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Westfield State may suspend President Dobelle, who says he’s victim of “vendetta”

Westfield State University president Evan Dobelle has charged that the investigation into his spending habits was illegal from the beginning.
Westfield State University president Evan Dobelle has charged that the investigation into his spending habits was illegal from the beginning.Credit: Matthew Cavanaugh for The Boston Globe/File 2013

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Westfield State University trustees are trying to call a special meeting to consider suspending embattled President Evan Dobelle, who is facing intense criticism for his lavish spending and violations of university credit card policies — including a new letter from state officials threatening to intervene in the school’s finances.

Kevin R. Queenin, the trustee board secretary, has told others that he has four of the six votes he needs to call the meeting — and perhaps suspend Dobelle with pay until various investigations are done. Numerous school officials say that the controversy surrounding Dobelle’s use of university credit cards for travel, luxury hotels and personal expenses is creating chaos on campus.

But Dobelle, who has retained a prominent lawyer and a public relations consultant, is going on the offensive, portraying himself as a victim of what he considers a vengeful board chairman, Jack Flynn. Dobelle argues Flynn is trying to derail his attempts to elevate the stature of Westfield State University.

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