Higher Ed. Commissioner: WSU Board ‘Did the Right Thing’


WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — On Wednesday, Commissioner Freeland weighed in on the Dobelle controversy and the board of trustees recent action in placing Dobelle on administrative leave.

“I think they did the right thing,” says Freeland.

Dobelle has been embroiled in a controversy over his spending practices while taking domestic and international trips.

Commissioner Freeland hopes the issue can be resolved quickly, certainly no later than the board’s November 25 meeting.

“I have written to the board and I think that letter has become public, detailing my own view based on the review of this matter and those views lead me to believe that it’s questionable whether President Dobelle can provide the kind of leadership that the institution needs,” Freeland explains.

At one point during the ongoing dispute, Dobelle fired back saying Commissioner Freeland was looking to replace Dobelle at Westfield State.

Not so says the commissioner.

“I heard I was being accused of lusting after the president’s job and I can assure you that is not well founded. I don’t know what that was based on,” says Freeland.

Commissioner Freeland, citing concerns about Dobelle’s financial management has suspended $2 million dollars in state funding for a new science and technology building.

That money remains in limbo.

“Until this issue is resolved we don’t have sufficient confidence in the financial management of the institution to release these funds,” says Freeland.

Freeland also says he believes that what happened at Westfield State is an isolated incident, not typical of what’s going on at other public institutions.