Westfield State University president, board grilled on spending

Updated:

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BOSTON (AP) — State officials are voicing concern about reports of lavish spending by Westfield State University president Evan Dobelle and his use of school credit cards for personal expenses.

The state Board of Higher Education grilled university trustees on Friday and planned to meet privately with Dobelle later in the day.

Dobelle has repeatedly defended his spending, saying it brought a "return on investment" to the school in the millions of dollars.

But Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland called the pattern of expenses "deeply distressing."

Westfield trustees chairman Jack Flynn said policies were unquestionably violated but said his board would decide at a meeting next month whether those violations outweigh Dobelle's accomplishments as president.

The meeting came one day after the state inspector general urged trustees to quickly scrutinize Dobelle's spending.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com