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Harvard Waffling Hurts Squirrels

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To the Editors of The Crimson

Waffle, waffle, waffle. If there is one thing I've come to expect from Harvard University, it is an utter lack of consistency in following up on moral prerogatives. Just recently we saw Harvard use its political muscle to help force Congress to repeal a discriminatory law against AIDS victims by threatening to withdraw its sponsorship of a major international conference on AIDS slated for 1992.

Further, our return this fall was marked by the announcement that Harvard would divest all of its stockholdings in tobacco companies. Neat, huh? Harvard really seems willing to put itself on the line for the sake of pursuing the common good, upholding standards of ethical institutional behavior and serving as a model for others to follow.

Witness Harvard's co-sponsorship of a plan to build new radio telescopes in Arizona, easing the heavy burden on existing astronomical observatories. Quite a salutory investment, you might think, wise and forward-looking. That is, unless you believe that a good project facilitated with reprehensible means is unacceptable and constitutes a betrayal of the University's responsibility to act as a moral example.

Michele Forman's feature in the October 29 Crimson, which outlines the risk created by this project to an endangered species of red squirrel, exposes Harvard and its partners as acting with flippant disregard for the spirit of the Endangered species Act.

The Environmental Action Committee (EAC) of Phillips Brooks House is particularly disturbed that Harvard would be party to a development project that relies on an exception to the Endangered Species Act, granted on the basis of an environmental impact assessment judged by Congress' own General Accounting Office to fraudulent.

EAC is also dismayed that Harvard would use its influence with the U.S. Forest Service to allow development in a unique habitat rather than use its influence to help the Forest Service reform its loophole-infested charter.

EAC is not against the building of telescopes, but it holds with great conviction that they must not come at the expense of the Endangered Species Act. EAC urges readers of The Crimson to participate in a petition drive to be held next week in the dining halls urging Harvard to put its observatory some-where else. Peter Morningstar '91-92   Environmental Action Committee   Phillips Brooks House

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