Light & Verity

Campus clips

A group of alumni is urging Yale to revoke an honorary degree it awarded in 1996 to Stephan Schmidheiny, a Swiss industrialist, for his commitment to environmental sustainability. Schmidheiny was convicted in 2012 by an Italian court of contributing to thousands of asbestos-related deaths in and around a factory he owned in the 1970s and ’80s; his official biography says he transitioned the family business out of asbestos after taking over. Yale says it has never revoked an honorary degree and is not considering it in Schmidheiny’s case.


Two Tlingit carvings on display at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History should be returned to natives in Alaska, students argued at a panel discussion on repatriation in April. The sculptures of a bird and a bear were acquired by Edward Harriman on an 1899 Alaska expedition. Outgoing Peabody director Derek Briggs says that the museum has an “ongoing dialogue” with the Tlingits and that the tribe has not requested the return of the items.


An endowed professorship in poetry—Yale’s first—is being created with a $3 million gift from Frederick Iseman ’74. The professorship will be for “a recognized living poet or a scholar who teaches poetry or dramatic poetry of any era.” At the same time, Iseman gave $2 million to endow live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera on campus.


Organizers of a proposed union for graduate teaching assistants marched on Woodbridge Hall on April 30, presenting a 1,000-signature petition calling on Yale to cooperate in a union election process. Teaching assistants narrowly voted down a union in 2003.

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