On Saturday, student climate change protesters surged onto the field during halftime of the annual Harvard-Yale football game in Connecticut. While the group initially was only 70-people strong, others soon joined from the stadium crowd, and all told 500 people delayed the game for nearly an hour and covered about 45 yards of the field, according to the NBC News.
The protesters, with Divest Harvard and Yale Endowment Justice Coalition, had a specific demand: that both universities stop using their massive endowments to fund and invest in fossil fuel companies, the entities most directly responsible for driving climate change. The two universities have a combined total of $71 billion invested in such companies, along with other morally questionable investments like Puerto Rican debt holdings. Connor Chung, on of the protesters, told CBS Boston, "For many of us on the field, it was the first time we'd done something like that. And it was a powerful experience." He continued, "There's a strong argument that it's wrong for these companies to be destroying our futures—it's wrong for our universities to be supporting them."
Students and alumni have been pushing both schools to divest from fossil fuels for years, but Harvard has staunchly refused, saying that doing so would make it a "political actor." Harvrad has the largest endowment of any private university in the world, currently valued at more than $39 billion. It grew by 10 percent in the last year. Despite a pledge to stop investing in some fossil fuel companies, in 2016 Yale bought more than $230 million of stock in the natural gas company Antero Resources, one of the fastest-growing fracking companies in the United States. After student protest last year, Yale sold 99 percent of its Antero holdings.
Other schools have been less sluggish. In September, the University of California school system announced it would divest any fossil fuel investments from its $80 billion portfolio, although that decision was based on fossil fuels being a "financial risk" rather than an existential crisis for civilization.
Responding to Saturday's protest, a spokesperson for Yale told the New York Times that while the university supports freedom of expression, it was "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 police reportedly issued 42 summonses for disorderly conduct.
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Originally Appeared on GQ