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Assistant professor dies in jail
after domestic dispute

A Yale assistant professor died in jail over the weekend after his injury and arrest in a domestic dispute, the New Haven Independent reports. New Haven police and the state Judicial Department, which runs the detention facility, are each investigating the death.

Sam See, an assistant professor of English since 2009, was arrested along with his husband on Saturday, November 23, after police were called to See's home. Each man had a protective order against the other, according to a statement that New Haven police gave the Independent. (The full police statement is below, with the name of See's husband redacted by the Independent.)

See was a brilliant and generous colleague,” says English professor Amy Hungerford. She stresses "what his students said about him: he was totally dedicated, really kind, and gave his all to his teaching."

See was on leave from the university this fall, which seems to have been arranged in haste: he was scheduled to teach classes this semester on Gertrude Stein and on "Queer Mythologies," according to the Blue Book course catalogue. On September 18, he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of assault and breach of peace. A Yale spokesman didn't answer a question about the reasons for See's leave.

Police say See, who was 34 years old, "fought with the officers when they tried handcuffing him" and yelled threats at one officer.

Police called an ambulance "to evaluate a cut above See’s eye," the police say. At Yale-New Haven Hospital, "his injury was treated. He was released to police custody and taken to the detention facility."

See arrived there around 9:10 pm "and was alert and communicating with Judicial Marshals throughout his detainment until Marshals assigned to the detention center found him non-responsive in his cell at approximately 6 a.m. on Nov. 24,” a Judicial Department spokeswoman told the Independent.

“Marshals immediately provided CPR and other lifesaving efforts, until relieved by New Haven Fire and Rescue.”

A Yale spokesman provided the following statement to the Yale Alumni Magazine:

The University community is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Samuel See. Our condolences go out to his family, faculty colleagues, and students, and his friends at Yale and elsewhere. We encourage anyone at Yale who needs comfort and support at this time of loss to reach out to friends in the community or to University resources that are available for consultation and counseling (University Chaplain, Yale Mental Health and Counseling for students, and Magellan Health Services for staff). Mr. See was an assistant professor of English and American Studies who had been on leave during the current semester.

With a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, See focused his research and teaching "primarily on British and American modernist literature and sexuality studies," his faculty page says. 

"sam see was my first english prof at yale and the first prof i ever really connected with," Larissa Pham ’14 tweeted. "rest in peace, sam, you're going to be missed."

Following is the full statement from New Haven police spokesman David Hartman, as it appears in the New Haven Independent:

“On 23 November, 2013 at 5:15 PM, Police received a complaint of a domestic dispute. The caller said her brother was one of the parties involved and that there was a protective order in place.

“Once there, Officers spoke with [See’s husband] . He said despite knowing about the protective order, he went to his home to retrieve his belongings. He said the home is lived in by his husband, Samuel See, 34, of New Haven. He said he spent about two and a half hours there before Police arrived. The protective order was verbified and [See’s husband] was charged with violating it.

“The Officers then spoke with See. He told the Officers to remove [See’s husband] from his home. The Officers informed him there was a second protective order in which [See’s husband] was the party protected from See. See ‘became enraged.’ He yelled that it was his house and that he shouldn’t be arrested. See fought with the Officers when they tried handcuffing him.

“As See was led to a Police car, he yelled to one of the arresting Officers, ‘I will kill you… I will destroy you.’

“Officers summoned EMS to evaluate a cut above See’s eye. An ambulance responded and transported him to Yale - New Haven Hospital where his injury was treated. He was released to Police custody and taken to the detention facility.

“See was charged with violating a protective order, interfering with Police and threatening in the second degree.

“The investigation into the cause of See’s death remain under investigation.”

Filed under Sam See, English department
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