Alumni Petition to the Yale Corporation 

to Revoke Stephan Schmidheiny’s Doctorate of Humane Letters

On June 3, 2013 Stephan Schmidheiny, former owner of the Eternit Company, was sentenced to 18 years of prison by the Court of Appeals in Turin, Italy for causing an “environmental disaster” which resulted in the deaths of over 2,000  workers and citizens from asbestos exposure in the Casale Monferatto municipality alone.  The judges, on appeal, agreed with Chief Prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello’s conclusion that Mr. Schmidheiny was fully aware of the lethal dangers of asbestos.  The Appeals Court also concluded that the deadly effects of asbestos were well understood among directors of the asbestos industry, including Eternit, years before Mr. Schmidheiny took over as chief executive of Eternit.  

Before the American public became aware of the dark side of Mr. Schmidheiny’s career, Yale awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 1996.   Based on the latest judicial decision, the Asbestos Relatives and Victims Association (AFEVA) of Casale Monferrato formally petitioned Yale in September 2013 to consider revocation of the great honor it bestowed on a person who is now a convicted felon.  Since October 2013  the Office of the Secretary, Yale University,  has refused to consider revocation of Mr. Schmidheiny’s honorary doctorate, declaring, “There is no record of Yale ever having revoked an honorary degree, and we are not considering that step in regard to Mr. Schmidheiny.”  But we believe that revoking that high honor will reinforce Yale’s commitment to its motto Lux et Veritas while the whole world is watching.


We, the undersigned Yale alumni, support  the Alumni Petition  to the Yale Corporation to Revoke Stephan Schmidheiny’s Doctorate of Humane Letters...