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Grand jury will hear testimony on possible "criminal activities" at NCCC

Faculty "in disbelief" president remains on job
Posted at 11:53 PM, Apr 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-11 23:55:04-04

The news broke just hours before the Niagara County Community College Board of Trustees met Tuesday night in Sanborn: 

A federal grand jury will hear testimony this month about the bid-rigging scandal first uncovered by 7 Eyewitness News regarding college president James P. Klyczek.

“As a criminal justice professional, we usually don’t convene grand juries unless there’s some substance to the charges,” said Tim Veiders, who runs the criminal justice program at NCCC. “Barring any unforeseen circumstances, an indictment probably would be forthcoming.” 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office refused to confirm nor deny its investigation, but a source tells 7 Eyewitness News that the grand jury is focused on possible “criminal activities” at the community college.

“There is disbelief that this hasn’t been resolved, that Dr. Klyczek hasn’t been let go,” said Elizabeth Sachs, a professor at NCCC.

Board members heard from angry faculty members – but only after they tried and failed to limit the public comment period and made the public wait out in the hall. 

“I’ve always wondered now why the public has to stay downstairs instead of being up here,” said RoseMary Warren, who described herself as a “tired taxpayer.”

Unlike at previous meetings, board members poked and prodded, challenging Klyczek even on small items.

With the cloud of a grand jury investigation hanging over them, board members say they want an update on their own internal investigation from an outside law firm – and fast.

Professor Kathy Gerbasi said the whole scandal is becoming a huge distraction from the classroom.

“It’s discouraging and I can’t even imagine…for whatever students are paying attention to what’s going on, I can’t imagine what they’re thinking,” Gerbasi said. 

One thing is certain – the president’s standing among board members and the public appears to be at an all-time low.

Veiders said: “Unfortunately for the college community, I don’t think the president is in any position to govern anymore, even if he isn’t indicted.”