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Reports: WSU president may seek whistleblower protection

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WESTFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Westfield State President Dr. Evan Dobelle has been under fire over the last month for running up a personal tab on school credit cards.

There are reports now that Dobelle will try and protect himself from being punished by filing for whistleblower protection.

CBS 3's media partner masslive.com/The Republican is reporting that Dobelle is considering filing for the state's Whistleblower Protection Act.

Dobelle has been criticized by the state for using university credit cards.

An investigation into his spending found although he didn't commit fraud, he did use money from the Westfield State Foundation for personal expenditures including using concert tickets for his son and airfare for his wife. That is a violation of the school's policy.

The Westfield State Board of Trustees said they stood by their president.

During a heated meeting in Boston last week, State Education officials urged the Board of Trustees to take some type of disciplinary action towards Dobelle and other staff who violated the school's credit card policy.

Massachusetts Education Secretary Matthew Malone told CBS 3, last month's report highlighted some concerns.

"It showed there were clear violations of policies that the president committed," said Malone.

Malone said he's "standing by" for action by the Board of Trustees.

The Board will take up Dobelle's spending during their Oct. 24 meeting.

Molly Watson is the university's spokesperson. She said she hadn't heard of Dobelle pursuing the act.

"The school has no new information at this time," said Watson.

Dobelle has said every dime he has spent was for the good of the school.

Since he took the position as president, he's brought in millions of dollars in revenue and has given the school a series of renovations including a new dorm and updates to classrooms.
   
He has repeatedly said he has no plans for stepping down.

Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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