Lawmakers Not Passing Judgement on Westfield State President
Some Massachusetts legislators are withholding judgement on embattled Westfield State University president Evan Dobelle. His spending habits have come under investigation by state officials.
Citing leaked documents, the Boston Globe reports Dobelle racked up $200,000 in charges over two years on a credit card provided to him by the school's non-profit foundation. He says in the article the expenses were used for travel to boost the school's reputation and other costs related to fundraising. State Rep. Donald Humason of Westfield, an alumnus of the university, says he would like to see more information.
"It's probably better that the president and the college be more forthcoming with things like travel records because if they're not, then it looks like they're hiding something. I certainly don't want to see, as the legislator that represents Westfield State University, any kind of allegations of a cover-up," Humason says.
Another representative, Aaron Vega of Holyoke, is a member of the legislative's higher education committee.. He says he would like to see more accountability when it comes to all state university's fundraising and spending activities. He says he would favor a reporting system similar to what elected officials are faced with.
"And as someone who's in elected officed, and is scrutinized quarterly on the money that I raise and spend, I think that most people in these public positions should be as transparent as possible," Vega says.
A spokesperson for Westfield State says one trip to Asia by Dobelle and others brings the school $3-million a year in revenue. They say the results of an audit conducted last year will be made public before the beginning of the fall semester.