Yale University has offered to rehire a black dishwasher who resigned from his post in June after telling school officials that he intentionally smashed a stained glass window that depicted two slaves picking cotton.
“We are willing to grant his request for a second chance at Yale,” Director of External Communications Karen Peart said Tuesday in a statement.
Corey Menafee was arrested by police in New Haven, Connecticut after taking a broom handle to what he called the “racist, very degrading” image, which hung in the dining room of the university’s Calhoun College. The college, named for alum and pro-slavery former Vice President John C. Calhoun, is decorated with other slavery-themed paintings and stained glass panels.
Menafee faced misdemeanor reckless endangerment and felony criminal criminal mischief charges in connection with the incident.
Peart said that the school has asked the State’s Attorney’s office to drop all charges and invited Menafee to return to his position “in a different setting” next week.
“We are willing to take these unusual steps given the unique circumstances of this matter, and it is now up to Mr. Menafee whether he wishes to return to Yale,” she said in the statement.
Menafee, a father of two, formally asked to be reinstated through his union this week.
In interviews with the press, Menafee explained that he lashed out because he was “tired of” looking at the offensive image.
“It’s 2016, I shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that,” he told the New Haven Independent.
Menafee expressed remorse for his actions, telling the Independent he should have taken a different recourse.
“There’s always better ways of doing things like that than just destroying things,” he said. “It wasn’t my property, and I had no right to do it.”
His cause was taken up by Yale students, alumni and faculty, as well as New Haven community members.