NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Yale University has asked the state not to pursue criminal charges against a former worker who destroyed a stained-glass window depicting slaves in a cotton field.
Corey Menafee, who is African-American, told reporters outside New Haven Superior Court on Tuesday that he probably shouldn’t have taken a broomstick to the window last month, but he found the image disturbing.
The window was inside Calhoun College, named for former Vice President John C. Calhoun, an ardent defender of slavery during the 19th century. The college’s name has been the subject of protests by students who want it changed.
The 38-year-old dining hall employee was in court Tuesday facing a felony charge of criminal mischief and a misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge.
“The employee did apologize for his actions and subsequently resigned from the university, but separately Yale has already requested the state’s attorney not pursue charges and we’re not taking restitution,” Yale spokeswoman Eileen O’Connor said.
Meanwhile, the university has acknowledged that it decided to remove similar stained-glass windows only after the window-breaking incident.
The school had earlier said it had planned to remove that window and others to be “conserved for future study and possible contextual exhibition.”
“That exhibition will be set in the context of the history of why these windows would be depicting the things they are, obviously it would exhibited in the context of Yale’s history with slavery,” O’Connor said.
Tuesday afternoon, the school acknowledged that decision came after the June incident.
Yale said an artist specializing in stained glass will be commissioned to design new windows, with input from the Yale community, including students, on what they should depict.
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