Penn fans, students, and alumni who visited Franklin Field for the Quakers’ Homecoming football contest against Yale on October 22 saw an exciting game between two of the top teams in the Ivy League. (Penn won the game, but Yale ended up winning the Ivy title. See “Sports,” this issue, for more on the 2022 football season.)
They also saw more than 60 student protestors rush to the middle of Franklin Field during halftime, delaying the game for roughly an hour.
The protestors, from the group Fossil Free Penn, chanted and held up large banners articulating three demands they have put repeatedly to University administrators: total fossil fuel divestment, the initiation of payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS), and the preservation of the University City Townhomes [“Gazetteer,” Nov|Dec 2022].
As some fans voiced displeasure at the disruption, most of the protestors left the field voluntarily after half an hour. About 20 minutes after that, others were taken off the field by police in zip-tie handcuffs, without resisting. They were taken into custody at the police station on 40th and Chestnut Streets and released later that day.
That same night, Fossil Free Penn ended its encampment on College Green, after 39 days camped in tents outside of College Hall.
In late November, Penn President Liz Magill and Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok C’81 W’81 L’84 announced in a statement that “Penn does not directly hold investments in any companies focused on the production of fossil fuels,” but explained the complexity of the issue in terms of battling climate change. “Selling fossil fuel investments does not end fossil fuel production or create clean energy alternatives, and it risks transferring ownership to buyers who may care little for the environmental consequences of their actions.” —DZ