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Monday, January 24, 2005

Voluntary enforcement?

From today's Chronicle of Higher Education is an article (reg required) about private colleges in Pennsylvania forming a coalition to audit each other for environmental audits.
Under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania officials, 27 private colleges in the state will conduct environmental audits of one another's campuses and voluntarily report failures to federal and state authorities.

The agreement, signed on Friday by state and federal officials and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, will substantially reduce, and in most cases eliminate, the likelihood that a participating college will be fined or face other penalties for failing to comply with environmental regulations.
Hmmm...I can see that it is possible that the schools will get a reduction in the likelihood of being fined if the schools can succesfully collude with one another or if the schools themselves are less rigorous in their audits. On the other hand, strategic accusations can result from such a set-up. The NCAA relies heavily upon voluntary audits and "ratting out your neighbor" and we see how well that works.

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