In theory, college deans are supposed to advise and mentor students, sometimes guiding them through times where their worst impulses might get the best of them. Hopefully, Yale students are not following the lead of one dean who repeatedly used Yelp to make rude, condescending comments about local businesses and her fellow customers.
If you’ve ever worked any sort of customer service job, the dean fits a certain archetype. She was an “Elite” reviewer for 2017, which means that someone at Yelp HQ found her reviews especially insightful.
However, maybe an “Elitist” label would have been more appropriate. Some of her reviews also showed insensitivity to social class and little regard for the people who work in the businesses she patronized.
“…seriously I don’t care if you would ‘lose your job’ (I am sure McDonald’s would hire you) but you are the front line customer service person!” she wrote about a gym employee who she found unhelpful, topping the review off with a humblebrag about being a better kickboxing instructor than the person who taught a class that she took.
She concluded her review of a mochi (rice dumpling) shop that she found inadequate by writing, “I guess if you are a white person who has no clue what mochi is, these would be fine for you.”
Before the offending reviews and her account were deleted, someone took screen grabs of her reviews to preserve them. The Yale News has preserved these in a useful PDF, and the paper also shared an excerpt from the email that the dean sent to undergraduate students when she was asked to apologize.
In that apology, she noted that she had “learned a lot this semester about the power of words and about the accountability that we owe one another,” as though she didn’t realize what she had said when she called patrons of a Japanese restaurant “white trash.”
“My remarks were wrong,” she wrote. “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.”
Students aren’t really buying it.
“These reviews make it clear how [the dean] thinks about people who are different from her, and how she feels about New Haven, the city all of us call home for a few years,” one anonymous student told the Yale News.
Another student pointed out that the dean had sent an email to the entire college bragging about her newly granted Elite Yelp status, indicating that she either didn’t realize how offensive her reviews were, or thought no one would actually look them up.