Black Yale Worker Loses Job After Smashing Racist Glass Panel Showing Slaves With Cotton

Source: AP
Source: AP

A black dining hall employee at Yale University is out of a job after smashing a glass panel depicting slaves carrying bales of cotton, according to the New Haven Independent.

38-year-old Corey Menafee, who'd been working at the school since 2007, reportedly said he was tired of coming to work and seeing the "racist, very degrading" image. 

So he took action: "I took a broomstick, and it was kind of high, and I climbed up and reached up and broke it," Menafee said, according to the New Haven Independent. "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,'" he continued. "I put myself in a position to do it, and did it."

In a statement provided to the paper, Yale Vice President for Communications Eileen O'Connor said Menafee's actions "result[ed] in glass falling onto the street and onto a passerby, endangering [her] safety.

"The employee apologized for his actions and subsequently resigned from the University," the statement continued. "The University will not advocate that the employee be prosecuted in connection with this incident and is not seeking restitution."

The front gate of Calhoun College, where the incident took place
Source: 
Bob Child/AP

Menafee, who was reportedly arrested by members of the New Haven Police Department, also faces a "second-degree misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment and a first-degree felony charge of criminal mischief" in connection to the incident, according to the New Haven Independent

A history of racism: The glass-shattering incident took place at Yale's Calhoun College — the undergraduate residential college named after John C. Calhoun, noted slave owner and "leading voice for those seeking to secure the institution of slavery," according to History.

A painting of John C. Calhoun
Source: 
Susanne Schafer/AP

Last September, students pushed for Yale to rename the college. In April, Yale President Peter Salovey announced Calhoun College would keep its name — the better "to encourage the campus community to confront the history of slavery, and to teach that history and its legacy."

"Through teaching and learning about the most troubling aspects of our past, our community will be better prepared to challenge their legacies," Salovey said in a statement. "More than a decision about a name, we must focus on understanding the past and present, and preparing our students for the future."

As for the case of the shattered stained glass, there's now a GoFundMe campaign to help support Menafee. All proceeds "will go directly to Mr. Menafee, to assist him in an interim of unemployment," the page states. 

There's also an online petition to dismiss the charges against Menafee. 

On Twitter, supporters are hailing Menafee as a hero.


Read more:
Two Memphis Police Officers Suspended Over Racist Snapchat
Woman's Racist Encounter While Walking Her Dog in Miami Goes Viral
Dear White People: It's Time for Us to Come Get Our Racist Relatives

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Jordyn Taylor

Jordyn is an editor on Mic's news desk. She previously worked at the New York Observer, and is a graduate of Hamilton College and New York University. Jordyn is based in New York, and can be reached at jht@mic.com.

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