Yale Worker Destroys Stained Glass Window Depicting Slaves | Connecticut Public Radio

Yale Worker Destroys Stained Glass Window Depicting Slaves

Jul 12, 2016

A stained glass panel at Yale University depicted slaves carrying bales of cotton.
Credit Yale University

Yale University officials have asked the state not to pursue criminal charges against a former worker who destroyed a stained glass window depicting slaves in a cotton field. 

The former dining hall worker appeared in New Haven Superior Court Tuesday.

Corey Menafee, 38, left the courthouse surrounded by a group of supporters and the media. 

"I destroyed that image," he said. "I probably shouldn't have, but I did. It was a disturbing image of what appear to be two slaves, a male and a female, carrying baskets through a cotton field."

The stained-glass panel was in the residential dining hall of Calhoun College, named after the former vice president and senator John C. Calhoun, who was and ardent supporter of slavery.

Barbara Fair, from West Haven, is a community activist who came out in support of Menafee. 

"Breaking the window was not right, but neither was that racist environment," Fair said. "It's not right either. Yale needs to come forth and apologize for subjecting people to those kinds of environments every single day that they come in and work for them."

The incident follows controversy over a recent decision not to change the name of the college despite protests from students and several faculty members. 

Menafee was in court facing a felony charge of criminal mischief in the first degree and a misdemeanor for   reckless endangerment in the second degree. 

Yale said it had already planned to remove the window.

This report includes information from The Associated Press.