The University has requested that criminal charges against an employee who smashed a window in Calhoun College in June be dropped. The employee, Corey Menafee, resigned from Yale after the incident.
“Many of you have seen reports about an incident involving a Yale employee who resigned after breaking a stained glass window in the Calhoun College dining hall,” President Peter Salovey wrote in a message to the Yale community. “The window depicted images of African Americans as slaves that unsettle and offend. This incident has stirred powerful feelings, and many members of the Yale and New Haven community are communicating their views, in various ways.
“This situation was regrettable for all concerned, and I want to assure you that we have worked to resolve it with compassion. We can empathize with the feelings of those who find the art in their workplace to be offensive, even as we condemn actions that endanger the safety of others. Yale requested that the State’s Attorney’s Office not pursue any charges against the employee, and that office has publicly stated they will be seeking a dismissal of the charges.”
The University also said it was not seeking restitution from Menafee. When the window was smashed, pieces of glass fell to the sidewalk outside Calhoun, prompting a passerby concerned about safety to report the matter to people inside the college.
Last April, the University launched an initiative to review Yale’s history with regard to slavery. The Committee on Art in Public Spaces was charged with assessing all of the art on campus, including the windows in Calhoun.
After the window was broken in June, the committee recommended that it and some other windows be removed from Calhoun, conserved for future study and a possible contextual exhibition, and replaced temporarily with tinted glass. An artist specializing in stained glass will be commissioned to design new windows, with input from the Yale community, including students, on what should replace them.
“Certain images across our campus may be more appropriately studied in a gallery or museum where historical background can be provided than in residences or workplaces,” Salovey stated in his message.