On Saturday, more than 100 people interrupted the Harvard-Yale rivalry football game halftime show in a demonstration for Puerto Rico and environmental justice.
The protesters, which included students and alumni from both Ivy Leagues, demanded the schools to divest from fossil fuels and cancel their Puerto Rico debt holdings. According to USA Today, endowment holdings at Harvard and Yale are partly managed by fund managers and private equity firms invested in Puerto Rican debt.
“Cancel the debt, cancel the debt,” protesters yelled, some waving the archipelago’s red, white and blue flag. On the field, demonstrators held a large black and white banner that read, “Yale & Harvard Benefit from Fossil Fuels. Cancel Puerto Rican Debt.”
The demonstration delayed the game by about an hour. While a majority of protesters rallied for nearly 30 minutes, those who stayed on the field were removed by law enforcement.
Karen Peart, media relations director for Yale University, told the Yale Daily News that about 42 people were issued misdemeanor summons for disorderly conduct as well as given tickets and court dates for the next “one or two weeks.”
In a press release published in the Harvard Crimson, the Divest Harvard campaign, which helped plan the protest, explained why they were organizing the protest.
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For those trying to hijack the narrative and for those who think that some random Boricuas just randomly jumped onto a climate change rally. Harvard's hands are dirty and they're profiting off the pillaging of Puerto Rico. Shoutout to the comrade @danielledejesus1 for being their and capturing some amazing moments. #Harvard #Yale #PuertoRico #CancelTheDebt
“Students are tired of Harvard and Yale profiting off of climate destruction and neocolonial investments in Puerto Rico’s debt,” the press release read. “It’s time for more than lip service and greenwashing for academic leaders.”
Yale beat Harvard 50-43. The universities have played against each other 136 times since 1875, with Yale holding more victories.