Yale caught up in dispute over honorary degree

- FILE - Yale University (WTNH)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Victims of asbestos poisoning in Italy and U.S. alumni and faculty are urging Yale University to rescind an honorary degree to a Swiss man 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 that Yale awarded Schmidheiny an honorary degree in 1996, citing him as an environmentally conscious business leader.

New Haven lawyer Christopher Meisenkothen, who represents the Asbestos Victims and Relatives Association in Italy, said the situation in Italy is the exact opposite of what Yale cited.

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

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Information from: New Haven Register

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