In 2012, Stephan Schmidheiny, was convicted and sentenced to eighteen years of jail time resulting from negligence that led to the asbestos-related deaths of over 2,000 Italians. After appealing the ruling, Mr. Schmidheiny was still found guilty of negligence in 2013.
As the former CEO of the Swiss Eternit group, Forbes has assessed Mr. Schmidheiny’s net worth at $3 billion, while Yale graced him with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 1996. While Yale states that his honorary degree was awarded “for his advocacy of sustainable economic growth and development,” the residents of Italian towns affected by Eternit’s negligence are requesting that it be revoked: “We consider it unacceptable that a criminal such as he is, a man who has shown no respect for human life, should be allowed to continue to bear the sign of your appreciation and honor.”
In a recent letter sent to Yale, thirty-five mayors of Italian towns requested that Stephan Schmidheiny is stripped of his degree. Preceding the letter was a petition by more than fifty Yale graduates requesting the same thing. For several months now, the university has denied speaking with several media outlets, including the Asbestos Disease and Awareness Organization who has called for the revocation on several occasions.
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