Students and alumni from Harvard and Yale interrupted the anniversary football game between the two elite universities on Saturday, filling the field in New Haven, Connecticut, at half-time and demanding the colleges dispossess from investing in fossil fuels.
More than 200 protesters delayed the high-profile game for approximately an hour, many chanting: “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Fossil fuels have got to go!” The protest was temporarily booed by some in a crowd of 44,989 and debated widely on social media.
After the protest had delayed the TV broadcast of the game and pushed it toward the sunset in a venue sans floodlights, most of the protesters fled the field voluntarily, escorted by police officers. A handful who endured were told they would be detained. The number of arrests conducted was not quickly available.
Students started lobbying in 2012 for both schools to stop investing in oil and gas and coal companies that contribute to the climate crisis. Both universities declined, claiming that they would be in a better position to assist corporate climate action if they remained shareholders.
Earlier this year, hundreds of students at both universities marched out of class for a global climate strike. Last year at Yale about 50 students, community members and professors occupied the investment office until they were detained.
Both schools have massive endowments funded across the economy, including in fossil fuels. Harvard’s is worth $39bn, Yale’s $29bn. Activists maintain that if the universities divest, hundreds of institutions will accompany them.
After the protest dispersed, Quarterback Kurt Rawlings launched two touchdown passes in the final 88 seconds of regulation as Yale rallied from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficiency to beat Harvard 50-43 in two overtimes and secure an Ivy League title on Saturday in one of the most peculiar editions of The Game in its 144 years of history.
The game ended in darkness 15 minutes after sunset in the unlit, 105-year-old Yale Bowl, when Harvard was held on fourth down in the second OT. Yale (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) players rushed onto the field from their sideline, and those waiting in the stands ran onto the field — the second time in the afternoon that enthusiasts took over the field.