NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — At the annual Harvard vs. Yale football game Saturday, hundreds of protesters stormed the field.
It was the protest at the game. Not all of the action in the storied rivalry between the Harvard and Yale football teams this weekend happened with the players.
Towards the end of halftime, about 200 protesters stormed the field and occupied it for about an hour.
Students in the stands and on the field held banners with phrases like, “Nobody Wins: Harvard and Yale Are Complicit” and “Yale and Harvard Students United for Climate Justice.”
The protesters were members of two activist groups representing the two Ivy League schools at the game: Fossil Free Yale and Divest Harvard.
Their demand was that both schools divest their interests in fossil fuel companies that contribute to climate change. They also say both universities are profiting from the current debt crisis that’s impacting Puerto Rico.
“There is no meaningful climate action without climate justice. We’re tired of Harvard and Yale ignoring our voices. Today is an unprecedented escalation of our fight to hold our universities accountable for their unethical investments.”Ilana Cohen, Divest Harvard, Harvard class of 2022
The protest delayed the start of the second half of the game.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont was at the game. During the protest, he walked toward midfield in an unsuccessful effort to encourage the protesters to continue their protest on the sidelines.
Yale campus police officers and New Haven officers eventually moved in and got the group to clear the field, but not before the protesters achieved their purpose and got national attention thanks to the ESPN crew that was broadcasting the game and the protest to the entire country.
The protest got extra attention because famed “Law and Order” actor and Yale alum, Sam Waterston, was arrested along with other protesters. He was later released.
There were 50 protesters arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Below are their names, birthdays and where they are from:
- Katie Farkouh 11/15/99 NY
- Christian Tabash 05/14/99 VA
- Isaac Ortega 02/09/99 NY
- Camille Traslavna 10/10/94 FL
- Mei Collins 06/14/00 MA
- Ameerah Ahmad 04/03/97 WI
- Lena Galleger 03/26/99 NY
- Madeleine Taylor-McGrane 08/20/97 MA
- Eva Rosenfeld 03/16/98 MI
- Damian Liu 02/07/98 MA
- Caleb Schwartz 08/05/97 NY
- Rebecca Cleveland Stout 09/06/96 OR
- Melinde Weng 11/22/99 CA
- Zeric Staggers 10/30/97 MA
- Eleanor Hewitt 04/08/99 CT
- Sofia Schroth-Douma 08/05/01 CT
- Tonty Rutinel 12/20/94 CT
- Nora Heaphy 08/22/99 CT
- Anna Wilkinson 09/18/99 CT
- Lillian Burton 04/18/00 CT
- Katie Schlick 04/01/99 CT
- Payson Whitwell 01/19/98 CA
- Elliot Connors 07/21/98 CT
- Emma Phelps 01/12/97 CT
- Nicholas Brown 10/01/99 MA
- David Hurtado 11/24/97 CT
- Abey Philip 09/13/99 KY
- Juliette Neil 11/04/97 VA
- Moses Goren 06/08/99 NY
- Daniel Blokh 04/27/01 AL
- Lola Picayo 09/11/00 NY
- Juvenile* 17 Y/O
- Cohen Alexander 09/23/99 NY
- Sophia Lieberman 12/25/98 CT
- Benjamin Levin 12/08/97 MI
- Victoria McEvoy 04/24/55 CT
- Melinda Tumus 03/19/48 CT
- Anna Milliken 01/14/98 CT
- Aiden Pillard 08/03/96 CT
- Rachel Calnek-Sugin 09/27/96 CT
- Alexander Gregory Hudson 03/08/88 CT
- Harry Zehner 10/31/99 CT
- Justin Montell 07/28/94 CT
- Geremy Schulick 09/17/80 CT
- Carlos Robles 01/18/99 CA
- Martha Denton 02/09/01 ND
- Jaden Deal 10/30/00 IA
- Carlos Polanco 11/18/98 NJ
Michael Gaspar, 24, was charged with trespass, in addition to disorderly conduct.
Mark Rosenberg, 22, was also charged with criminal trespass and interfering with police, as well as disorderly conduct.
Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren posted her support for the protest Saturday night, saying, “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 “
The captain of the Harvard Crimson football team also sent out his support for the protesters ahead of the game.
Yale’s defensive end/tight, Devin Moore tweeted out his support for the protesters Sunday morning saying “This is an emergency and it’s time that they act like it.”
The Chief of Yale’s Police Department, Chief Higgins, told News 8 he was proud of how his officers and others handled the situation.
“The protesters were heard,” Higgins said. “But, we had a major event here close to 60,000 people. Safety was on our mind. So, we wanted to make certain that we can clear the field in a respectful, orderly way with the utmost precaution and compassion.”
According to the Chief, 42 individuals were issued misdemeanor summons for disorderly conduct.
Some fans booed the protesters, yelling at them to get off the field. After the game, some football fans spoke to News 8.
“You don’t see that every day — a couple [of] hundred people take the field,” said Jack Powers. “It’s kind of an afterthought now.”
“I was more concerned about the players on the field and my son and his buddies and teammates keeping warm and not letting it affect them,” said Brian Tuckerman, whose son plays on Yale’s football team.
Fans weren’t the only ones speaking out.
Yale University issued this statement Saturday afternoon:
“Yale stands firmly for the right to free expression.
We stand with the Ivy League in its statement that it’s regrettable 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.”Yale University
In a statement, the joint protesting groups said that their universities should choose their students over “fossil fuel billionaires.”
“Both universities delay climate action by refusing to address the climate emergency with the urgency it demands.
Yale’s recent position paper on climate change supports continued investment in the growth of the fossil fuel industry “until alternative energy technologies and infrastructures are more fully developed and more broadly implemented.”
Harvard’s recent climate shareholder engagement initiative sets weak gradual targets of disclosure and does nothing to target the industry’s destructive business model.
We know that the climate crisis cannot wait. Our universities needs to choose a side: students or fossil fuel billionaires?”Divest Press and Fossil Free Yale
As for Yale’s police chief, he’s glad everything ended peacefully and with a Yale victory.
“Big up to the Yale football team,” said Chief Higgins. “They did an amazing job. It was a storybook finish.”