The most Harvard vs. Yale thing happened during the Crimson and Bulldogs’ meeting on Saturday: A group of protesters stormed the field at halftime to spread awareness of climate change.
The game, which was being broadcast on ESPNU, was coming out of the break at halftime when the protesters showed up. ESPN cameras showed both teams on the field when protesters arrived, Once it became clear they were there to stay, the teams were sent to their respective locker rooms.
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The announcers at the time had no idea what was going on, but it later became clear they were protesting climate change.
A large sign was revealed to read: “Nobody wins: Yale & Harvard are complicit in climate injustice.”
Harvard vs. Yale is a classic rivalry with the two schools first meeting in 1875. They’ve played each other 135 times leading into Saturday’s game. At the time of the protest, Harvard was leading Yale 15-3.
The delay took longer than most likely would have expected. But with so many students, police had to organize how to effectively get the protesters off the field. Slowly but surely, they were able to get the field cleared up, about a half-hour after the initial delay took place.
ESPNU went back to the Harvard-Yale game briefly. Here’s the current scene. Police are in neon as protesters sit on the field. pic.twitter.com/uWL50YtdCh
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) November 23, 2019
ESPNU briefly left airing the Harvard vs. Yale game, but eventually moved to air Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia. When the broadcast came back, ESPN was able to share some details as to what happened.
“I was out there with the group, talking with a number of the officials, including both the deans of Yale and Harvard,” ESPN reporter Jack Ford said on the broadcast. “Both the deans were out there talking to all of the students, the president of Harvard was out there, sat down and talked to the students. It appears as if they had trained for this eventuality, the notion of stopping the game. But now what they’re doing, according to what their plan was, and this is according to the deans I’ve spoke to, is they’ve agreed to be escorted off the field. They had tied themselves together with rubber arm bands. A number of the protesters have said they wanted to be arrested and the authorities have said, ‘Fine, we’ll make sure that happens. This will all be done peacefully.'”
The ESPN broadcast even captured some of those protesters’ wishes to be arrested.
According to The Harvard Crimson, there were only dozens of protesters initially, but the field got more crowded as hundreds of students came down from the stands to show support.
As some protesters left the field, they yelled, “Disclose, divest, or this will be our death.”
Students, faculty, and University affiliates have repeatedly called on Harvard administrators to divest its endowment from the fossil fuel industry, though Harvard administrators have refused to do so stating that the University does not use its endowment for political purposes. University President Lawrence S. Bacow has previously stated that Harvard should address climate change through its research.
The game did eventually resume, about 40 minutes after the initial delay at halftime.