An African American man who broke a stained glass panel in Yale’s Calhoun residential college dining hall has lost his job.
Corey Menafee, who worked as a dishwasher, said he broke the glass panel depicting slaves carrying bales of cotton using a broomstick. He said he was tired of looking at the “racist, very degrading” image on the panel. Following the incident, he has been relieved from his duties.
The Calhoun College, where the glass panel had been hanging, was named after the pro slavery vice president John C. Calhoun. In the midst of a yearlong campaign calling for the Calhoun name to be changed, University President Peter Salovey announced in April that the name will be retained.
Menafee, who had worked at the university since 2007, said the pieces of glass fell on a woman passing by. However, she was not injured.
“When I walked into this job, I wasn’t aware of none of that,” Menafee said, as reported by New Haven Independent. “And then you know, being there, you start hearing different things. I took a broomstick, and it was kind of high, and I climbed up and reached up and broke it. It’s 2016, I shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that. I just said, ‘That thing’s coming down today. I’m tired of it.’ I put myself in a position to do it, and did it.”
Menafee faces a second-degree misdemeanor charge for reckless endangerment and a first-degree felony charge for criminal mischief. Although he has not entered a plea, he said he was regretful about what he did. “It could be termed as civil disobedience,” he said. “But there’s always better ways of doing things like that than just destroying things. It wasn’t my property, and I had no right to do it.”
As reported by Complex.com, Menafee no longer is employed with the university. Eileen O’Connor, Vice President for Communications at Yale said Menafee “subsequently resigned” after apologizing for his actions. She also said the university “will not advocate that the employee be prosecuted in connection with this incident and is not seeking restitution.”