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Township of Princeton v. Institute for Advanced Study

Decided: January 4, 1960.

TOWNSHIP OF PRINCETON, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE COUNTY OF MERCER, APPELLANT,
v.
INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDY, A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, AND THE DIVISION OF TAX APPEALS, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENTS



Goldmann, Freund and Haneman. The opinion of the court was delivered by Goldmann, S.j.a.d.

Goldmann

Princeton Township appeals from a judgment of the Division of Tax Appeals exempting from local property taxation Olden Manor, the official residence of the Director of the Institute for Advanced Study ("Institute").

The township had assessed the residence, the land on which it was erected, and personal property located therein, at $105,900 for the year 1957, without granting the exemption claimed by the Institute under N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6, which reads in part as follows:

"The following property shall be exempt from taxation under this chapter: All buildings actually used for colleges, schools, academies or seminaries; * * * all buildings actually and exclusively used in the work of associations and corporations organized exclusively for the moral and mental improvement of men, women and children, or for religious, charitable or hospital purposes, or for one or more such purposes; * * *."

On appeal, the Mercer County Board of Taxation affirmed the assessment. On further appeal, the State Division of Tax Appeals concluded that the Legislature did not intend to limit the application of the words "colleges, schools, academies or seminaries" only to institutions offering "the more orthodox or traditional methods of instruction." It held that the Institute is a college within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6 and that Olden Manor is actually used for college purposes. The Division thereupon cancelled the assessment with respect to Olden Manor and the land surrounding it not in excess of five acres. This appeal followed.

The Institute, officially known as the Institute for Advanced Study -- Louis Bamberger and Mrs. Felix Fuld Foundation, is a non-profit corporation of New Jersey, organized under the provisions of R.S. 15:1-1 et seq. , as amended, for the purpose of "the establishment * * * of an institute for advanced study, and for the promotion of knowledge in all fields, and for the training of advanced students and workers for and beyond the degree of Doctor

of Philosophy and other professional degrees of equal standing." Its activities and operations are conducted and controlled by a board of trustees, elected as provided in the by-laws, and acting through the director, who is the chief administrative and executive officer. Among the powers of the corporation under its certificate of incorporation is the power

"* * * to make, amend, alter and repeal rules and regulations for the government of the institute to be established, maintained and conducted by the corporation, and in respect to the appointment and duties of executive officers and members of the staff and faculty, and in respect to the admission (with and/or without payment of dues or charges) and discipline of the students and workers, and in respect to the granting of diplomas and the awarding of degrees (including honorary degrees); * * *."

The Institute has 22 permanent faculty members and a transient student body, designated as members (these might in other institutions be called graduate or post-doctoral students), of about 125. Most of the student-members are admitted to the Institute upon application; a few are individually invited by the faculty to attend. Most of them are on leave of absence from other educational institutions, and come to the institute for a term or two, or sometimes for as much as two years, to pursue their respective fields of study or research. No tuition is charged, operations being financed for the most part from the income of the substantial endowment created by Louis Bamberger and his sister, Mrs. Felix Fuld (the Bamberger-Fuld Trust), with subsidiary grants from the Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford and the National Science Foundations.

The Institute has three disciplines -- mathematics, physics and historical studies. They meet as schools, and they conduct the business of the Institute as a body under the chairmanship of the Director. There is no formal instruction. However, seminars are scheduled weekly, or even more frequently. Student members are furnished office space and secretarial help, and are free to pursue their own research,

with no commitment whatsoever that it be along a given line or that the results accrue to the institution. Although the Institute has the corporate power to grant diplomas and award degrees, there are no degrees because the members are all at the ...


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