Yale caught up in dispute over honorary degree

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Victims of asbestos poisoning in Italy, and some Yale University alumni and faculty, are urging the school to rescind an honorary degree given to a Swiss man later convicted over contamination in Italy.

Stephan Schmidheiny, former owner of Swiss construction company Eternit, was convicted in 2012 by an Italian court and sentenced to 16 years for his role in the contamination of sites in northern Italy. An appeals court upheld the conviction and increased his sentence to 18 years.

The New Haven Register reports (http://bit.ly/1gQMg14 ) that Yale awarded Schmidheiny an honorary degree in 1996, citing him as an "environmentally conscious business leader."

Lawyer Christopher Meisenkothen, who represents the Asbestos Victims and Relatives Association, says the situation in Italy is the exact opposite of what Yale cited.

Yale says a decision to revoke an honorary degree must be by the Yale Corporation, the university's governing body.


Information from: New Haven Register, http://www.nhregister.com