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NCCC president may be fired or placed on leave by board

SANBORN – James P. Klyczek is likely to be fired or placed on administrative leave Wednesday as president of Niagara County Community College.

Klyczek can be heard on a surreptitiously recorded audio tape ridiculing a woman who reported last summer that she was sexually assaulted on campus, said a source with knowledge of the matter.

"You can't call the victim of a sexual assault dumb or stupid," the source said. "You're putting the integrity of the college at risk. ... If these allegations are true, he has to be fired."

The tape shows Klyczek was highly critical of the woman who filed the sexual assault complaint, according to WKBW-TV. It was the first of two reported sexual assaults on campus. The recording was obtained by Channel 7.

"What is she, stupid?" Klyczek asked. "I mean, no, seriously. This just aggravated me. Make us the guilty party because you're too stupid to follow your instinct that this guy sits down next to you and there's nobody else around, you agree to take him on a tour. That is as dumb as can be."

The victim reportedly wanted her daughter to attend NCCC.

"Her daughter should be worried, because if she's got her mother's genes, she's dumber than a doorknob," Klyczek said, according to Channel 7.

The man charged with the two sexual assaults at NCCC last summer, DeJuan L. Hunt II, 25, of Niagara Falls, died Aug. 29 in Niagara County Jail, nine days after a fight with corrections officers.

In February, the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Hunt's death a homicide. The Niagara County District Attorney's Office is investigating the matter.

"The doctor, who worked on this case very diligently, felt there were a couple of injuries on the shins of Mr. Hunt that may have caused a condition called rhabdomyolysis," Sheriff James R. Voutour said at a Feb. 10 news conference.

Rhabdomyolysis is a syndrome in which muscle fiber dies and damages the kidneys, sometimes causing them to fail.

Trustee Gina I. Virtuoso, who previously voted to place Klyczek on leave, said Tuesday that she prefers firing him when the board holds a special meeting Wednesday.

"Dr. Klyczek at this time should be terminated," Virtuoso said. "Whether that happens or he's placed on leave depends on legal advice."

At least one trustee who previously opposed placing Klyczek on leave has changed views and now supports his dismissal, the source told The News.

A federal grand jury is believed to be investigating alleged bid-rigging on the construction of NCCC's Niagara Falls Culinary Institute in 2011.

Klyczek, whose contract has about a year left to run, survived a previous motion to place him on leave by one vote. Six votes were needed, but only five trustees voted to put him on leave.

But now Klyczek's support may be evaporating.

5-4 vote keeps NCCC president in place during investigation

NCCC faculty have battled Klyczek for years and have sent representatives to recent board meetings to criticize him for what they call his dictatorial style of leadership.

If Klyczek resigns or is forced out, "it will never be like this again. This college will have transparency and shared governance," Virtuoso said.

Klyczek, 59, has been president of the college for 16 years. A call to his cellphone Tuesday was not returned. His secretary said he was traveling back from an out-of-town conference.

Virtuoso said she and Bonnie R. Sloma, another anti-Klyczek trustee, will not be able to attend Wednesday's meeting. Both are out of state, but the meeting notice said members will be allowed to participate by video conference.

Emails suggest NCCC president tried to influence bid process

The board hired a Syracuse law firm to investigate the bidding for contracts on the Culinary Institute and to handle the task of turning over evidence to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

But a source at the college said not to expect anything to come of that investigation.

"There's going to be no criminality," the source said.

Emails written by Klyczek in 2011 that were leaked to the media seem to show Klyczek trying to extend a bidding deadline on a contract for legal services on the Culinary Institute project so the Harris Beach law firm could bid. Harris Beach, however, did not bid on the contract.

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