During the Harvard versus Yale football game, hundreds of students from both schools stormed the field for a protest on climate change. Refusing to leave, police needed to arrest and handcuff numerous protestors who forced a nearly 50-minute delay of game at the start of the third quarter on November 23.
While the protest received a mixture of support and vitriol online, the Crimson’s captain, defensive back Wesley Ogsbury, stood behind the protest. After the game, in which Yale beat Harvard 50-43 in overtime, Ogsbury, a senior, posted a video with a prepared statement to explain how he felt about the bold demonstration. The video racked up over 140K views within an hour of it being shared on Twitter.
Ogsbury said, “Today, we faced off in the game, competing with our great rivals from New Haven, Yale. But at this moment, both our institutions continue to invest in the industries destroying our futures. And when it comes to the climate crises, no one wins.”
“Harvard and Yale can’t claim to truly promote knowledge while at the same time, supporting the companies engage in misleading the public, smearing the academics and denying the truth,” the Harvard athlete continued. That’s why we’re joining together with our friends at Yale to call for change.”
“In solidarity with my friends at Divest Harvard and Fossil Free Yale, who disrupted today’s proceedings, many of my teammates and I are wearing orange wristbands, the color of the Divest movement, after the game. We’re coming together to call on Presidents [Lawrence] Bacow and [Peter] Salovey, to divest from the fossil fuel industry now, for the sake of our generation.”
The Climate Change Protest Bonded Two Rivalry Teams
The high profile game, the nation’s second-oldest rivalry, in which the Yale Bulldogs (8-2) hosted the Harvard Crimson (4-5), was stopped in New Haven, Connecticut, as protestors demanded colleges divest from using fossil fuels. Divest Harvard tweeted in tandem with the start of the protest, “BREAKING: Over 150 Yale + Harvard students, alumni, faculty stormed the field at #HarvardYale to demand DIVESTMENT from fossil fuels & cancel holdings in Puerto Rican debt. When it comes to the status quo, #NobodyWins.”
The banner held up by the protestors read, “Nobody wins. Harvard & Yale are complicit in climate injustice.”
Yale Put Out An Official Statement Following the Protest
After winning in overtime, the Ivy League school put out the following official statement:
Yale stands firmly for the right to free expression. Today, students from Harvard and Yale expressed their views and delayed the start of the second half of the football game. We stand with the Ivy League in its statement: “It is 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.”
We are grateful to the staff members and police officers who ensured the peaceful departure of students from the field. The exercise of free expression on campus is subject to general conditions, and we do not allow disruption of university events.