It’s A Deal!

Corey Menafee, the cafeteria worker who lost his job after smashing a slavery-themed stained-glass window panel in Yale’s Calhoun College, plans to return to work Monday.

Menafee’s attorney, Patricia Kane, told the Independent Tuesday night that Menafee has accepted Yale’s offer to return to work.

“My client’s goal is to return to work, and this clears a path,” Kane said. “The only thing they’re saying is he can come back to work, and he’ll start on Monday.”

Kane said that her client has not agreed to some of the terms of reinstatement — a five-week unpaid suspension dating from the day of his “resignation” under pressure and a new assignment to a different dining hall — Yale outlined in a press release earlier in the day.

Kane initially rejected the terms outlined in the press release, saying that negotiations with the university had barely begun. She said Tuesday night that she had not been in touch with Yale all day.

“They’ve made this offer in public through the press rather than direct negotiations with the union or with me,” she said. “We’re just cutting right through it and showing up to work.”

Her announcement marks the end of a tumultuous week for Menafee, whose case gave renewed force to a student-led campaign for the renaming of Calhoun after the Independent published an initial story last week. Menafee’s case became a cause celebre both in town and nationwide.

“None of this would have been possible without the efforts of the community and the media. I can’t say it enough: Thank you so much,” Menafee told the Independent earlier Tuesday.

An earlier version of this story follows.

Yale May Rehire Arrested Caf Worker

Daniel Brighenti PhotoYale said Tuesday that it has offered to rehire an African-American cafeteria worker who became a cause celebre after leaving his post under pressure — but the matter remains under negotiation.Yale announced Tuesday that it has offered to rehire Corey Menafee, whom Yale police arrested — on a felony charge — after he broke a stained-glass window panel in Calhoun College depicting slaves at work.

After the Independent published this story, supporters in New Haven and nationwide took up Menafee’s cause, urging Yale to give him his job back. Menafee had “resigned” under pressure in a deal with Yale, but then said he wanted this job back. New Haven Mayor Toni Harp was the latest figure Monday urging Yale to rehire Menafee.

His incident touched two raw nerves: one from a year-long debate over whether to rename Calhoun College rather than continue to honor one of the country’s most ardent and visible defenders of slavery; and another from disparate treatment of African-Americans by the criminal justice system.

Yale issued this statement Tuesday: “Yale informed Mr. Menafee’s attorney that we are willing to grant his request for a second chance at Yale. 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 (including the time since his resignation on June 21). Yale has already asked the State’s Attorney to drop all charges. 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.”

Menafee told the Independent Tuesday that Yale offered to return him to his previous position in a different dining hall. He said he and the union are in early stages of discussions with Yale about the terms of reinstatement, so he doesn’t know yet if he’ll end up back in the job.

 

Menafee was moved by the turn of events.

“None of this would have been possible without the efforts of the community and the media,” he said. “I can’t say it enough: Thank you so much.” (Click on the above video to watch Menafee’s appearance on the “Democracy Now!” news program.)

But the matter’s not settled.

Menafee’s attorney, Patricia Kane, called the Yale statement a “fiction” that is “full of inaccuracies.” The matter remains very much in negotiation, she said.

“My client’s not going to work Monday. There’s no agreement in place.”

She took particular issue with the part of the statement listing terms that Menafee has not agreed to.

“Does Yale intend this to be a take it or leave it? Because we won’t take it. This is not only premature. There are no terms. This is only the beginning of a negotiation.”

Yale Vice President for Communications Eileen O’Connor told the Independent that the terms in the statement are what the university is offering Menafee, and that Menafee has not accepted the terms yet.

O’Connor said it is “absolutely inaccurate” that Menafee and Kane had not been sent the terms of the proposed rehiring. She declined to comment further on the terms except to say they were raised in a discussion Monday among Yale, Menafee and his union, UNITE HERE Local 35. She decline to say why Yale issued a public statement about ongoing negotiations or why Menafee will be unable to return to a position in Calhoun College.

Local 35 President Bob Proto issued this statement Tuesday: “Mr. Menafee, together with representatives from our union, talked with Yale yesterday. 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.”

Tags: , ,

Post a Comment

Commenting has closed for this entry

Comments

posted by: Nancyteach on July 19, 2016  1:26pm

He should be grateful he’s even given the opportunity to return.

posted by: wendy1 on July 19, 2016  2:06pm

I read a bio of Calhoun, slave owner, pro-slavery, encouraged the secession of the South.

It is disgusting and disheartening that Yale seeks to sanction this employee, a quiet man with a good record.  The corporation is cold blooded and cruel, disconnected from its students, teachers, and clients, deaf to their concerns and understanding of fair play.  I hope this changes.

posted by: kenneth_krayeske on July 19, 2016  3:10pm

Whenever I think about Yale, I must keep in the forefront of my mind that it spends more money managing its $26 billion endowment than it does on student aid. Yale is a hedge fund with a university attached. No matter what, Yale should be congratulated for hiring Mr. Menafee back, if it happens.

posted by: HewNaven on July 19, 2016  3:16pm

This is the part about Calhoun that draws most people into the controversy:

Be it good or bad, [slavery] has grown up with our society and institutions, and is so interwoven with them that to destroy it would be to destroy us as a people. But let me not be understood as admitting, even by implication, that the existing relations between the two races in the slaveholding States is an evil:–far otherwise; I hold it to be a good, as it has thus far proved itself to be to both, and will continue to prove so if not disturbed by the fell spirit of abolition. I appeal to facts. Never before has the black race of Central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically, but morally and intellectually.

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/slavery-a-positive-good/

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on July 19, 2016  3:17pm

Good on Yale for seeing the light and offering Mr. Menafee back his job.

Now can we hope that Yale re-visits the issue and renames Calhoun College? (thereby ending this ugly controversy which is not going away!)

posted by: Bill Saunders on July 19, 2016  3:30pm

Finally, the Union arrives in the story content.

It’s really too bad that Menafee was so rash with his actions…..this was a great issue to address with the entire collective bargaining unit.

posted by: Marion on July 19, 2016  4:33pm

Wow, Menafee’s lawyer has quite the attitude.  What Yale is considering doing is quite remarkable. I wouldn’t take someone like that back in to my workplace. You’d think she’d be less hostile and critical of Yale.  She and her client should show some gratitude. She’s not only looking a gift horse in the mouth, she’s scowling at it.

posted by: AliceB on July 19, 2016  4:33pm

You must be kidding!!  This guy destroys property and is defended for doing so and now he may get his job back for destroying property???  So, next time he doesn’t like a carpet or chair and destroys said carpet or chair ; that will be o.k??? What a joke!!

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on July 19, 2016  5:19pm

@ AliceB—It can be argued that Menafee was stuck in a hostile work environment, and that his rogue act was directly a result of such. I believe it is by no means a stretch to hold Yale,—stubborn and tone-deaf on this Calhoun controversy,—partially responsible for this regrettable. situation.

Fwiw, below is the comment I posted on the last Menafee story, in response to those of you trying to simplify what is in fact a complex racial issue:
 
“A black man works in a Yale dormitory named in honor of a noted secessionist and defender of slavery. Against a political back-drop of a failed push by students and others in the community to get Yale to change the name of Calhoun College, he one day gets bothered enough by a stained-glass depiction of negro slaves, happy in the field—to rashly destroy it. And some of you want to label this a simple matter of vandalism?

Of course his behavior was wrong. But so was Yale subjecting him to work in a dorm named after Calhoun, with demeaning artistic depictions such as the one he destroyed.

Menafee should not have broken under the strain and lashed out in anger. He readily admits that. However, his rogue act does not mean he is someone never to be trusted again. Imho, after nine years working for the University, he deserves a 2nd chance.

If the college were named after a Nazi, and the worker a Jew, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. But somehow blacks are supposed to swallow living and working in a dormitory named in honor of Calhoun?”

posted by: wendy1 on July 19, 2016  6:19pm

To lose your job in this town, in this economy is a death sentence.

Yale Univ. and YNHH have been known to give 2nd chances to plenty of employees though not all.  I recall instances, circumstances, and situations that make breaking a window at work a less than minor offense..  Most of us have broken a window in our lifetimes and you nay-sayers call this a felony???  Where is your humanity????

When you treat people badly over a long time, you might expect a response.  Years ago I read a book called Sabotage In The American workplace which turned out to be fairly common although this affair is not sabotage.  I mention this though because the deniers and self-righteous folks will never know if someone spit in their soup or hamburger or performed a little fix on a machine at work or pilfered stuff on the job…...

posted by: Hieronymous on July 19, 2016  6:20pm

Patricia Kane needs to get out of her client’s way. He had to correct her earlier when she insisted he didn’t want the job back because Yale is a “hostile environment” and she still seems to prefer kicking dirt to actually helping him.

I think it’s great that Yale has offered Menafee his job back and I hope and fully expect the charges will be dropped. Yale has, in my view, been unduly pilloried in this story in part because of poor initial reporting on the terms of the resignation (the initial story was published four weeks after the incident and yet NHI still couldn’t get the story straight) and a zeal among NHI and local activists to make this a big story. That said, it’s clear to me that Menafee himself is remorseful for a temporary lapse in judgment and just wants to get on with his life. It’s time to leave him alone and stop pretending that Yale is some racist bully in respect to this incident. There’s plenty of reasons to criticize Yale (including its cynical refusal to rename Calhoun), but this isn’t one of them.

posted by: AliceB on July 19, 2016  6:28pm

So, if one feels they are in a hostile working environment one has the right to “destroy” what is bothering them about that environment??  So, if you don’t like your boss; think your boss is a sexist or racist you have the right to, what? hurt that individual???  That is pretty much what Average Taxpayer is saying. 
I have been in hostile working environments and I never became violent or destructive; there are other ways to address problems.  Speak with your supervisor and state that you find something offensive.  If it is a window, as is this case, then maybe you can be transferred. 
This particular window depicts two people carrying what appears to be cotton.  They may or may not be slaves; if they are then this window is depicting a scene from history.  Not all scenes from history are serene and wonderful; but it is history. 
There is just no way this individual should get his job back; rewarding bad behavior is never the answer.  Taking responsibility for bad behavior and being punished for destroying private property is the answer.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 19, 2016  6:46pm

Yale’s decision to reinstate Menafee is disappointing. What’s right is wrong, and now, what’s wrong is right. Menafee should take the offer and be eternally grateful. His attorney and union should both shut up and say thank you for looking the other way on criminal behavior and endangering the public. His new found outrage, something he knew nothing about for all but a few days of nine years working there is nothing short of fraud. I just can’t wait for how many other times, Harp and the press will excuse bad behavior because somebody had a moment.

posted by: robn on July 19, 2016  11:04pm

AVGTAX,

In your previous comment your argued that Mr Menafee was “compelled” to work in this environment and now you’re arguing that he was “subjected”. Neither is really true. He chose to work at Yale and could have requested a transfer out of Calhoun if he found the artwork offensive. That would have been a more powerful action IMHO.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on July 20, 2016  3:05am

@ Noteworthy,

There you go again.  “His attorney and union should both shut up and say thank you for looking the other way on criminal behavior and endangering the public.”  You sound ridiculous.  This man hires an attorney to represent him with the hope of acquiring all that he can, and when he’s at the cusp of potentially getting his job back, you lambaste those who support him.

“Menafee should take the offer and be eternally grateful.”  Why?  Is it because you say so?  People of color have heard those same sentiments from people like you for over 400 years. It isn’t your fault, you just can’t seem to help yourself. 

As you struggle with your inherent indifference towards those with a permanent tan, try not to be so obvious.  Or better yet, at least show a little respect by removing your hood while writing.

As has been said in my earlier comments regarding this incident, I will never condone destructive behavior, and what this gentleman did was indeed reprehensible.  However, I do believe heavily in second chances.  And for that, it’s Yale that deserves all the credit for ostensibly entertaining the idea of allowing Mr. Menafee to return to work on its premises.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 20, 2016  7:28am

@Brian - You give lip service to the concept of right and wrong and the consequences of such. But then you support getting far more than one deserves simply because of skin color. Repeatedly. Pointing out what a great and special deal he’s getting is not racism. Your character attack is unwarranted.

posted by: BevHills730 on July 20, 2016  8:11am

This is a great victory for Menafee, but this is not a case of Yale being generous or doing the right thing.  Time and time again, Yale only acts on these types of issues when its hand is forced and when its leadership determines that small concessions are necessary to minimize damage to its brand. In Yale’s ideal world, Menafee would have been fired and charged.  Yale took a different course only when Menafee took his fight public. 

Golaith isn’t kind or good in defeat, he is simply defeated.

posted by: Razzie on July 20, 2016  10:44am

BRIAN JENKINS—I must disagree with you. I find nothing “reprehensible” about what Menafee did. In my view, he is a hero, to be cheered for his courage in voicing his objection to the continuing display of an undeniably racist and demeaning perpetuation of the “Happy Slave” myth. My only regret is that it took so long for someone—ANYONE—to smash that offensive symbol to bits. Had its existence been more widely known by the general public, I dare say it would not have lasted as long as it did.

It is heartening to see that a few commenters truly get it [thank you AVG TAXPAYER]. If this had been a portrait of Josef Mengele smiling patronizingly over a gathering of smiling, adoring Auschwitz inmates, few dissenters would be defending the portrait as “private property’, historical depiction” or labelling its removal as criminal behavior. Let’s call it what it truly is. Like Rosa Parks over a half century ago, enough is enough. Menafee found courage to jeopardize his family and livelihood and took action against the Great Lie. And if one takes the time to research John Calhoun one would be left with no respect for Yale’s cowardice in refusing to remove his name from the residential college that so many of our future national leaders will attend.

posted by: Marion on July 20, 2016  11:48am

@Wendy1:  “Quiet man with a good record”?  Give me a break.  He engaged in violence in the workplace, and could have injured a pedestrian with the flying glass.  That is neither “quiet” nor a “good record.”

posted by: dorian39 on July 20, 2016  11:49am

I pray that no one exposes Mr. Manafee to the works of Mark Twain.  Will Yale students and administrators, and the Independent readers join in at the book-burning ceremony.  Nothing like encouraging the new commandment : thou shalt not be punished or held accountable for your behavior if your “cause” is righteous.

posted by: riseandshine on July 20, 2016  12:17pm

what a joke. Folks need to stop drinking & smoking and doing crazy things then when the hi wears off you’re sorry ... really, give me a break. they should hold his pay for 90 days. he better thank god he got his job back

posted by: kenneth_krayeske on July 20, 2016  12:25pm

Dorian39 - red herring much? Twain was anti-imperialist, anti-racist, and pro-women’s suffrage. He wrote “The Gilded Age.” If you are challenging his usage of the N-word in his writings, he documented the way people spoke in his time. To ask Twain, in hindsight, to avoid the n-word would be to ask Tolstoy to avoid Russian misogyny. You can’t, and it is in part what makes Twain’s writing so valuable to understanding America.

posted by: robn on July 20, 2016  12:55pm

KK,

Good point…now back to my point which was purged out when the NHI reshuffled the stories. Calhoun College was designed down to the last detail by John Russell Pope, who also designed the Lincoln Memorial. Neither you, nor me, nor Mr Menafee knows if the window was an homage to slavery or an admonishment. Nor will we know since one person took it upon himself to delete history. (I find the latter more likely since the design was by a post-Civil War, New York born, turn of the century architect.)

posted by: LookOut on July 20, 2016  1:00pm

very disappointing that this guy got his job back.  What do we learn from this?  Where is the line between right and wrong?  Are we all free to destroy items we see in public that offend our values.  There are a multitude of memorial to Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and Jesus that might offend some….

posted by: William Kurtz on July 20, 2016  4:24pm

I don’t even know where to start. How about the fetishizing of “property”? Do you all have the same view of the guys who threw all that British tea into Boston harbor two hundred and some-odd years ago?

How about “deleting history”?  Seriously, if the only thing keeping the horror of chattel slavery alive in your mind is a small window in a college dorm, then please read a book. I suggest <I>The Adventures of Huck Finn<I> by Mark Twain. There’s plenty to discuss in that book in terms of its sometimes caricatured depiction of minorities but I challenge anyone who reads it—and understands its-to claim it’s racist or pro-Slavery.

I’m not even going to address the ridiculous possibility that Mr. Menafee might destroy a carpet or chair. Please.

posted by: Marion on July 20, 2016  5:31pm

@BrianLJenkins:  Telling “Noteworthy” to “remove his hood while writing”?  Seriously?  Noteworthy made a totally valid point. So you don’t agree with, but you respond with that kind of hateful insult and smear? Whew, where is NHI and its censorship key when you expect it?  I know of many comments that were no way near that level of offense, yet they didn’t make it past the NHI speech police. But this one did?  Double standard at NHI?

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 20, 2016  6:55pm

Robn: Take off those rose colored glasses thru which you want to see the Calhoun stained glass windows. To quote a Yale prof: they’re a paean right out of Disney’s “Song of the South”.

There’s even a banjo playing black man (minstrel?) and a big house for the master and some spruced up shacks for the slaves.

The 30s were hardly a time of enlightenment. Wasn’t Father Coughlin around with his hate speech? Weren’t people reeling from the Depression and the rise of fascism in Europe?

You are too kind in your interpretation that this could have been an admonishment. Clearly it was an idealized representation of those happy days on the plantation when the cotton was abundant and so were the slaves that made the master wealthy.

posted by: Razzie on July 20, 2016  8:06pm

Robn – The following definitions apply:

homage—“the formal public acknowledgment by which a feudal tenant or vassal declared himself to be the man or vassal of his lord, owing him fealty and service.”

admonishment—“to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner”

In looking at the picture of the window before it was broken, there is nothing in that depiction that would lead the rational mind to believe it was an “admonishment” of the institution of slavery. More clearly in my view, it does appear to be an “homage” to the evil institution – where persons were treated as vassals, as property … and were expected to shuffle, smile and enjoy the lash at the hands of the “master”. Pro-slavery apologists (then as well as now) sought to overcome their moral guilt by proclaiming to the world that they were really “helping” the poor slave become a civilized human being. Well … thanks, but No Thanks!

The “Happy Slave” myth is no less offensive than the Confederate Stars and Bars flying from our government institutions; and no less offensive than the Goodman, Cheney and Schwerner Ku Klux Klan murders, and any “homage” one might care to create of that shameful event. Good riddance to the window. And you should read some of the white supremacist writings of the man you offer apologies for.

posted by: HhE on July 20, 2016  10:21pm

Dumping tea into a harbor is a crime against humanity.

posted by: robn on July 20, 2016  10:26pm

RAZZIE,

I think you misunderstand me. Im suggesting that the image may have been placed there by Architect Pope as an admonishment of Calhoun or whatever donor demanded his name on the building in 1933. I’d like to know more. Who was the donor? When was the naming announced relative to construction? Did it raise no eyebrows at the time (when there were probably still a few living alums who remembered the civil war or its aftermath)?

posted by: Teachergal on July 21, 2016  9:47am

Firing this man does nothing but hurt his family. He has children who need his weekly salary for TBT, food, etc.  He definitely had a lapse in judgement and made a bad choic BUT taking his job away does not fit the crime. Maybe he should be required to do some sort of community service which would be more appropriate but to be fired, no! Glad he was not and given a second chance!

posted by: Razzie on July 21, 2016  9:54am

ROBN—

Thanks for clarifying. I understand your point, altho I find it unlikely that a donor/author of the Happy Slave themed stained glass window would intend it as a criticism of the segregationist, white supremacist, secessionist Calhoun—who chose to resign as Vice President in order that he would return to the South and be a leader in its rebellion against the pro-slavery Union.

I don’t know Menafee. But he doesn’t strike me as a man who was “rash”, “violent”, exercising “bad behavior”, “criminal” “fraud”, or “drinking & smoking and doing crazy things…” like some posters choose to label him. He strikes me as an ordinary guy, who happened to finally “get it” about the symbol he had been exposed to every day for the past 9 years of his life. The ultimate in being Punk’d! This isn’t a story about an employee senselessly breaking his employer’s window. Menafee’s predicament is tantamount to having a noose hung outside the Afro-Am Center, or a cross burning on the steps of Varick AME church. And more importantly, to me, it’s a story of Yale’s complicity in that affront, and Yale’s hypocrisy and moral cowardice in failing to do the right and just thing about John Calhoun, the White Supremacist.

posted by: Razzie on July 21, 2016  10:37am

CORRECTION>> “anti-slavery Union.

posted by: AliceB on July 21, 2016  11:01am

Should we rename Washington, DC because George was a white supremacist ???  History teaches.By destroying art or burning books we don’t like we are simply showing ignorance and not intelligence. We have grown as a nation and it is through history that we have been able to grow. We don’t destroy that which we disagreed with; we study and learn. 
As for Mr. Menafee what he did was destructive and wrong. He should have considered the consequences before he acted.  Yale is being very generous with him.

posted by: Razzie on July 21, 2016  1:00pm

Alice B—

There is a vast qualitative difference between intelligence learned at the tip of the master’s lash than that learned from reading a book. I dare say that your naivete is showing.

Menafee clearly did something that he knew would be disfavored—an act of civil disobedience. However, not every act of civil disobedience merits punishment, especially a punishment as severe as the loss of his livelihood. Yale University comes to this situation with actions equally, if not more so, condemnable. Is it right or just in your view for Menafee to be punished and for Yale to go free? Let’s not reward moral cowardice of Yale.

posted by: BevHills730 on July 21, 2016  3:28pm

Interesting to see which of the individuals here have regressive racial views. This is helpful in providing some context for their other comments.

posted by: AliceB on July 21, 2016  6:41pm

To Razzie:
You know what really frightens me, Razzie?  People such as yourself know nothing of history - only what you want history to have been or should have been.  That is not the way of life, Razzie - I am not naive you are simply uniformed and maybe just maybe you will one day understand that what has gone before us is not always good and wonderful and what will come after us will not always be to your liking - it is just for us to understand and not destroy that which is not ours to destroy. 
I honestly do not believe Mr. Menafee was actively thinking about an act of civil disobedience - he was just being destructive.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on July 21, 2016  9:22pm

@ Razzie,

Would you suggest that everyone black react in the same manner should they too witness a depiction that reminds them of slavery?  Further, wouldn’t you agree that adopting that attitude would be tantamount to taking the law into your own hands?

Sadly, his behavior was heralded by almost all black people on this forum, but certainly not by me.  I call it as I see it.

In retrospect, I can recall my mother telling me “never touch anything that doesn’t belong to you.”  My response is based, on how I was raised,

Where did yours come from?

posted by: whaaa on July 22, 2016  10:32am

To me it’s a no-brainer that Yale should offer him his job back.  History and humans are messy; laws are imperfect.  The protection of property certainly does not come before all else.

I believe he felt it and with good reason, really.  Look at this country.

I also absolutely believe that Yale should rename Calhoun and that they’re dithering and rather full of it on not doing so.

Yale really is basically a corporation, short and simple.

posted by: Razzie on July 22, 2016  11:06am

Alice B—
When Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus; when Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner took a ride down in Mississippi hoping to register black voters; when 14-yr old Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi, none of those people had any intention for events to end up as they did. Yet I consider them to be heroes—albeit unintentional heroes. Whether you believe Menafee made a conscious decision to commit an act of civil disobedience at the time he lashed out at the racist demeaning, degrading symbol celebrating the life and times of Yale’s premier White Supremacist is pure conjecture. Maybe he did ... maybe he didn’t. So what? Does that make his act any less meaningful than the others cited above? IMHO, I don’t think so.

Brian Jenkins—
FWIW, I was raised by my father to stand up for the principles I believe in, and to understand and accept the range of consequences that may apply. Menafee committed an act which he most surely understood could result in his dismissal. Yet he took it nonetheless. In measuring appropriate consequences, the “Why” is just as important as the “What”. In Menafee’s case, your focus on the What unfortunately dismisses consideration of the Why. I do not suggest that everyone should go destroy all images that remind hem of slavery. Nor would I have necessarily chosen to take the action he did. However, I am suggesting that I UNDERSTAND his motivations and cannot in good conscience object to what he did.

I must point out that Yale apparently understands the Why as well as the What, and chose to drop the charges relating to damaging their property. I see no reason why you and Alice B can not accept that action as a just and final resolution. Although we may disagree on whether he is a hero ... the matter is closed as to whether he is a criminal or subject to any other sanctions.

posted by: HhE on July 22, 2016  12:57pm

Ms. Parks did not break the windows of the bus she was on; she claimed a seat she had every right to.  Misters Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner did not turn over voting boxes or block white voters, they risked their lives and were murdered because they sought to protect the rights of others.  In both cases, their actions were deliberate and considered.  Master Till apparently did not know the “rules” of the Deep South, and was murdered by two or three cowards (two were charged, but there is evidence of a third) because she may have looked at a white woman.  There was no intention in this case, but I rate him a hero for being so brave in death.

To my mind, what Mr. Menafee ought to have done was to shame Yale, rather than engage in vandalism and put the safety of an innocent person in danger.  Set up a YouTube channel, with videos of the offending artwork and artifacts, get people to say what they think, enlist the help of the NHI to tell people about this channel.  Bring enough social pressure to bear, and chances are, Yale will act.

Yale is now clearly Locals 34/35’s punk.  Good luck with that.

I am rather curious as to why Calhoun College was named for someone like him.  Granted, the ‘30s were not far removed from the ‘20s, America’s most racist decade, but I still wonder at it.

I do think Yale ought to have removed all of the offending are and architectural details from the College, and place them in a room for display, with a sign on the door, “Dare we forget” or something like it.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on July 22, 2016  2:14pm

@ Razzie,

Is vandalism of a crime?  Hence, my labeling the gentleman a criminal.  Your definition of a hero is apparently different from mine.  A person that runs into a burning building and resques helpless people is my impression of a hero.  Of course there are a plethora of examples of hero. 

I’m curious, would you construe a person destroying similar art at the Yale Art Museum, a hero also? 

Here’s a more personal, however, abstract scenario…I find out that your house was built by a slave owner, would you consider me a hero if I destroy it? 

This man I’m sure is a part of this boisterous Yale Union, where have they been? Their silence on this issue has been deafening. 

Back to you Razzie.  Most woman that are raped do not report the horrible crime committed against them.  BUT THEY WERE STILL RAPED!!  Because Yale dropped the charges doesn’t in no way negate the act.  It’s Yale in my view that should be heralded for not pressing charges and for entertaining the idea to rehire the gentleman.

It doesn’t bother me to see a confederate flag being flown.  Because I know who won the war. 

With respect to Rosa Parks, she deserved to sit anywhere she wanted to on the bus because she paid the same amount of money to ride if not more.  Yes, I know the Jim Crow Laws prohibited her from sitting in the front section, but it was the boycott that was the hero in my view.  Rosa was the catylist.

With respect to 14 year old Emmitt Till, it was his mother who decided to keep the casket opened so the viewing public can see how his faced was literally destroyed by white murderers that accused him of flirting with a white woman. 

With respect to Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney, they like many gave their lives for cause.  I’m in no way trivializing their sacrifice, but those who wear the military uniform and have died while fighting, sacrificed their lives for the cause too.

I apologize for being loquacious with my response, but you contradicted yourself.

posted by: Razzie on July 24, 2016  12:35am

Brian Jenkins—“Because Yale dropped the charges doesn’t in no way negate the act.  It’s Yale in my view that should be heralded for not pressing charges and for entertaining the idea to rehire the gentleman.”

Give me a break! So in your view, it’s Yale that is the true hero in this episode?! So I suspect in your world historic figures like Martin Luther King Jr. was little more than a law-breaking hooligan who conspired and incited others to riot; Muhammad Ali was just another draft dodger; and Sheriff Bull Connor and Gov. George Wallace were staunch defenders of law and order—and property rights. Yeah, let’s celebrate and award Yale’s moral cowardice in adopting and continuing to promote the White Supremacy teachings of John Calhoun.

To be a criminal, there has to be a crime. For you to call Menafee a criminal, he has to be charged and convicted of a crime. Not everyone who is charged with a crime is guilty of a criminal act. Many an adolescent has broken a few windows, sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose. Is that sufficient for you to label them “criminals”? No harm, no foul. Likewise, not every homicide is a crime. There are numerous instances where a killing is justified. There are even instances of capital punishment, where a killing is ordered by the government. The existence of all of these qualifiers proves to me that the “Why” of an act cannot be discarded. There are times when a broken window should be regarded as nothing more than a broken window. In judging the relative wrongdoings of Menafee and his employer Yale, this is one of those times.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on July 24, 2016  5:08pm

@ Razzie,

As loquacious as you appear to be, I couldn’t help but to notice that you made NO mention of your house, nor did you make any mentioning of the rape victim examples I put forth.  The house example addresses your hero claim and the rape victim addresses your criminal example.  Again, let me reiterate, I’m in no way trivializing the seriousness of the act of rape. 

If you can discontinue your “obfuscation” campaign and substantively address those two questions, I’ll possibly capitulate.

Also, I don’t allow anyone to put words in my mouth and I don’t allow anyone to take words out either.  I gave you a hint of my example of a hero of which you may disagree, but that’s one of my example nevertheless. 

This ludicrous idea of yours to somehow elevate Mr. Menefee to the status of a modern day civil rights leader is both disturbing and deeply hysterical. 

All it takes according your argument is for someone to kick in a window with a caricature of blacks picking cotton to be fashioned into a hero/civil rights leader.  This comportment of yours begs a more begrudging question, are you in desperate need of idols?

Hey Razzie!! Do you know of any other windows that are in need of destruction, I’d like to be branded a civil rights leader too? 

I guess it’s safe to say that your now waiting for Mr. Menefee’s ‘I Have A Dream” speech?

posted by: Razzie on July 25, 2016  11:04am

Brian—

I know we have gone wa-a-y too long on this thread. But you demanded I respond, so I will close with this attempt to help you realize where our disconnect comes from.

Rape and murder are two of the most morally reprehensible actions we are capable of. And to that list I would add slavery and its Jim Crow aftermath. Damaging a piece of personal property does not compare. Menafee did not rape anyone and did not kill anyone. He took action to express his displeasure at Yale continuing to honor a White Supremacist slavery proponent…(who incidentally committed treason on his country). I ask you, would you have the same dim view of Menafee if the memorial he removed was a tribute to Osama Bin Laden, rather than John Calhoun (or a tribute to Josef Mengele instead)? Yale’s actions in failing to remove the offending object most certainly would have resulted in its involuntary removal sooner or later, whether Menafee did it or not. Like your example of Rosa Parks, he was indeed the catalyst needed to bring about that beneficial change in Yale’s racially offensive practices.

And no one died in the process. I call that a good result.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on July 25, 2016  2:23pm

@ Razzie,

While you remain incessantly transfixed on the caricature, my focus has always remained on the act.  I witness racial biases on a regular basis, but I would never sacrifice my children’s food, clothes and shelter just to make point to satisfy the likes you.  Our parents encountered far more egregious physical acts heaped upon them while all along maintaining their calmness to keep us clothed and fed.

I’m not even going to entertain your insidious bin laden comment.  To do so would be beneath me.  Be mindful of this my friend, I’m way too sharp to fall into your psychological snares.

“Dim view?”  You hurt me with that one. (Lol)  You know fair well I in no way attempted to equate rape, murder and slavery with destroying a window. 

Furthermore, I have never written anywhere where I have disclaimed that Yale was perfect.  But what I will say is this, Yale hires more black people than anyone else in the city.  Do they (Yale) have more to do regarding race relations and wages?  Absolutely.  But I haven’t read anything anywhere that says Yale forces people to work for them, have you?

Now leave alone.

posted by: HhE on July 25, 2016  6:14pm

The only Muddy Waters I care for the brilliant blues player.  Fortunately, we have member of the New Haven Independent Commentariat like Brian L. Jenkins and Brutus2015 to clear things up.

Yale’s primary mission and first obligation is the education of its students; it does not exist to create employment for people who need it.  I have put up with some pretty awful stuff because that was what I needed to do keep a job to pay my bills.  “Yale did the right thing”?  No, Yale was overly generous, and look what they get for their efforts.

Not too long ago, City Hall displayed a picture of Che Guevara as a Latino hero.  I consider this murderous thug to be a real villain, but I did not walk down to city hall to trash his picture.

No one died is a rather low bar, but maybe that is the real issue.