The downfall of a jet-setting university president

Number 26193
Subject Education
Source Boston Globe
State Mass.
Year 2013
Publication Date Aug. 18, 29, Sept. 20, Oct. 5, 13, 17 & 25, 2013
Summary Evan Dobelle is a self-described visionary who compares himself to Apple founder Steve Jobs, and he charmed his way into the job of president at Westfield State University despite his checkered past. For years, Dobelle’s outsized personality dominated the western Massachusetts school -- until Globe reporters obtained copies of Dobelle’s outrageous business expense reports last July. Four months later, Dobelle resigned in disgrace on the heels of a series of investigative reports in the Globe that described hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable business expenses, including exotic travel, luxury hotels, limo rides and an entire “business” trip to San Francisco that appears to have been a sham. Dobelle now faces an attorney general’s investigation for allegedly filing false claims to collect expenses. The Globe stories raised difficult questions about the quality of supervision in Massachusetts state universities, which rely on unpaid trustees to oversee hundreds of millions in public spending. Dobelle, it turned out, had been fired for wasteful spending and dishonesty at the University of Hawaii, but Westfield State trustees hired him anyway, then looked away when he resumed his free spending ways in Massachusetts.
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Keywords university; education; college; business expenses
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