Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz pledged support for a group of Yale students demanding the resignation of a senior fellow of the Yale Corporation last week.
Vernon Loucks, the CEO of Baxter International Inc., has come under attack recently after his company pleaded guilty to violating U.S. trade laws and giving economic information to the Arab League in 1985 in order to be removed from the league's list of companies to be boycotted.
"I think it would be a tragic mistake for him to continue as senior fellow of the Yale Corporation," Dershowitz said in an interview on Friday. "This man is a role model of corruption."
Although Loucks was not personally indicted in the case, student groups including the Yale College Council and the newly formed Students for Business Ethics have called for him to resign on ethical grounds.
"Ethically, Loucks' presence implies that Yale condones violations of, and blatant disregard for, the law--and it damages the credibility and public image of Yale," said Yale student Ben Gordon, coordinator of the Students for Business Ethics.
"We live in an age of increasing concern for business ethics. [Loucks] assigned his chief counsel to do all these illegal things," said Dershowitz. "Clearly, the blame seems to lie with the man in charge."
About 800 students have now signed a petition asking Loucks to step down, Gordon said. And the Yale Daily News recently ran a staff editorial titled. "Resign, Mr. Loucks."
However, the Yale administration continues to support Loucks for his service as a trustee.
"I have not really had time to look in detail at the Baxter situation, so I haven't really formed an opinion about it," incoming President Richard Levin told the Yale Daily News last week. "Vern Loucks is a great guy. That's all I know so far."
And acting President Howard Lamar was "not willing" to meet with representatives of the Students for Business Ethics, according to Gordon.
Dershowitz said he will "actively help the students, who seem to be doing the right thing."
Students said that Dershowitz plans to write letters to members of the Yale Corporation and to further publicize the issue in the national media.
The case against Loucks was made public by Richard Fuisz, a former Baxter employee who says his services were "terminated" because he refused to pay a bribe.
Fuisz said in an interview last week that he secured classified documents from Syrian intelligence that implicated Baxter.
"Mr. Loucks was certainly less than candid about telling the truth," Fuisz said. "I have found that the truth is an excellent weapon."
"Essentially the politics have taken over the principle at Yale," he said.
Loucks did not return several phone calls regarding this story