Harvard-Yale football game grinds to halt as hundreds of students storm field to protest climate change

'When it comes to the climate crisis, no-one wins,' says Harvard team captain

Matt Drake
Sunday 24 November 2019 13:02
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Harvard-Yale football game grinds to halt as hundreds of students storm field to protest climate change

A high-profile college football match between Harvard and Yale was interrupted for more than an hour after hundreds of students stormed the field to demand the two elite institutions stop investing in fossil fuels.

Students and alumni from Harvard and Yale disrupted the American football match in New Haven, Connecticut, at half-time to demand the universities take more action to tackle climate change.

Over 200 people chanted: “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Fossil fuels have got to go!”

They were initially met by boos from some of the 50,000 people in attendance, but members of the crowd –and even some of the players – gradually started to join the demonstration.

Activist and founder of international environmental organisation 350.org, Bill McKibben, said: “Amazing action. Harvard Yale Game is literally peak establishment--and they were forced to think about what their investments are doing to the world.

“Such thanks for this leadership!”

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted: “When people come together to stand up for justice, we win.

“Congratulations to the young people demanding a sustainable future for our planet. We are with you in this fight.”

Even the captain of the Harvard football team Wesley Osgbury praised the protesters in a Twitter video after the game.

He said: “When it comes to the climate crisis, no-one wins.

“Harvard and Yale can’t claim to truly promote knowledge while at the same time supporting the companies engaged in misleading the public, smearing academics and denying the truth.

“That’s why we are joining together with our friends at Yale to call for change.”

Most of the protesters left voluntarily escorted by police but some remained and were arrested. It is not immediately clear how many arrests have been made.

Students started campaigning for the colleges to stop investing in oil, gas and coal companies in 2012.

But both universities have refused and argue they are in a better position to encourage corporate climate action while remaining shareholders.

In a statement by Harvard, published by the Harvard Crimson, they said: “Universities like Harvard have a crucial role to play in tackling climate change and Harvard is fully committed to leadership in this area through research, education, community engagement, dramatically reducing its own carbon footprint, and using our campus as a test bed for piloting and proving solutions.”

After the protest finished, the game resumed and Yale won 50-43.

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