Harvard officials have silenced the vuvuzelas that threatened to ring out at The Game this year.
In an e-mail sent to several students and administrators from Harvard and Yale, Associate Director of Harvard Athletics Tim Wheaton said “artificial noisemakers” will not be permitted inside Harvard Stadium on Saturday. The announcement comes after efforts by groups of Harvard and Yale students to ban vuvuzelas — infamous because of their use at the World Cup this past summer.
“It has become apparent that some individuals intend to use artificial noisemakers to both disrupt play on the field and detract from the overall fan experience for many spectators,” Wheaton wrote. Students who had previously spoken out against the use of vuvuzelas at the Game expressed their support for the ban in interviews Tuesday night.
Yale quarterback Patrick Witt ’12 said he is glad to hear of the ban, adding that the loud roar of the vuvuzelas would “cheapen” The Game for those on the field and in the bleachers.
Eva Galvan ’11, a member of the Yale Precision Marching Band, said she contacted Harvard athletics administrators about the horns after she realized how their use might affect Harvard and Yale bands’ halftime performances. When Harvard administrators told her they had no intention of banning vuvuzelas at the Game, Galvan said, she encouraged her friends to contact officials and ask for a ban.
“Many of these friends had already expressed an aversion to vuvuzelas but probably did not know how to go about effecting change,” Galvan said. (Galvan is a former photography editor for the News.)
Elliot Eaton ’11, drum major for the YPMB, said he supports the ban not only out of concern for the band’s performance at the Game, but also because it will provide a “less miserable” experience for students.
While he said he did not directly contact Harvard administrators, he has been in talks with Harvard’s marching band, who opposed the use of vuvuzelas along with the Harvard cheerleading team. Eaton stressed that the push to ban vuvuzelas was not an official YPMB initiative, but a series of efforts from individuals.
After the emergence of the “Silence Yale” campaign at Harvard, an initiative to distribute hundreds of the plastic horns to Cantab fans, several Yalies planned to retaliate by selling their own Game-themed vuvuzelas to students.
Jonathan Desnick ’14, founder of the “Yale Vuvuzelas Against Harvard” movement and creator of a 74-member Facebook group by the same name, ordered 700 custom-made horns for The Game out of his own pocket. Desnick expressed disappointment at Harvard’s decision to outlaw the South African horns in an interview Tuesday night. Desnick said he is selling the vuvuzelas to promote school pride and “level the playing field.”
“I recognize the vuvuzelas would’ve been annoying, but the positives outweighed the negatives,” he said. “I never thought of them being banned.”
He said he was only been able to sell around 50 vuvuzelas for $6 each before the ban took place, and could not make a profit after his initial investment. Desnick said he still plans to sell the horns to students who ask for them, and has decided to give all money from vuvuzela sales to charity.
Residential college councils also jumped on the vuvuzela bandwagon. Branford College Council President Michael Boyce ’11 said the BCC had already broken even Tuesday night after selling more than 100 of the 300 horns they ordered. The Ezra Stiles College Council had planned to sell 75 vuvuzelas provided by the BCC with no mark-up cost, but the council decided against purchasing the horns when news of the ban spread, said council chair Justin Lowenthal ’11.
Two students interviewed who had already bought Yale vuvuzelas said they are disillusioned by Harvard’s decision to ban the vuvuzelas.
“It seems kind of lame,” quipped Dakota Meyers ’13. “Maybe they’re still bitter about that one time we said they sucked.”