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Tragic failure of oversight at Westfield State

I agree with the Globe’s conclusion about Even Dobelle, who resigned as president of Westfield State University (“Lesson of Dobelle downfall: Think big, but spend wisely,” Editorial, Nov. 13): “The tragedy of Dobelle was that he had [a farther-reaching vision for the school] — but lacked any practical sense of limits.”

However, the larger tragedy for Westfield State’s students, faculty, supporters, and future is that the school’s board of trustees is inept. Rather than providing good governance, the members swooned over Dobelle’s espoused virtues, accepted Dobelle’s version of overspending at University of Hawaii, and failed to protect their institution from abuse of expenses until it was front-page news. There are people who do great damage to the institutions they serve, and they should be punished — can you say Annie Dookhan? But, more than stunning individual failure, such cases are failures of common-sense management and oversight. The trustees at Westfield State University flunked.

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Rob Hazen
Acton