Updated 8:29 p.m.
Yale has offered to rehire Corey Menafee, a dining hall worker who smashed a window depicting slaves picking cotton in Calhoun College last month.
Following Menafee’s resignation on June 21, hundreds in the Yale and New Haven communities have rallied to his side, raising over $24,000 for him and calling for his reinstatement. In a Tuesday morning statement, Yale announced that it would grant Menafee’s “request for a second chance at Yale” following a five-week unpaid suspension. The suspension would include time passed since June 21, so Menafee can “return to a position in a different setting” starting Monday.
“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,” the statement read.
On Tuesday evening, Menafee’s lawyer Patricia Kane released a statement saying that her client would accept the offer Yale made July 18 and would report for work at 11:30 a.m. on July 24.
Kane and Menafee were not immediately available for comment.
Vice President for Communications Eileen O’Connor said she did not have a comment on the acceptance as of Tuesday evening.
Earlier, Menafee told the News Tuesday afternoon that the two parties remained “at the beginning stages of negotiating.”
Menafee said the details of his offered reinstatement specified in the University’s statement were “fresh and new” to him after a reporter informed him of the terms. But O’Connor said she believes that Kane and Menafee were “presented with these terms.”
“I have nothing concrete, nothing to confirm this,” Menafee said.
Menafee said he was still attempting to draft a reinstatement agreement.
His lawyer Patricia Kane told the News that she was advising her client through the process, but that reinstatement negotiations ultimately fall between the University and Menafee’s union, Local 35. Kane dismissed the “inaccurate” and “inappropriate” statement, maintaining that the terms which say that Menafee could start work on Monday after a five-week suspension are not true.
“Two sides have to come to an agreement,” Kane said.”Unless Yale is saying ‘take it or leave it’ — in which case, we’ll leave it.”
O’Connor maintained that the University is “not going to negotiate in public.”
In a statement to the News Tuesday afternoon, Local 35 President Bob Proto said that Menafee, alongside union representatives, spoke with Yale yesterday.
“We stood firm in asking that the University rehire him,” Proto said. “We are now waiting on a draft agreement from Yale and will continue to stand with Mr. Menafee until he is back at work.”
News of the incident, Menafee’s resignation and following charges — which are now likely to be dropped — have ricocheted across Yale’s campus and the broader community. Demonstrators met him on the steps of the New Haven Courthouse July 12 carrying signs which called him a hero, while an open letter to University President Peter Salovey calling for Menafee’s reinstatement has garnered nearly 850 signatures.
The controversy fits into a broader campus debate surrounding Calhoun College, named after slave owner and white supremacist John C. Calhoun, class of 1804. Following months of debate and student rallies, University President Peter Salovey announced in April that the college’s name would not change. Calhoun College Head Julia Adams announced on July 5 that the college would remove several planes of glass depicting Calhoun from and rename its dining hall to honor Roosevelt Thompson ’84.
Menafee’s next court date is set for July 26.