Yale Worker Who Broke Offensive Window Seeks Job Back
Yale University and a former dining services worker who smashed a stained-glass window depicting slaves are discussing whether he can have his old job back, his attorney said Monday.
Corey Menafee resigned last month after taking a broomstick to the window inside the dining hall at Calhoun College. Menafee, who is Black, apologized for damaging the property but said the window’s portrayal of slaves in a cotton field was offensive. University officials said falling glass from the window fell onto the street near a passerby.
The case has stirred a long-running controversy over the name of the residential college honoring former Vice President John C. Calhoun, an 1804 Yale graduate and an ardent defender of slavery. In April, after a round of protests by students and others who wanted the name changed, Yale President Peter Salovey announced the college would continue to carry Calhoun’s name and said Yale would take other steps to address its history with regard to slavery.
After the window was broken inside the dining hall, Yale officials recommended that it and other windows be removed from Calhoun College and conserved for future study. “An artist specializing in stained glass will be commissioned to design new windows, with input from the Yale community, including students, on what should replace them,” the University said in a statement.
A Yale spokeswoman said Monday that the university officials agreed to meet with Menafee on his request to be reinstated.
Menafee’s attorney Patricia Kane said her client had been under the impression that Yale would not pursue criminal charges if he quit, but the resignation agreement specifies only that Yale would not seek restitution for the window. Yale has asked state prosecutors to drop criminal charges against Menafee.
Kane said Menafee, 38, worked at Yale for eight years, holds no animosity toward the university and only wants to go back to work to support his family. She said she has been in discussion with the office of Yale’s general counsel.
“The important thing is the parties want to resolve this in everybody’s best interest,” Kane said.
Menafee formally asked through his union to be reinstated.
Photo: Calhoun College /AP