SPRINGFIELD (AP) -- A federal magistrate judge has allowed a lawsuit filed by former Westfield State University president Evan Dobelle against several people to move forward.

The Republican reports that in a decision filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, the judge allowed the suit against three school trustees and the state's Higher Education commissioner to move forward, but released a law firm and a group of auditors from the lawsuit.

Dobelle, of Pittsfield and a former mayor of the city, resigned in November after a public firestorm over questionable travel and use of university credit cards. Dobelle argued that the spending was to promote the university.

After Dobelle resigned, he sued some trustees and commissioner, accusing them of conspiring to ensure his ouster in various ways, including holding secret meetings; conducting unnecessary investigations and railroading Dobelle through press leaks.