Early this week, members of Harvard Ecology Action and the Ad Hoc Committee to Save Black Rock Forest collected over 2000 signatures from students opposing a special committee report issued last month.
Toward the middle, the Law School's Environmental Law Society had added its voice to the opposition in a strongly worded letter to President Bok.
And by the end of the week, Bok had apparently quashed the cries of the opposition to a degree by saying privately that the University has not changed its attitude toward its trusteeship of its forest near Cornwall, N.Y.
The property in question is a large tract of forest land bequeathed to the University by Ernest G. Stillman '08 upon his death in 1949. Consolidated Edison, the New York power utility, would need to purchase 240 acres of that land to build a controversial pumped storage power plant which has been tied up in litigation for the past ten years.
Although Con Ed has not approached the University since Bok took office, environmentalists have been hoping for a pledge from Harvard to withhold the land if Con Ed ever gets far enough away from the courts to attempt to purchase it.
Environmentalists reasoned that if Harvard were to announce publicly its opposition to the project and its determination to retain its land, Con Ed--which has already spent 10 years and over $20,000,000 in the courts--might think twice about continuing further.
But the special committee report last month recommended instead that while Harvard should urge solution of the numerous environmental problems surrounding the Storm King plant, it should take no active steps to prevent construction--including resisting sale of the land.
The recommendation irked environmentalists and many of Stillman's descendents, who urged rejection of the committee recommendations.
By the end of the week, however, Bok had told Lance R. Matteson '74, president of Harvard Ecology Action, that "there is no change in the status quo" concerning Black Rock, a statement interpreted as an implicit continuation of the Pusey administration's opposition to sale of the land for Con Ed's use.
In New York, too, environmentalists were biding their time: separate actions filed with the Federal Power Commission, the Army Corps of Engineers and the New York State courts all are pending, with no decisions yet announced.