Xhevat Krasniqi, professor of mathematics in Faculty of Medicine. Photo:BIRN

Prosecution Investigates Claims of Professor’s Sexual Harassment after BIRN Investigation

The Basic Prosecution of Prishtina started an investigation on allegations of sexual harassment against a professor of mathematics at the University of Prishtina, after BIRN investigation broadcasted five days prior.

The Basic Prosecution of Prishtina started investigating allegations of sexual harassment by a professor of mathematics at the University of Prishtina, Xhevat Krasniqi, after the broadcast of BIRN investigation in which several students testified about their personal experiences or what they had witnessed.

“After the publication (of the BIRN investigation in Albanian), four witnesses have been questioned” by the Kosovo Police, the chief prosecutor of Prishtina Basic Prosecutor, Zejnullah Gashi, told BIRN, adding that that the “television interviews have been included in the police file”.

The harassment claims surfaced in late February when 27 medical students filed a formal complaint against Krasniqi.

On April 7, 2024, the Kallxo Përnime TV programme broadcasted interviews with six of these students from the Medical Faculty of the University of Prishtina. Three female students told their stories of having been sexually harassed by the professor, and three male students supported the claims of their peers, having witnessed the sexual harassment first hand.

After the broadcast, a fourth female student told BIRN about her personal experience of harassment by Krasniqi via a written statement.

Krasniqi has denied the allegations against him. He did not respond to BIRN’s request for a comment about the claims.

On Thursday, April 11, the Kosovo Police forcibly dispersed a protest by student activists at the University of Pristina. Protestors were demanding the dismissal of professor Krasniqi because of his alleged sexual harassment of female medical students.

The management of the Faculty of Medicine dismissed Krasniqi in early March and the faculty’s dean, Suzana Manxhuka-Kërliu, officially forwarded the students’ complaint to the university’s Council of Ethics. The students and activists are requesting Krasniqi’s dismissal from the university.

The Council of Ethics is composed of four men and no women, and is therefore in violation of Kosovo’s Law on Gender Equality, which envisages equal participation of women and men in all areas of public life. The council started its review process on March 28, a month after the complaint was filed.

The council had not dismissed Krasniqi from the Faculty of Education, where he is mainly employed, by the time of publication of this article.

Krasniqi was questioned by the Council of Ethics on April 4, five weeks after the complaint against him was filed.

According to the University of Pristina’s regulations on disciplinary action against academic staff, the Council of Ethics should question an accused professor within five working days from the submission of the complaint, and a decision should be made within 30 days.

When questioned by the council, Krasniqi denied the initial claims made in the complaint filed by the 27 students. He accused the students of taking revenge against him due to his harsh grading criteria.

Over the course of the 45-minute interview, the Council of Ethics did not refer directly to the sexual harassment incidents the students described in their complaint.

The members of the Council of Ethics, Izet Morina, Skender Muji, Arben Hajdari and Rrezart Galica, declined to provide BIRN with the April 4 meeting’s minutes or comment on what was said.

After the broadcast, two additional allegations of sexual harassment by Krasniqi surfaced. 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 not responded to BIRN’s questions on these allegations.

12/04/2024 - 17:18

12 April 2024 - 17:18

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