One admissions officer predicts the next freshman class will be 15 per cent black; although President Bok is never so daring, he did say last week that he wants high priority given to increasing the number of blacks who apply to both the College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Bok's mandate--communicated quietly late last Spring to admissions departments on both the undergraduate and graduate levels--was not generated out of thin air. Black applications have declined in the last two years, reducing to 78 the number of black undergraduates and reducing to eight the number of black graduate students.
The drop in black applications didn't decend out of thin air either, according to David L. Evans, associate director of Admissions. Evans charged last week that "less enthusiastic" recruiting by alumni and admissions personnel partially caused last year's decrease in black applications.
Bok has apparently started the ball rolling in the admissions departments, both of which plan to obtain from testing agencies the names of potential black applicants, who will in turn be asked to apply to Harvard.
No one knows if Evans's prediction of a 15 per cent black freshman class will come true: the crystal ball remains fuzzy.