The board of Westfield State University meets Wednesday to consider the fate of school president Evan Dobelle. Massachusetts officials are pressuring the board to punish Dobelle over lavish spending on travel using university credit cards.
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Earlier this month, the state suspended some grant money for the school. Business major Ryan Moquin doesn’t see the wisdom in that.
“Yeah, that’s unfortunate. I feel like the school needs [the money],” Moquin says. “But…that’s just hurting the students, not really him.”
Moquin says he feels like Dobelle is doing some good things at the school. But other students, like Erica Santana, say they have nothing good to say about Dobelle.
“I think he should get fired. Actually, we’re trying to get some of the students together,” Santana says. “When they have their meeting, we’re going to stand outside and, you know, hopefully they listen to us.”
Westfield’s faculty and librarians also hope to have a say in the matter. Their union’s president says members are voting on whether they have confidence in Dobelle. Those results will be announced at the board meeting Wednesday.
Dobelle has acknowledged he made mistakes. But he says he paid back some of the money and says his travel benefited the university. His spokesperson accuses the state higher ed commissioner of trying to “blackmail” the university’s board by cutting off some funding.
New England Public Radio’s Kari Njiri and Sam Hudzik contributed to this report.