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NCCC board may remove college president -- and students say it's time for a change

Special meeting being held on Wednesday
Posted at 2:30 PM, Apr 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 19:03:51-04

The future is looking rocky for the embattled president of Niagara County Community College -- and members of the student body and faculty senate are calling for a change.

The college's board of trustees has called a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Sanborn.  Members are expected to vote on President James Klyczek's future at the college.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Charlie Specht broke the news on Twitter, Tuesday afternoon.

The move comes after secret recordings, obtained by 7 Eyewitness News, appear to capture President Klyczek victim blaming a woman who was reportedly sexually assaulted on the campus this past summer. For additional background on Charlie's investigation, click here.

Board members need to "do their job and to act and remove this president from this institution ," according to Tim Veiders, a criminal justice professor at NCCC.

That's exactly what NCCC board member Gina Virtuoso plans on doing.

"My decision would be to terminate because I think the students right now need a strong voice to protect them, to know that we are not going to make these same mistakes again," Virtuoso said. 

In audio recordings obtained by 7 Eyewitness News, Klyczek said of a woman who was allegedly assaulted near the campus library:

"What is she stupid?" Klyczek said. "I mean, no, seriously. This just aggravates me. Make us the guilty party because you're too stupid to follow your instinct...Her daughter should be worried, because if she's got her mother's genes, she's dumber than a doorknob."

The comments were condemned by a sex assault expert and by Gov. Cuomo, who called Tuesday for a state investigation. 

Students on campus Tuesday said they were shocked by the remarks.

"That's alarming," said student Nadeah Jenkins. "That really is because you never know what's going to happen and to feel like the people that's here to help us is brushing it under the rug, that's very serious, that's sad."

Jenkins said if she were a high schooler deciding where to go to college, "I wouldn't come anywhere near this school, I wouldn't. That's scary, especially for the parents who are sending their children to school."

Students and alumni also took to social media in disappointment at their school and alma mater:

 

 

The faculty senate is also calling for the removal and replacement of Klyczek for what it calls "inexcusable breaches of ethics," saying that faculty members cannot remain silent "and therefore complicit by failing to act."

"Competent journalistic accounts have revealed instances of sexual harassment and assault on out campus that were NOT communicated in a timely manner by the president and his administration to the students, faculty and staff, thereby endangering their safety," said NCCC professor Amanda Pollard.

Faculty members went on to say they don't want Klyczek to speak at graduation -- a sentiment that students could understand.

"They have poor leadership qualities if they're just victim-blaming like that," said student Lorenz McClain.

UPDATE: Dennis Virtuoso, minority leader of the Niagara County Legislature (and husband of NCCC board member Gina Virtuoso) tells 7 Eyewitness News that he plans to introduce a resolution for the county legislature calling for Klyczek's removal. 

Virtuoso said he will also propose Niagara County Sheriff's deputies take over campus security at NCCC in the wake of the sexual assault scandal.

The tapes revealed NCCC security director Francis Giles also made disparaging comments about the sexual assault victims.