When Lucy R. Golub ’20 bought a ticket to The Game, she expected to watch the action from the sidelines, not to be tackled to the ground herself.
But as Golub inched her way up towards the front of the line to enter the student tailgate, she could sense the crowd’s impatience building behind her. Heightened security in the form of metal detectors and bag checks had created a bottleneck in the line, leaving many students frustrated. At one point, the tension snapped and people started ”pushing aggressively.”
Golub, who is also an active Crimson magazine editor, found herself in the middle of a stampede.
“People kind of pushed over the metal detectors not fully to the ground but just sort of out of the way and walked completely through security,” she said. “It was kind of a stampede. It was a little scary. I think if security had let in people faster or more streamlined then it could have been a lot better.”
The incident was one of several logistical snafus that students say inconvenienced them during the 134th annual Harvard-Yale football game Saturday. Security measures at the Yale Bowl created long lines, choking off attendance at tailgates and the game before Yale officials ultimately relented on the stricter measures, according to more than a dozen students who attended the annual showdown.
Inquiries about the security measures at The Game on Saturday were redirected to the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications, which did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
According to some students, the heightened security resulted in low attendance for the House Committee tailgates.
“There were a lot fewer people than there were last year,” Caroline M. Kerwin ’18, a member of Dunster HoCo, said. “I heard that changed when they changed security procedures.”
At the tailgate, strict security measures delayed students for hours before guards relented and allowed people to enter without going through security.
Danielle O. Strasburger ’18, co-chair of Winthrop HoCo, said the number of people at the House tailgates was sparse until around noon, when security moved the metal detectors aside and the long lines evaporated.
“At that point we saw a lot more people come through,” Strasburger said. “We had a lot of students come right before the game started around 12:00, 12:15, 12:20 and the tailgates were supposed to end at 12:30 so it was a shorter time frame.”
Even as the game began, students again faced long lines as Yale officials enforced scrutinizing security measures for people entering the Yale Bowl before again abandoning the security protocols entirely.
Multiple people who entered the stadium later said that Yale officials never checked their ticket.
“I don’t think anyone checked my ticket. I just kind of wandered in. They weren’t being super strict or anything like that,” Sebastian A. Schwartz ’20 said.
Some students said the increased security didn’t end at metal detectors. Justin Wu ’19 said he noticed SWAT cars and personnel at the game.
“They were armed with, they weren’t regular, I think they were semi-automatic guns,” Wu said.
Still, many students reported that they enjoyed their Harvard-Yale experience.
“I thought it probably went as smoothly as it could,” Andrew L. Gordon ’18 said.
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