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Climate change protest delays Harvard-Yale football game

Students, alumni protest endowments

(CNN) - The Harvard-Yale football game was delayed Saturday after more than a hundred students and alumni flooded the field to protest against the schools' endowments from fossil fuel companies.

"Nobody wins. Yale & Harvard are complicit in climate injustice," read a banner held by the students.

Harvard was leading Yale 15-3 during the game in New Haven, Connecticut when the students ran into midfield as halftime was ending. The game was delayed for nearly 30 minutes until students were escorted out of the field by police.

Students are calling for both schools to divest their endowments from fossil fuel holdings. Yale students are demanding the school to pressure hedge fund managers to cancel any debt from Puerto Rico.

"Harvard and Yale claim their goal is to create student leaders who can strive toward a more 'just, fair, and promising world' by 'improving the world today and for future generations.' Yet by continuing to invest in industries that mislead the public, smear academics, and deny reality, Harvard and Yale are complicit in tearing down that future," the student groups, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, Fossil Free Yale and Yale Endowment Justice Coalition, said in a statement following the protest.

"We demand that our universities take responsibility for their role in perpetuating the climate crisis and global climate injustice -- we call on Harvard and Yale to fully disclose, divest, and reinvest their holdings in the fossil fuel industry, putting an end to business as usual and taking meaningful action towards building a more just and stable future," the groups added.

Karen Peart, media relations director for Yale University, said the school supports freedom of expression but it doesn't "allow disruption of university events."

Saturday's protest is the latest of a series of demonstrations led by students and faculty members in recent years.

Harvard President Larry Bacow said in a September story in the university's magazine that the school is pursuing climate change solutions through research, sustainable practices on campus and noted that he encouraged a "healthy" debate over investment policy.

"Amid our larger academic and institutional efforts, debate over investment policy -- including demands to divest from the fossil fuel industry -- will no doubt continue at Harvard and beyond. This debate is healthy," Bacow wrote. "And while I, like my predecessors, believe that engaging with industry to confront the challenge of climate change is ultimately a sounder and more effective approach for our university, I respect the views of those who think otherwise. We may differ on means. But I believe we seek the same ends -- a decarbonized future in which life on Earth can flourish for ages to come."

CNN has reached out to officials at Harvard for comment but has not yet heard back.

CNN's Ryan Prior contributed to this report.


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