The New Jersey State Secretary of Higher Education’s Office has denied the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s request to see the grant applications filed by Beth Medrash Govoha and Princeton Theological Seminary. The paper had filed that request under the state’s Open Public Records Act.
Beth Medrash Govoha
New Jersey Blocks Release Of Lakewood Yeshiva’s $10.6 Million Grant Application, Opponents Cry Foul
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The New Jersey State Secretary of Higher Education’s Office has denied the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s request to see the grant applications filed by Beth Medrash Govoha and Princeton Theological Seminary, the Star-Ledger reported. The paper had filed that request under the state’s Open Public Records Act.
“Public release of the applications at this time could give an unfair advantage to applicants and undermine the integrity of the process. When the process is complete, the secretary intends to make applications public as allowed by law,” Colin Reed, a spokesman for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told the Star-Ledger.
The application process was reportedly completed months ago.
Beth Medrash Govoha’s grant was more than 16 times lager than the grant given Princeton Theological Seminary.
Christie is reportedly planning to run for president of the United States in 2016.
Haredi communities like the large Lakewood haredi community tend to bloc vote based on endorsements by their leading rabbis, and those endorsements are often based on government funds directed to the haredi community by the politicians being endorsed.
State legislators and nonprofits have demanded that the state explain how exclusively religious institutions were funded when those institutions are only open to members of one specific religion.
The Princeton Theological Seminary admits both men and women and trains Episcopal priests Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Beth Medrash Govoha’s students are all male haredi or Orthodox Jews studying rabbinics.
Beth Medrash Govoha was awarded $10.6 million to construct a library and academic center.
The Princeton Theological Seminary, which has the second largest theological library in the world, was awarded $645,313 to upgrade its technological facilities.
The American Civil Liberties Union’s New Jersey chapter’s spokeswoman Katie Wang said yesterday that the state asked for more time to respond to the ACLU’s open public records request for all applications for the state’s higher education grants, the state’s applications scoring sheets, and other records used to select grant winners.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney said called on the state to make the two grant applications sought by the Star-Ledger public immediately.
"How can they not release applications? They’ve made their decision [on which institutions will be funded and how much those institutions will each receive], and they should release them,” Sweeney reportedly said.