Westfield State President Evan Dobelle to retire - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Westfield State President Evan Dobelle to retire

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Westfield State President Evan Dobelle, who has been facing controversy over spending of school money, is retiring effective immediately.

Friday's announcement comes after months of battling with Westfield state trustees and higher education officials.

In a letter sent to the board of trustees Dobelle says 

"...the unnecessary and unfortunate distractions of the last several months have led me to conclude that the only appropriate path for the University is one which will allow it to move forward unencumbered by such diversions."

He continues to say his retirement would be "welcomed" and would clear funding for a new building that has been withheld by the state since his controversy began.

Some students agree that now they can move on.

"Within the school there's been a lot of unrest...and him retiring will probably benefit all of that and kind of make it go away," said Nicholas Sarnelli, a Sophomore student from Chicopee.

"I don't think he was fit for the job anymore. He did what he did and it's past so he needs to move on I think," said Zach Dumas, a Junior at the university.

Dobelle says the money he spent on the University's card was paid back and has since brought in millions of dollars in revenue, and for that some students say they'll miss him in the President's office.

"It's kind of disappointing that he's been with us for a while and now he's gone," said Freshman, Shawn Hillmann.

Dobelle has filed a lawsuit against some members of the board of trustees. 

But at the end of his letter, he thanks those that stood by him saying

"I extend my sincere gratitude for all we have accomplished together, and wish unlimited successes in all of your endeavors."

Westfield State reps says they have no comment at this time.
Dobelle was placed on paid administrative leave last month pending the results of an investigation into his spending. 
A meeting is still scheduled for Nov. 25 to reveal the findings of that investigation.

Read the full letter below:

Dear Trustees:

It is with a tremendous sense of accomplishment that, after twenty-five years in higher education, I have decided to retire from my position as President of Westfield State University. Accordingly, I hereby submit this letter of resignation as President of the University, effective immediately.

Throughout my term as President, I have been pleased to work with an exceptional campus community on a broad range of initiatives that will continue to bear fruit for the University in the years to come. However, the unnecessary and unfortunate distractions of the last several months have led me to conclude that the only appropriate path for the University is one which will allow it to move forward unencumbered by such diversions. This path will provide a means by which the University can emerge, before the spring semester begins, from the recent torrent of gratuitous media attention and can get back to focusing its efforts and energies where they are best put to use - for the benefit of the students, faculty, and a decidedly bright future.

Of course, this was not my chosen path at this particular time. It is instead the result of the University's actions and failure to abide by the terms of my contract. Included among these actions is the so-called "administrative leave" on which I am currently placed, which is not permitted by my contract and has the effect of making it impossible for me to do my job. By unilaterally changing the terms and conditions of my employment, the University has led me to take this action. Although I understand that my contract contemplates a longer period of notice, I have been led to believe that, under the current circumstances, my immediate retirement would be welcomed and would expedite the release of the money to fund the new academic building, which would be the first in over 40 years at the university.

To the extended Westfield State Community, faculty, staff, administration, students, and alumni, I thank you for your support and friendship over these years. I extend my sincere gratitude for all we have accomplished together, and wish unlimited successes in all of your endeavors.



Evan S. Dobelle


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