The climate change activists who shut down the Harvard-Yale football game for nearly an hour on Saturday when they rushed the field at the end of halftime weren’t just sending a message to the two universities to divest from fossil fuels and Puerto Rican debt. They were also giving the middle finger to the student athletes on either team, for whom Saturday’s matchup—one of the oldest rivalries in college sports—was supposed to be the highlight of their season.
As Harvard and Yale players were stretching and warming up for the second half, dozens of protesters stormed the field and unfurled banners that read “This is an emergency,” and “Nobody wins. Yale and Harvard are complicit in climate injustice.” At one point, there were reportedly as many as 500 demonstrators on the field, chanting and clapping and, in a moment of apparent self-parody, singing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
The Harvard-Yale football game is in a delay as students ran onto the field to protest climate change
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 23, 2019
Eventually they were cleared out by police, who issued 42 misdemeanor summonses for disorderly conduct. Here’s hoping they all get convicted and the charges go on their permanent records.
What makes this public temper tantrum all the more galling is that these activists weren’t just students but according to some reports included faculty and alumni from both schools. College professors, whatever their political convictions, have no business disrupting a student event.
It’s no different than if faculty members had “occupied” a student musical performance or stormed the stage of a student play—or even a graduation ceremony. They took a marquee event that was supposed to be about these college athletes and snatched it away from them—protested them, in effect—and in the process taught other students to follow their example and behave like complete jack-sses.
As for the student protesters, they drew plaudits and praise from adults who should know better. Celebrities like Alyssa Milano and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted support, as did a number of Democratic presidential candidates including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
You’d think politicians who claim to care about college so much they want to make it free for everyone would have better sense than to cheer on activists who see fit to punish and protest student athletes. The actor Sam Waterston, a Yale alum, was reportedly among the 42 protesters who were arrested after refusing to leave the field voluntarily.
I support the students, organizers, and activists demanding accountability on climate action and more at #HarvardYale. Climate change is an existential threat, and we must take bold action to fight this crisis. https://t.co/lm1V6honI4
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 24, 2019
Beyond modeling and affirming criminal behavior, these adults have failed college students across the country in a more profound way: they have incessantly and aggressively lied to them about climate change, barraging them with the notion that it’s an “emergency” and that if we don’t stop using fossil fuels now the human race won’t survive. To understand the emotional and psychological toll this kind of doomsaying can take on a vulnerable young person, look no further than Greta Thunberg.
The game resumed once the field was cleared, but because it eventually went into double overtime, and because the stadium at Yale has no lights, the game concluded in nearly total darkness.
What a shame that such a great game—Yale mounted a dramatic comeback in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 points to send the match into overtime—and one of the most storied rivalries in college sports (dating to 1875) were eclipsed by a bunch of Ivy league students and their privileged activist professors.