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Dobelle won’t resign, saying spending has aided university

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:37 a.m. HST, Sep 21, 2013

BOSTON >> Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle said he had no intention of leaving his job even as top state education officials voiced dismay Friday over reports he spent lavishly while traveling on school business and used university credit cards for personal expenses.

“I think everything we’ve spent was strategically planned,” Dobelle said before a closed-door meeting with Richard Freeland, the state’s commissioner of higher education, and other officials. Dobelle,
who has asserted that the spending resulted in a significant “return on investment” for the public university in western Massachusetts, said he was proud of his accomplishments as president.

During a public meeting of the state Board of Higher Education earlier Friday, Freeland pressed university trustees about their knowledge of Dobelle’s expenses — including luxury hotels and high-priced meals during overseas travel — that were first detailed in a report last month by the school’s accounting firm.

Freeland called Dobelle’s spending “a pattern of seemingly excessive and indulgent personal and professional expenses.”

Dobelle was president of the University of Hawaii system from 2001 to 2004. He resigned amid questions about his spending of UH Foundation money.

Charles Desmond, chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, said he wasn’t satisfied with Dobelle’s response to the reports — or with what he said was a lack of urgency by the school’s trustees.

Jack Flynn, chairman of the Westfield board of trustees, acknowledged that Dobelle violated policy by using a university credit card for personal expenses. He explained that the board, a volunteer body that meets only a handful of times each year, only recently learned the scope of the issues and cannot “micromanage” the university.

The power to hire or fire the leader of a state university lies solely with the trustees of a school. Flynn said the Westfield board would address the matter at its next meeting on Oct. 24, weighing both the alleged violations and Dobelle’s achievements in his six years as president.

“There has to be some real soul-searching and some decisions that we all have to make, the president (and) the board,” Flynn said after the meeting with the higher education board. “Is this a good relationship? Can we move on and how can we move on?”

Dobelle said he was following past practice by university administrators in charging personal expenses to the school’s credit card and later reimbursing the school. He said he saw no reason for the trustees to dismiss him, and asked if he would consider resigning, responded, “Why would I?”

In a two-page letter sent Thursday, state Inspector General Glenn Cunha urged trustees to challenge Dobelle’s claim that his international travel has resulted in $1.2 million in recurring annual revenue from international students. Cunha said the majority of those students were in fact Massachusetts residents who pay in-state tuition though they are not U.S. citizens.

Cunha also questioned spending by the Westfield State Foundation, the school’s fundraising arm, and the taxpayer-supported university’s 2010 transfer of $400,000 to offset the foundation’s operating deficit that had been caused in part, the inspector general said, by Dobelle’s spending habits.

Freeland noted that Westfield had the highest graduation rate among the nine state universities but was at the bottom in private fundraising — further calling into question Dobelle’s claims that his spending netted a financial windfall for the school.

Inspector General letter to Westfield State University Trustees

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serious wrote:
Seems as though, regardless of past experiences, college Presidents just get hired and do the same infractions. I'd say they should go after him to repay and jail time!!!
on September 21,2013 | 05:11AM
allie wrote:
agree..universities just pass on their mistakes to others..it is part of the game.
on September 21,2013 | 08:10AM
Grimbold wrote:
High positions get to the head of people turning them into sub-humans.
on September 21,2013 | 09:01AM
fshnpoi wrote:
is this something that the people of hawai'i really need to be concerned about?
on September 21,2013 | 05:46AM
Venus1 wrote:
How about doing Front Page report on the GMO protest on Kauai!!! Dobelle no longer 'News' for Hawaii !!! MONSANTO is!!!
on September 21,2013 | 07:57AM
mcc wrote:
The SA is pro GMO like it is pro rail and will not print anything negative about either.
on September 21,2013 | 08:04AM
Keith_Rollman wrote:
I don't recall seeing GMO's mentioned in this article. Buy an ad.
on September 21,2013 | 08:37AM
Venus1 wrote:
GMOs are the present evil in Hawaii not Dobelle!! The protests against Monsanto should be on the front page of the S A,every day.....
on September 21,2013 | 11:28AM
Venus, you should restate that as the past evil that is only NOW getting the attention. GEESH!!
on September 21,2013 | 11:53AM
Sure woulda been nice to see you people putting up a fuss 20 years ago. Geez, they have only been messing with the genetics of our food for the past decadeds, and ONLY NOW you people are worried about it. How bout doing a front page report on how ignorant people are on our food processing.
on September 21,2013 | 11:52AM
Wazdat wrote:
AGREE... WHY show us how STUPID UH WAS and still is ???
on September 23,2013 | 08:41AM
Iuki wrote:
We just need to be happy he's long gone from here!
on September 21,2013 | 09:05AM
whs1966 wrote:
The people of Hawaii can take comfort that their university BOR is no less competent than the BOR at Westfield State U., perhaps even less so since the BOR at Westfield should have taken Dobelle's UH behaviors seriously. Perhaps Westfield, like UH will rid themselves of Dobelle by buying out his contract. It's appropriate that in the picture above that Dobelle is laughing, as I am sure he is doing now...all the way to the bank.
on September 21,2013 | 06:16AM
allie wrote:
My professors say Dan the Scam Inouye forced this pathological liar and incompetent on the UH. He was not the choice of the search committee and it cost the UH big time. naturally Dan was nowhere to be found as he managed to blame others. Truth is, he was forcing Dobelle on the UH to do a favor for Dobelle's fund raising in the Democratic party. Lot of dark corners that no news outlet dared cover about Dobelle's days here. Lots that faculty and others know.
on September 21,2013 | 08:12AM
Iuki wrote:
The late senator may have been involved in that, but others were primary--Walter Dobs, for one.
on September 21,2013 | 09:06AM
allie wrote:
Dodds was a flunky for Inouye hon..follow the $$$
on September 21,2013 | 03:31PM
geralddeheer wrote:
Proof? How much money was raised? When? Where? Was the 'Dobelle' campaign money documented as required by law? IRS filings? Expense reports? Easy to accuse (particularly a dead man). Harder to prove. Since you claim to be an academic, let's be clear about your hypothesis: Sen Daniel Inouye, recognizing that Evan Dobelle had raised money for the Democratic Party, forced the UH Board of Regents to hire Dobelle. During his tenure, Dobelle engaged in a number of cover-ups that were so outrageous (and protected) that the local media (and for that matter local, state, and national (FBI) law enforcement as well as the IRS never brought charges of any kind. That is what you are saying?
on September 21,2013 | 11:14AM
allie wrote:
Talk to the faculty who know the real story hon
on September 21,2013 | 03:32PM
geralddeheer wrote:
Name someone who will verify what you say...surely there is a member of the faculty who will share these insights. And by the way, how do they know the 'real' story? Find one person who has the courage to share the 'truth' that he/she has shared with you. And if these faculty members have proof, where is their Union? Frankly this sounds more like 'blow-hard' stuff than reality. Easy to talk, hon. Real academics offer proof, not gossip.
on September 22,2013 | 11:13AM
allie wrote:
Umm..Even Dobelle openly said Inouye had gotten him the job. There are no secrets in this at all.
on September 22,2013 | 04:04PM
Venus1 wrote:
While your accusations may or may not be true, they are not relevant!!! Let's get Monsanto out of U H and Hawaii!! That is being in the present!!
on September 21,2013 | 11:32AM
If you really wnat to make a change and discuss relevant and important issues, how about world peace. You may want to get out of the present and look to the future. The present has already passed you up. Be proactive, not reactive in your efforts!
on September 21,2013 | 11:57AM
Venus1 wrote:
Dobelle is in the 'rear view mirror'....unless you live in Massachusetts..
on September 21,2013 | 12:47PM
csdhawaii wrote:
Interesting how much your so-called professors share with you. It seems inappropriate and unprofessional that so-called faculty members would share such information with "students." Just what kind of relationship do you have with your "professors" where you get so much "inside" information? Do you believe everything they tell you? Don't they teach you to question everything, including them?
on September 21,2013 | 12:24PM
copperwire9 wrote:
She makes it all up.
on September 22,2013 | 12:55AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Talking shi* about dead people is about as low as you you can get.
on September 21,2013 | 06:25PM
kahu808 wrote:
So, which professors?
on September 21,2013 | 08:58PM
Macadamiamac wrote:
What's with these college/university presidents? First Dumbell and then Green what's her name. Yeah the office is important for the responsibility it bears, but we can do without the hubris of these overpaid administrators.
on September 21,2013 | 06:20AM
2disgusted2 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on September 21,2013 | 09:07AM
allie wrote:
on September 21,2013 | 03:33PM
KamaiianaGuy wrote:
This guy is a sociopath.
on September 21,2013 | 06:38AM
LMO wrote:
He'll resign when they make him a multimillion dollar offer, just as they did in HI. This guy is, basically, a con man.
on September 21,2013 | 06:49AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
This is certainly unusual. Normally, it's our local government hiring someone else's troubled executive.
on September 21,2013 | 07:43AM
First-Responder wrote:
Doesn't higher education check references when hiring? This bozo did the same thing here in Hawaii and is doing it again. It doesn't speak well for college administrators - integrity and just plain good sense is clearly lacking.
on September 21,2013 | 09:36AM
allie wrote:
on September 21,2013 | 03:33PM
Warrior32 wrote:
He is and always will be a self-service administrator.
on September 21,2013 | 09:44AM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
You mean a self serving administrator....not self service...lol
on September 21,2013 | 08:07PM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
Of course he won't resign....the money is too good.....
on September 21,2013 | 11:07AM
allie wrote:
he has more to steal...
on September 21,2013 | 03:34PM
chryw8 wrote:
you know how it has been said that many successful criminals, given their intellect, would make it big in legit businesses? well, evan doh'bell, given his intellect, would have made it big in criminal enterprises. he's got no conscience or integrity and his arrogance will bring him down.
on September 21,2013 | 12:23PM
csdhawaii wrote:
He may not be in an official criminal enterprise career, but he has been in engaging in criminal enterprises for a long, long time...
on September 21,2013 | 12:26PM
allie wrote:
on September 21,2013 | 03:37PM
csdhawaii wrote:
Deja vu.
on September 21,2013 | 12:25PM
engineersoldier wrote:
Why are we even following this jerk, it upsets me just to see his face. C'mon, SA, let's move on!
on September 21,2013 | 06:28PM
pab123 wrote:
Bottom line: It's not what you know it's who you know. Cliche'? Yes. But that's what makes the money world spin. It works at the top. It works in the middle and at the bottom as well. The better connected you are the better chance you have to reap success in the job market and life as well. Is it right? You get to decide.
on September 23,2013 | 10:03AM
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