subject to discipline for their exercise of free speech outside of this academic work.  As we have previously discussed , there remains an uncertain line in what language is protected for teachers in their private lives. The incident also raises what some faculty have complained is a double or at least uncertain standard….Chu was not speaking as a Yale employee or using school resources.  She is not accused of improper conduct at the university.  Do you believe that Chu should be subject to discipline for expressing her views on social media?

No,  Chu should be subject to discipline because in a public forum she expressed sentiments that disqualify her as a trustworthy role model, teacher, and Yale employee,embarrassing her employer, Yale, and undermining her credibility and respectability on campus.

This is not a case—Ethics Alarms discussed one recently, also flagged by Turley— where a high school or middle school student is disciplined for statements on social media made far away from school. Student isn’t an employee. A student doesn’t have a 24-7 obligation to not bring bad publicity and distrust to a school. Students have parents, and it is they, not school officials, who are responsible for non-school related discipline. Students are also not adults. Chu is not only an adult, but an adult who is supposed to display exemplary qualities, since she is charged with, and paid for,  making young adults better and more admirable adults. Yale, like other elite colleges, has been traditionally vulnerable to the charge that it educates their graduates to be arrogant, self-adulating, condescending, elitist jerks.

Gee, I wonder how that happens?

Even Chu seems to comprehend what Turley does not, writing to the Yale Daily News,

“I am concerned about the shadow that my actions have thrown on my efforts to create an environment in Pierson that respects everyone. I am especially concerned that it could prevent anyone from coming to me for the support that I offer to all Pierson students.”

Ya think?

What is particularly damaging to Chu is that her reviews reveal her to be a hypocrite and a phony, espousing values that she neither possesses nor lives by.

One student noted article Chu wrote for Inside Higher Ed regarding the importance of cultural sensitivity, not usually a prime concern of those who deride “what trash” and mock McDonalds employees.

“When we advise students about their academic pathways, we must understand diverse students’ practical concerns as well as their distinct cultural value systems. Many studies continue to indicate differences between white American college students and those from ethnic minority groups,” Chu wrote. “Thus, when we as advisers only advocate following one’s passion, we should ask of ourselves if we are microaggressors, telling students that is the only right way to engage in education.”

Wise words, dean. Too bad we know that you are just giving them lip service. Oh, right, that wasn’t really you writing those things on Yelp.

Of course Yale should discipline Chu. The real question is how people like her get appointed dean in the first place.

__________________________

Sources: Res Ipsa Loquitur; Washington Post

20 Comments

Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Dunces, Rights, Social Media, Workplace

20 responses to “Yale’s Bigoted Dean And Pazuzu

  1. Other Bill

    How did she get appointed. Good question. She’s a woman, which is in her favor of course. But she’s evidently of Chinese extraction, which is bad. But she’s in the social sciences, which is good. I’m sure there’s some sort of algorithm they use in New Haven to make sure there aren’t TOO many Chinee.

  2. “The devil made her do it, as the late, great Flip Wilson used to say.”

    Hmmm, why not a “solidarnost” press conference with Wilson’s cross-dressing “Geraldine” to head off the growing legions of detractors by indicating she’s “tolerant?”

    Steven Colbert did that to show his “Gay Cred,” to mixed reviews, with the ”Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons after the “cockholster” episode.

    And merely the Devil? Your garden variety classist, elitist, racist academic Lefties would go with a more esoteric, dialed in, reference; perhaps René Descartes’ Evil Genius?

    • Other Bill

      Descarte? A dead white guy who probably identified as male? From Northern Europe? This woman’s not a classicist (are there any still roaming freely on the Yale campus?), she’s a social scientist.

  3. Junkmailfolder

    Perhaps I’m reading too much into Turley’s comments, but what’s with the focus on faculty and academics? It makes it seem that Turley believes only those in our prestigious ivory towers shouldn’t be disciplined for abhorrent behavior outside of work. Frankly, it’s just the opposite: I don’t care whether my server at the concessions stand thinks my child’s teacher belongs in the kitchen, but I do care whether my child’s teacher thinks my concessions stand server is an uneducated worthless human being.

    Again, I might just be reading too much into it.

    • My guess? Turley worries that he could be a victim of political correctness retribution at GW. This also explains his frequent resort to weenie-words.

      • Of course he is concerned. He spews a lot of things, and is thus at risk for something being taken out of context (or becoming suddenly the wrong view to hold… ever) by a monster he himself has fed red meat.

        SJW will eat their own, and academia suddenly realizes that all the virtue signalling in the world does not protect them from a slip of the tongue, a inconvenient video going viral, or simply being white.

        Sow the wind: reap the whirlwind

  4. Isaac

    Of COURSE a jerk of this magnitude believes in micro-aggressions. Just of course. She’s going to get The Yelper Special at every restaurant in town.

  5. In Turley’s defense, he is making a distinction between what is legal and what is ethical. Each inquiry may end up with different results. What is legal is not necessarily ethical, and vice versa.

    jvb

  6. Zanshin

    Jack wrote, “The real question is how people like her get appointed dean in the first place.”

    Another real question is how people like her haven’t learned to stay away from social media. That those 15 minutes of fame (in this case bragging about becoming Yelp Elite as a result of all those reviews) is nothing compared to loosing your standing (and your job/career) in the community.

  7. crella

    Social media has dumbed-down society far faster than I ever thought possible, through fostering the need for outside validation (likes, views, numbers of ‘friends’) and the brevity forced on the user on some platforms (Twitter’s 140 character limit). In combination, these two conditions have almost wiped out in-depth discussion; you can try, but you’ll likely get a ‘tldr’ for your efforts (‘too long, didn’t read’ but then they’ll post their opinion anyway)…and, instead of reasoned arguments, snark level has become the new indicator of intelligence.

    All these factors are evident in Chu’s actions. I was puzzled as to why anyone would send out a blanket email to let everyone know she was a Yelp Elite. Being bumped up a category for most restaurant reviews is a strange thing to want attention for, but perhaps any internet ‘fame’ is good? The snark as intelligence factor is prominent in most of her reviews, she’s too good for many of the places she’s been, better than the people serving her. It really went so far to her head she couldn’t see how nasty she had become, it was normal amongst Yelp followers, but not outside of it.

    People often say ‘but I’m not like that in real life’. I do not , and never have, understood people who claim to change once in front of a keyboard, but say they’re not really like that…I’m reminded of something my Dad used to say when he’d catch us trying to get away with something, after he listened to all the impossible explanations “Well, were you lying then, or are you lying now?” Once you show yourself online as a pretender, liar, or as really nasty to other people, you’ve (general you) shown me who you are, despite that being ‘not really who I am’. If you become someone who mocks and attacks people with ease, that IS who you are.

  8. Yale University puts Dean June Chu on leave because of her idiotic and sophomoric Yelp postings. Yale was probably right to do so as her comments brought discredit to the university and her position as a dean.

    Should University of Hawaii math professor be put on leave for her recent blog post in the American Mathmetical Society in which Professor Piper Harron has declared that white males should get out of the way? I get that the Professor’s blog is protected by the First Amendment, and that the blog is posted in the context of encouraging debate over hiring practices in the private and public sector. Does this blog posting bring unnecessary scandal to the UH’s Math department? Can male students in her class trust that the grades she gives are trustworthy? Will male students trust any recommendations she would give them for future scholarship or employment? If so, should she be censured or admonished by UH?

    Here is the link:

    http://blogs.ams.org/inclusionexclusion/2017/05/11/get-out-the-way/

    The comments to the blog are enlightening.

    jvb

    • I saw this, and it was so nuts I didn’t post on it. But thanks for linking it. Res Ipsa Loquitur.

      • The thing is, I think Prof. Harron wasn’t writing to be provocative and encourage debate. She actually believes what she wrote. The comments to the article were revealing as well. Many applauded her post.

        jvb

        • I noticed here little update at the end, where she whined about some responses being inappropriate. She is ‘just provoking thought.’

          Hell, her entire post was ‘inappropriate’ and offensive, not to mention racist and sexist. But progressives can weasel word their way out where their opponents are not allowed to.

    • Should University of Hawaii math professor… should she be censured or admonished by UH?

      Yes to all the questions. And since there will be no reckoning for these racist statements, white males have once again been told that who they are and the color of their skin matter more than the content of their character, their hard work, and their particular circumstances.

      This is yet another example where the left is using the very tactics they protest to single out a racial gender group.

      This helped elect Donald Trump.

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