University of Prishtina Professor Suspended for Sexual Harassment

University of Prishtina rector,  Qerim Qerimi, decided to suspend the mathematics professor Xhevat Krasniqi until the prosecution finalises its investigation on sexual harassment claims, based on a recommendation by the university’s Council of Ethics which comes after several protests from students and civil society activists. 

“Based on the decision of the Council of Ethics and its recommendation to the Rectorate, the University of Prishtina Rectorate decided to suspend the professor Xh.K., with immediate effect, according to the relevant legal framework, until the investigative actions of the state prosecution end,” a statement by the University reads.  

Krasniqi was accused for sexual harassment in end of February by 27 students of the Medicine Faculty who filed an official complaint. He had been dismissed by the faculty’s leadership soon after and had remained a professor at the Faculty of Education until Tuesday.

This decision came after several meetings of the University’s Ethic’s Council which were accompanied by protests by students and activists that ended in police intervention.

Lawyer Rina Kika considered the decision of the University of Prishtina in conflict with their own regulation on protection from the sexual harassment. “The University of Prishtina will implement disciplinary measures and procedures for cases of sexual harassment regardless of the development of criminal proceedings for the same case”, is stated in the University regulation posted by Kika in a Facebook reaction.

According to her,  the University proved to be powerless in opposing sexual assaults.

“The disciplinary procedure does not depend on the procedures implemented by other institutions. Criminal responsibility is one thing, ethical disciplinary responsibility is another,” Kika emphasised.

Xhevat Krasniqi was called to report to the ethics council for a second time on Monday, April 22, where he denied the students’ accusations, calling them distorted. This sparked a reaction from students and activists demanding accountability from council members who were taking too much time to make a decision.

Several students testified about their experiences or what they witnessed for the Kallxo Përnime TV program, which aired on April 7.

After the broadcast, two additional allegations of sexual harassment by Krasniqi emerged. BIRN received testimonies that Krasniqi allegedly sexually harassed minor students at Sami Frashëri High School in Prishtina in 2000 and a female student, who eventually dropped out, at the Faculty of Education in Gjakova in the 2012/13 academic year. Krasniqi has denied to comment on these allegations against him to BIRN. 

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