Despite the regular outcry over bias on college campuses, it's rare that schools actually hold misbehaved professors and administrators accountable. But Yale just broke the mold.
On Wednesday we wrote about June Chu, dean of Yale's Pierson College, who was caught leaving Yelp reviews that targeted service employees and customers for their race and class. Her reviews included attacks on "white trash" and demeaning statements about "barely educated" workers.
On Thursday, after a flurry of media coverage, Yale announced that Chu had been placed on leave. Pierson College Head Stephen Davis emailed students that he was "grieving" and no longer had "hope for the possibility of envisioning a path toward healing and reconciliation" in regards to Chu's employment as a dean.
"When I wrote to you on Saturday morning, it was with the understanding — and under assurance from Dean Chu, an assurance given to me and to others — that she had posted only two troubling reviews on social media," Davis said. "On Saturday evening, I found out that she was in fact responsible for multiple reprehensible posts, enough to represent a more widespread pattern. 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."
While I think the language of "grieving" is laughably hyperbolic, Davis' full response to the incident sets a strong example for leaders at other colleges. Sure, it seems as though Chu's decision to lie about the number of "troubling" reviews she left is what prompted the punishment, but Davis' email to students sends a clear message.
At Yale, Chu's anti-white, anti-working class, elitist attitudes are not sanctioned by the university; though I suspect other members of the faculty privately share them.
It is disappointing that it's now notable when a university makes the right call in circumstances such as these, but given the abysmal state of higher education in America, Yale's decision marks a rare departure from academic orthodoxy and is a small victory for those who work to restore balance to our schools.
Davis' full email to students is available here.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.