Yale University has stated that it will offer a new job to 38-year-old Corey Menafee starting next week, more than a month after the former Yale dishwasher used a broomstick to smash a stained glass window in the Calhoun College dining hall depicting slaves hoisting cotton.
The residential college's namesake, John C. Calhoun, served as vice president under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, and was a South Carolina native who adamantly defended slavery.
"Yale informed Mr. Menafee's attorney that we are willing to grant his request for a second chance at Yale," said Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart in a statement Tuesday. "Mr. Menafee, who resigned in June after he admitted intentionally breaking a stained glass window, has expressed deep remorse about his actions and informed us that he would like to rescind his resignation."
"He will be allowed to return to a position in a different setting, starting on Monday, after serving a five-week unpaid suspension," she added, and, "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."
Earlier this afternoon, Menafee told the Wall Street Journal that he had not been informed of any agreement to return to work. “I haven’t heard of a date of return or nothing like that,” he said. “Nothing has been determined.”
Patricia Kane, Menafee's attorney, told the paper that the announcement from Yale was premature, as she was still in negotiations with the school. She said Local 35 UNITE HERE, the union representing service workers at Yale, would issue a response.
"Mr. Menafee, together with representatives from our union, talked with Yale yesterday," stated UNITE HERE President Bob Proto on Tuesday afternoon. "We stood firm in asking that the University rehire him. We are now waiting on a draft agreement from Yale and will continue to stand with Mr. Menafee until he is back at work."
— Aura Bogado (@aurabogado) July 12, 2016
In the immediate aftermath of his mid-June arrest, Menafee told the New Haven Independent that he was tired of looking at a "racist, very degrading" image during every work shift.
"It's 2016," Menafee said. "I shouldn't have to come to work and see things like that."
The Independent reports that Menafee, a father of two and New Haven native, was escorted from the dining hall in handcuffs after breaking the window, and charged with criminal mischief, a first-degree felony, as well as reckless endangerment, a second-degree misdemeanor.
Yale reversed its position on Menafee's charges last week. "Yale has requested that the State's Attorney not pursue charges and Yale is not seeking restitution," said university spokesman Thomas Conroy in a statement at the time.
Menafee has stated publicly in recent weeks that he would like to return to Yale, where he worked for eight years prior to the window incident.
"I would love my job back if it were offered to me," he said on NPR this week. "I mean, looking back at the situation, it was a very juvenile thing to do. There's way better ways you can handle problems than just smashing something physically."
Accounts of Manafee's departure from Yale in the first place are, like the circumstances of his likely return, are contradictory.
While Yale holds firm that Menafee apologized to the school and resigned from his post, Menafee has countered that he lost his job because the university deemed him a threat to the student body (Menafee and his attorney could not immediately be reached for comment). He later told the Independent that he resigned as part of a quid-pro-quo agreement, and that the university had promised not to press charges. He did not supply a copy of the alleged agreement to reporters.
Yale denied this allegation, stating that "the agreement between the employee and Yale did not include or address the charges against him."