Forty-Two people were charged with disorderly conduct after a protest interrupted a Saturday football game between archrivals Harvard and Yale.
Students from both schools occupied the midfield of the Yale Bowl during Saturday’s halftime. The protest urged the schools to act on climate change and to divest from fossil fuel companies, something that students from both Yale and Harvard have been demanding their respective administrations do for several years. Other protestors referred to Puerto Rican debt relief and China’s treatment of Uighurs.
Most protesters walked off after about an hour; those who remained were the 42 charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. They were issued a court summons and released, according to a statement from Yale University.
Rachel Sadoff, a junior at Harvard, said about 150 students from the two universities had planned to participate and about 100 more who were sitting in the stands joined in. She said organizers considered the protest a success.
“Our goal was to spread the word,” Sadoff said. “If more people speak up, our colleges will have to listen.”
One of the student groups involved, Fossil Free Yale, stated its goal was to see Yale and Harvard divest from the fossil fuel industry and cancel their holdings in Puerto Rican debt. Several student athletes on the football teams also released statements in support of the protest.
Devin Moore, a senior defensive end for the Yale Bulldogs, said in a video shared on social media by Fossil Free Yale and the Yale Endowment Justice Coalition. “This is an emergency and it’s time they act like it.”
Yale officials said in a statement handed to reporters in the press box during the fourth quarter that the school “stands firmly for the right to free expression.”
“It is regrettable,” a statement attributed to the Ivy League said, “that the orchestrated protest came during a time when fellow students were participating in a collegiate career-defining contest and an annual tradition when thousands gather from around the world to enjoy and celebrate the storied traditions of both football programs and universities.”
After the game resumed, Yale went on to beat Harvard 50-43, clinching the Ivy League championship. Saturday’s matchup was the 136th edition of the football rivalry between the two schools.