Bullying, irregularities claims dog Jacob Ng
Sexual harassment claims follow PWSCC president's resignation
Courtesy Seed Media file photo
Dr. Jacob Ng in happier times.
The president of Prince William Sound Community College (PWSCC) abruptly resigned from his Valdez post Friday after complaints surfaced alleging harassment, bullying and irregularities at the school's dormitories.
Dr. Jacob Ng, who assumed the president's post last July, resigned Friday according to Kate Ripley, spokesperson for University of Alaska Anchorage president Pat Gamble. PWSCC is an independently accredited institution under the University of Alaska system and its president answers directly to Gamble.
Ng could not be located for comment.
The school named Chris Washko, vice-president of academic affairs, as acting president.
According to Ripley, Ng was living at the school's dormitories free of charge. The student housing maintained by the college are essentially small apartments and students living in them during the academic year pay a quarterly fee for the privilege.
"He was living in the student housing and not paying for it," Ripley said in a telephonic interview last week. "It is my understanding he is going to, so that's going to be rectified."
More troubling are the allegations of bullying and harassment, which Ripley declined to comment on.
"There was nothing criminal," she said, "More of a matter of what's appropriate and of what's not."
Ripley said Ng resigned and UA has closed its investigation.
Two former employees, both young men, have come forward with claims that Ng sexually harassed them after personally hiring them in separate departments. One term of employment lasted only two days. The short-time employee quit after he claims Ng put his hand down his shirt and grabbed his pectorals after Ng invited him to nap in the president's office.
The accuser says he quit the job in a phone call to Ng. He also claims the former president broke down and cried during the phone call he made when the victim told him he would not return to the job.
During his brief employment under Ng, the young man says he witnessed the former president treat college employees "like crap" while young men he favored were encouraged to call him "Dr. Papa."
A second former employee claims Ng rubbed his groin area against his body while he was on the job, in addition to making suggestive sexual comments about himself and other young men on campus. The employee was later terminated before completing a probationary period.
Both claim to have been the recipients of unsolicited shoulder massages and oddly, both young men, in separate interviews, claimed Ng offered them candy after inappropriate body contact.
"I thought it was fricking weird at the time," said one victim, who said he figured the massages and offers of candy were a cultural difference - until Ng's inappropriate attentions became overtly sexual.
"I said 'wow – this is not cool," he said.
Ng was hired as president in April, 2013 after the abrupt March 2012 departure of former president Doug Desorcie. Ng did not begin work until July, 2013.
Ripley said the school's operations for the spring semester will not be interrupted after Ng's departure.
"There's a really good transition team in place," she said.
Valdez Star photo
Chris Washko at his office at Prince William Sound Community College.
Ripley said Gamble was in Washington DC at the time of Ng's resignation, but he will be coming to Valdez as soon as his schedule allows. The hiring process that put Ng and Desorcie in the position of president both took approximately a year-and-a-half to complete.
Ng was the college's fourth president since it was founded in 1978.
According to a UA press release from April 2013, Ng came to Valdez after 17 years in California's Peralta Community College District. It said Ng holds a doctorate in community college leadership/higher education administration from Oregon State University, a master's in counseling/clinical psychology from Cal Lutheran University and a bachelor's in psychology with summa cum laude honors from Evangel University in Missouri.