Twelve naked Yale students, baring all in a fit of school spirit, were escorted from Harvard Stadium by police during Saturday’s annual Harvard-Yale football game.
Near the end of the Game’s third quarter, at least a dozen Yale students stripped in front of hundreds of spectators, forcing a brief delay in play. Yale went on to win 21-14 in a shocking upset, ending Harvard’s nine-year victory streak and denying the Crimson a share of the Ivy League title.
The students undressed as part of a tradition known as the “Saybrook Strip,” performed at many Yale football games by residents of the school's Saybrook College. The tradition dates back to the 1970s, when a Saybrook resident first mooned Harvard fans, according to the Yale Daily News.
This year, the Harvard University Police Department intervened. HUPD officers identified 12 naked Yale students who bared their genitals and escorted them outside Harvard Stadium, according to Steven G. Catalano, a spokesperson for the department.
Catalano said the officers released the students immediately after exiting the Stadium, and that the department will not take any “criminal enforcement action.”
“We will be sending the report down to Yale,” he said. “We share information, they’ll have to decide what to do.”
"I thought it was quite stupid,” James M. A. Johnston ’17 said. “I mean, I get it's a bit of fun, a bit of ‘rah rah,’ and everyone's quite intoxicated, but at the end of the day you’ve got to realize what you are doing, and that's not going to be right along with everyone.”
Others said they thought the Yale students had crossed a line in exposing themselves at a public sporting event attended by families with children.
“I thought it was wildly inappropriate,” Harvard Law School student Alex Gazikas said. “This is supposed to be an event that’s for families, for kids, for everybody, and it was wildly inappropriate to put yourself in that position.”
Kamran Khan, an alumnus of Harvard's School of Public Health, agreed with Gazikas, though he said he thought the naked students were likely “having a good time.”
“I think that was unnecessary, because you have kids, families, things like that,” he said. “At the after-party, if you’re going to tout your victory, something like that, it would have been fine.”
Yale students took a different view. Reveling in their surprise victory, many Yale students milled around the Square in small groups Saturday night, occasionally breaking into celebratory chants.
Krzysztof W. Chwala, a freshman at Yale, said he had heard rumors about the Saybrook Strip before. He added that he had always thought the tradition seemed “really weird.”
“I wasn’t surprised it happened, per se, but when it did, it’s kind of just like, ‘You do you,’ I guess,” Chwala said. “I thought it was kind of funny.”
Yale freshmen Daniel Dager and Ines Ozonas said they also found the stunt amusing. Ozonas emphasized that the prank was meant “as a joke,” something “in-the-moment” and “not a big deal.”
“Plus, it just makes it harder to forget this game,” Ozonas said, smiling.
Dager said he thought the whole thing was “hilarious.”
“I enjoyed every second of it— one of my best friends was up there,” he said. “It was for a little bit longer than I expected, but, you know what, that just makes it more legendary.”
—Staff writer Kenton K. Shimozaki contributed reporting to this story.
—Staff writer Hannah Natanson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @hannah_natanson.
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