WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - After a 10 hour meeting, the Westfield State University Board of Trustees voted to place President Evan Dobelle on administrative leave with pay.
Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle has been placed on a paid administrative.
The Board of Trustees unanimously decided after a 10-hour executive session to place Dr. Dobelle on an administrative leave with pay.
Dr. Dobelle told 22News as he left the board room, he's disappointed, but he did not answer any questions. He said "I wish I could speak to you, but the reality is I can't."
The Board also decided to hire a Boston based law firm called Fish and Richardson to conduct an investigation into the issues raised by the Inspector General, Dobelle's spending and other leadership concerns. The deadline for that investigation is November 25th.
Dobelle will remain on a paid leave until after the investigation is complete.
His lawyer Ross Garber said they are considering a legal action. At this point, he doesn't have any details.
Students told 22News they hope this controversy doesn't damage the school's reputation in the long run.
Unionized staff members of Westfield State University took a confidence vote over the last several days regarding their school President Evan Dobelle.
Here are the results of the vote:
138: No confidence
The Westfield State University Board of Trustees went into the executive session knowing that 138 out of about 200 faculty members and librarians don't believe that President Dobelle is qualified to lead the school.
Unionized faculty released the result of the confidence vote Wednesday afternoon. 138 members said no confidence. 61 still have confidence in Dr. Dobelle.
22News spoke with the President of the Massachusetts State College Association's local chapter, Buzz Hoagland, who is also a Biology professor.
Hoagland told 22News Dr. Dobelle has done some good things for the university, but Hoagland doesn't believe that Dobelle will be a good leader going forward.
“We have some very young faculty, and students acknowledge that, and they are really excited about the new young faculty because it gives them an opportunity that they didn't have otherwise,” said Hoagland.
The State's Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland said Dobelle's actions have damaged the university's reputation. Freeland has frozen some state funding for the university.
Professor of Education Robin Diangelo told 22News she hopes the controversy doesn't ruin the school's reputation.
She said the majority of faculty and students do not have the kind of money Dr. Dobelle spent on his trips.
“Our travel budget is $600 for each faculty member. You might be able to go to an in-state conference for that. Most of the trips we go on, we raise the money ourselves,” said Diangelo.
Stay with 22News for the latest developments.