Westfield State Board Backs President Despite Report's Findings of Violations

An external review released to Westfield State University's Board of Trustees Thursday found that President Evan Dobelle used his foundation-provided credit card for tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses, but several board members rallied behind him, The Republican of Springfield reported. The accountant's review, prepared in March, found that the president had charged $68,000 in personal expenses to the card, in violation of university rules. But in remarks to the board, Dobelle noted that no fraud had been discovered, and that he had repaid all of the personal charges, the newspaper said. The Boston Globe reported that Dobelle challenged the validity of the audit report, citing the fact that it had been approved only by an executive committee of the board.

Several board members praised Dobelle at the meeting. “When you are a visionary and want to do something great, you’re going to have detractors,” said one. (Note: This item has been updated from an earlier version to correct statements about the nature and timing of the report.)

New presidents or provosts: Anne Arundel Bethune-Cookman Central Penn East London UC-Riverside UCL Wallace State

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  • Makola M. Abdullah, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs florida memorial university, has been selected as provost and chief academic officer at Bethune-Cookman University.
  • Andrew J Deeks, pro vice chancellor (science) at Durham University, in Britain, has been selected as president of University College Dublin, in Ireland.

Donor Pulls $100,000 Gift Over Westfield State President's 'Lavish Spending'

A donor has withdrawn a planned $100,000 contribution to Westfield State College to protest what he called the "lavish spending" of President Evan Dobelle, whose personal charges to a university foundation account have him under intense scrutiny, The Boston Globe reported. John P. Walsh, who heads a cosmetics company, told the Globe that he was "appalled" at Dobelle's behavior, in which he reportedly made extensive (and expensive) personal charges for significant out-of-state and international travel, among other things. Dobelle released a statement to the Globe in which he said Walsh had never formally pledged the money he is said to be withdrawing, and that he expected a report to be released today to find that there were "no personal expenses at issue."



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New presidents or provosts: Alamance Antioch Berkeley Bronx King's Mesalands Stark Maine Missouri

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  • Henry C. (Hank) Foley, vice president for research and dean of the graduate school at Pennsylvania State University, has been named executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Missouri System.

Unusually Public Dispute on Arkansas Official's Firing

University advancement offices typically try to keep disputes out of the public eye, but the firing of a spokesman at the University of Arkansas has set off a very public dispute. The Bangor Daily News reported on the firing of John Diamond (for many years chief spokesman at the University of Maine System before he went to Arkansas) and charges he has made against his now former bosses at Arkansas. Diamond said that he was forced out because he insisted on complying with open records requests, and that he was uncomfortable at Arkansas because of inappropriate comments, some of which were about his religion (he is a Roman Catholic). Arkansas officials meanwhile held a news conference to deny the accusations and to accuse Diamond of not doing well at his job. Chris Wyrick, the official Diamond said made an anti-Catholic reference, denied doing so, but said that he asked Diamond “What time is the fish fry on Friday?” and that he did not view this as inappropriate.


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Citing 'High Risk Drinking,' Temple U. Ends 'Spring Fling'

Temple University announced Monday that it will no longer sponsor the annual "Spring Fling," a festival of games and special events that has been held on campus each spring and that has also been a date for off-campus parties -- including one at which a student died last year. "A dangerous culture of high-risk drinking has infiltrated the event, undermining our academic mission and our duty to safeguard student health and wellness," said a statement from Stephanie Ives, dean of students. The university statement noted that the event started at a time that the university was largely a commuter institution, and that the university has changed considerably since then.

In April, during the last Spring Fling, Ali Fausnaught, 19, a freshman at West Chester University, fell three stories to her death at an off-campus house party, The Philadelphia Daily News reported. She had been visiting her boyfriend, a Temple student, and rooftop parties have become part of the off-campus tradition.


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Report Faults Yeshiva U. on Sex Abuse Charges

A report by an outside law firm -- commissioned by Yeshiva University -- has confirmed reports of numerous incidents of sexual abuse of students at the university's high school for boys. "The investigative team has concluded that multiple incidents of varying types of sexual and physical abuse took place at [the high school] during the relevant time period. This conduct was carried out by a number of individuals in positions of authority ... including, in certain instances, after members of the administration had been made aware of such conduct. In addition, the investigative team found that, during the relevant time period, sexual and physical abuse took place at other schools comprising the university as well.... The
investigative team found that, up until 2001, there were multiple instances in which the university either failed to appropriately act to protect the safety of its students or did not respond to the allegations at all." The report noted improvements after 2001 and since the scandal over the sex abuse charges became public.

Originally, the university said that the entire report would be released, but it provided only a summary, citing issues raised by suits filed against Yeshiva.

A statement from Richard M. Joel, the president (who was not president at the time of the abuse allegations), said: "There are findings set forth in this report that serve as a source of profound shame and sadness for our institution. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire University community, I express my deepest and most heartfelt remorse, and truly hope that our recognition of these issues provides some level of comfort and closure to the victims."

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George Washington Removes Business School Dean

George Washington University last week removed Doug Guthrie as dean of its business school, after determining that the school had spent $10 million more than authorized, The Wall Street Journal reported. “It had become increasingly clear that the financial management and operational differences between the dean and the administration were too great to surmount,” said a university spokeswoman.


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All Applicants Failed U. of Liberia's Admissions Test

All 25,000 people who took the entrance exam for the University of Liberia failed this year, BBC reported. A university official said that most students "lacked enthusiasm and did not have a basic grasp of English," the BBC report said.


Why Did Band Director Sell Instruments on eBay?

Robert Rumbelow resigned as director of the band at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign last week after officials determined that he sold $87,000 in old instruments of the university's on eBay and elsewhere, The Chicago Tribune reported. Rumbelow faces felony theft charges because the funds from the sales were deposited in his own account. Rumbelow's lawyer said that his client intended to turn the funds over the university once all the old instruments were sold (he now has done so) and enough funds had been raised for a new band building.


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