NCCC president James Klyczek resigns after 7 Eyewitness News investigations

Alleged bid-rigging, victim-blaming forced hand
Posted at 3:47 PM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-26 23:51:08-04

The longest-serving president in Niagara County Community College history has resigned following two 7 Eyewitness News investigations that revealed alleged bid-rigging and sex assault victim-blaming in his administration.

James P. Klyczek resigned Wednesday afternoon, less than one week after a 7 Eyewitness News investigation uncovered comments made by Klyczek about a victim in an alleged sexual assault.

"Yippee!" said Laura Scaletta, a professor at NCCC. "Because this has been 16 years of tyranny."

"I did a happy dance in the hallway," she added. 

Public pressure on Klyczek mounted after two 7 Eyewitness News investigations revealed allegations of bid-rigging at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute and sex assault victim-blaming -- comments that ultimately forced the president's hand. 

"What is she stupid?" Klyczek said of the victim. "I mean, no, seriously. This just aggravates me. Make us the guilty party because you're too stupid to follow your instinct...That is as dumb as can be.”

He also called one of the victims "dumber than a doorknob," a comment that was criticized by sex assault experts, who noted that the victim of such a heinous crime should not be faulted when a crime occurs. 

Those comments cut to the heart of student concerns. 

"I wouldn't come anywhere near this school, I wouldn't," NCCC student Nadeah Jenkins said. 

Many thought Klyczek would fight to the bitter end. His resignation came as a welcome surprise to members of the faculty, who credited 7 Eyewitness News for bringing the scandals to light. 

"It's wonderful to have a success, to have something acknowledged and to have the truth out," said NCCC professor Elizabeth Sachs. 

NCCC board members Bonnie Sloma and Gina Virtuoso led the board fight to remove Klyczek and the board -- for the first time -- condemned Klyczek's remarks. 

"The board wants to clearly state that Dr. Klyczek's reported words and actionshave been inappropriate, insensitive and inconsistent with the values of our college," board chairman Vincent Ginestre said. 

Luba Chliwniak, one of Klyczek's vice presidents, has been put in charge of the college until a permanent replacement can be found. 

Klyczek's other administrators who were caught up in the scandal -- security director Francis Giles and vice presidents Michael Dombrowski and Julia Pitman -- remain on the job.

"I think there will be further investigation into that," said Lori Townsend, president of the faculty senate. 

While students and faculty say this dark chapter in the college's history may be coming to a close, the process of rebuilding the college and restoring its reputation has just begun.

"We love this college," said Scaletta. "We love it and that's why it hurt us so much that we have been under this evil for so long."

Students are clear in what they expect from the next president. 

"Someone with a lot more integrity who actually wants to do better for the school, someone who wants to make a change here to make it better," said student Javen Vaughn. 

With a big smile across her face, Sachs said: "Finally we have the chance for a new day, which is a long time coming but very, very welcome now that it's here."

The mother of one of the sexual assault victims also contacted 7 Eyewitness News with this statement:

"With this resignation, today is the first day since that dreadful day in August that we feel that we have gotten some type of justice and can start to move on and heal."