The political protest that was too cool for school
Jayde Atchison // Staff Writer
Saturday is not only for the boys, it is for watching football and turning off any social consciousness. On Nov. 23, Yale University hosted a football game against Harvard University. This ivy-league match is called “The Game” due to the long standing rivalry between the two schools. During half-time, a crowd began to gather on the field to sit down in a call for both universities to divest from fossil fuels.
The climate strikes and protests around the globe have been happening more frequently as citizens aim to garner attention from governments and higher officials. Let’s set this straight: the protest at Yale was not against football. People were not trying to disrespect the ‘holy sport’ of the USA. This protest was about the devastating reality that the world is coming to a rapid end unless we make some drastic changes. This particular protest was to tell Yale, Harvard and everyone watching to stop investing in fossil fuels.
Football fans across the country did not see this, however. Responses on Twitter labelled protestors as “poorly planned liberals.” One Harvard student claimed that “they pick our favorite day and then they do whatever they want with it. I have to say, it’s really quite annoying.” Yes, it must be annoying to have a game delayed by forty-five minutes. You know what else is annoying? Watching the ocean levels rise, fires wiping out acres of land year round and entire communities being forced to leave their land.
The biggest disgruntlement online about the protest was that this game could have been career defining for the players involved. While this may be true, the game was only delayed. After the protest, the players continued on. Scouts may have been distracted by the event, but hopefully that did not take away from their ability to see talent in the players—both in the first half and once the game resumed.
Forty-two people were charged with disorderly conduct after the protest. What started off as a small group of students and alumni sitting and holding signs grew in scale. The dedication to change inspired other attendees to join in and be a part of the historic half-time moment.
The question now is whether was this an effective approach at instigating climate change and awareness? It has sparked a massive conversation online, but the predominant feedback is usually followed by calling the protestors fools, “angry kids who don’t play sports or volunteer” or claiming the whole protest was fearmongering. This is not the first time students have taken action into their own hands, as seen in the Parkland gun control protest in 2018 and the 1984 Free Speech Movement Memorial Rally at the University of California, Berkeley.
It is possible that people will avoid these changes and continue to participate in fossil fuel emissions simply because they are mad about the timing and location of the protest. When people go against your values—football or otherwise—it is hard to see their side and join the cause, because you are so angry at how the situation was dealt with. It is my hope that everyone has time to reflect and look at what the big picture was for those protestors. Ruining the sanctity of football games was not their mission. It was to gain the attention of the two universities so that serious issues would be addressed.
Regardless of whether or not the protestors were right to host their rally at Yale, the climate crisis is not going away unless we continue to fight on and off the field. We need to stand together and tell those in positions of power to make the changes necessary to make the world a safer and cleaner place to live.