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Students Interrupt Harvard-Yale Football Game To Protest Climate Change, Demand Canceling Puerto Rico’s Debt

Students are urging both universities to forgo endowments stemming from fossil fuels and demanding pressure on financiers to cancel Puerto Rico’s debt.


Students interrupted the 136th Harvard and Yale football game hosted at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut on Nov. 23 to protest climate change.

“Nobody wins. Yale & Harvard are complicit in climate injustice,” read a banner on the field held by student protesters.

According to CNN, the game was delayed for a half hour before the students were led off the field by the authorities. Harvard was up 15 to 3 when the protest began just before halftime came to an end.

The protesters are urging both universities to forgo endowments stemming from investments in fossil fuels. Protesters are also calling on the schools to apply pressure on hedge fund managers to write off any debt from Puerto Rico, an island territory of the United States ravaged by massive hurricanes that many have blamed on climate change.

“Harvard and Yale claim their goal is to create student leaders who can strive toward a more ‘just, fair, and promising world’ by ‘improving the world today and for future generations,’” the three student groups organizing the protest said in a joint statement, including Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, Fossil Free Yale, and Yale Endowment Justice Coalition. “Yet by continuing to invest in industries that mislead the public, smear academics, and deny reality, Harvard and Yale are complicit in tearing down that future.”

The game ultimately ended in darkness as the delay, compounded with the game going into double overtime, pushed past sunset in New Haven, where Yale defeated Harvard 50 to 43.

In a statement, Yale labeled the protests launched by demonstrators as “regrettable,” and wrote that while the institution “stands firmly for the right to free expression,” it does “not allow disruption of university events.”

According to ESPN, players were stretching and warming up on the field in anticipation of halftime being over when the protests began, which drew fans from the crowd to the field and even a few boos.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, fossil fuels have got to go,” protestors chanted during the demonstration.

Fossil fuels account for nearly 64 percent of all electrical power generation in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy.