ACLU: Rebuffed in OPRA request for higher-ed bond applications

NEWARK – The N.J. American Civil Liberties Union said it has been rebuffed by the state in a bid to gain access to the applications of colleges that applied for public funding for construction projects in the wake of last year’s voter approval of the bond act.

NJ ACLU wanted to see the applications in the aftermath of revelations concerning the fact institutions with religious agendas were approved for public funding for building new classrooms or labs.

Previously, Senate lawmakers pressed the Higher Education commissioner for details on how schools were chosen, and they too were rebuffed.

“The state’s rationale for refusing to release the applications we requested makes no sense, ‘’ ACLU Executive Director Udi Ofer said in a release.

“The application process is already closed, so there would be no advantage or disadvantage in releasing these records.’’

Last month, the state released a list of 176 projects approved following last year’s voter approval of the first public college bond act in decades.

An orthodox yeshiva, Beth Medrash Govoha, in Lakewood, was OK’d for $10.6 million.

In addition, Princeton Theological Seminary was approved for $645,313.

ACLU filed an Open Public Records Act request for the applications, but was turned down.

ACLU: Rebuffed in OPRA request for higher-ed bond applications