“Am I to blame?”: Students Speak Up About Sexual Harassment at Prishtina University

Students from the University of Prishtina have exposed the misconduct of a mathematics professor with accusations ranging from indecent comments to unwanted physical advances.

“You can wear red lipstick as much as you want, but your lips will never be like Teuta’s,” this comment by a man was overheard by two female students from the University of Prishtina’s medical faculty while walking home from late afternoon consultations in December 2022.

The man was not unknown to them. It was Xhevat Krasniqi, their professor of mathematics who had made them and other colleagues cry several times due to his repeated sexual harassment of multiple students.

“Am I to blame because he chooses to sexually harass me?” Teuta (not her real name) questioned herself, as she explained to Kallxo Përnime TV Programme, broadcasted on April 7.

Kosovo’s public has been shocked after allegations of sexual harassment at Prishtina University surfaced in late February, when twenty-seven students from the Faculty of Medicine filed a formal complaint against their professor of mathematics, Xhevat Krasniqi. He has since been dismissed by the Faculty of Medicine, but continues to work at the Faculty of Education. 

Teuta, Kaltrina, and Shpresa (not their real names) recalled the sexual harassment against them in the programme. Two of their male peers, who spoke anonymously out of fear of backlash, supported the claims as first hand witnesses. Another student, Era (not her real name), also joined the testimonies in a written statement for this article.

After the broadcast of the programme, more allegations against Krasniqi

 were reported to BIRN.  Arta Bajrami, human resources manager at the Kosovo public broadcaster Radio Television of Kosovo, RTK,  told BIRN she experienced harassment by Krasniqi in 2000, when she was a minor attending Sami Frashëri high school in Prishtina. 

Arlind Hajdaraj, a teacher at the elementary school “Dëshmorët e Baballoqit” in Decan, also told BIRN he witnessed Krasniqi harass female students at the faculty of Education at the Gjakova university in the 2012/13 academic year. A professor at the University of Gjakova, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed Hajdari’s claims and explained that the harassed student had dropped out. 

Krasniqi has denied the initial allegations against him made by medical students at the University of Prishtina. He did not respond to BIRN’s request for a comment about the claims of sexual harassment at other institutionswhich surfaced after the broadcast.

Council of Ethics Ignores Sexual Harassment Accusations 


Kosovo Police forcefully dispersed a protest in front of the University of Prishtina rectorate building on Thursday. Activists from the University Feminist Movement at the University of Pristina, joined by activists from the NGO Organisation for the Increase of Quality in Education, ORCA, and other students, had been blocking the entry to the rectorate building.

The protestors were trying to prevent members of the university’s Council of Ethics from leaving before they made a decision to dismiss Krasniqi.

Police dragged the protesters away from the doorway of the rectorate and arrested one of them, Rron Gjinovci, executive director of ORCA. He was released shortly afterwards.

“There is no place, nor reason for dramatics,” read a press release from the University of Prishtina issued one day later on April 12. 

“The Ethics Council has rejected and will reject pressure as a modality of its operation, because such a thing is in the best interest of the institutional operation and the legal order, in accordance with the best European and international standards,” it continued.

Krasniqi was questioned by the Council of Ethics on April 4, a week before the protest. This interrogation occurred 5 weeks after the 27 medical students filed their complaint against the professor.

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

The Council of Ethics started its review process on March 28, a month after the complaint was filed. The council is composed of four men, Iset Morina, Skënder Muji, Arben Hajdari and Rrezart Galica. This all-male makeup violates Kosovo’s Law on Gender Equality.

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

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.

During the 45 minute questioning on April 4, which the Council of  Ethics denied providing BIRN the minutes of, council members did not refer to the sexual harassment incidents the students had described in their February 27 complaint. Instead, they referred to them as ‘inadequate’ and ‘inappropriate’ language.

Teuta told Kallxo Përnime TV programme that she will never forget February 14, 2023. Krasniqi, during consultations about an exam grade with Teuta,  claimed that he was very “straight in assessing exams” and then said that he could “straighten her back” by “offering to massage” her. Krasniqi approached her and put his arms around her. The scene was witnessed by other students, including Trimi (not his real name), who also described the incident in Kallxo Përnime.

According to available information about the council’s interrogation, Krasniqi was not asked explicitly if he had offered to massage Teuta during consultation hours, nor about why he insisted on holding one-on-one closed door consultations with students. Instead, most questions were about his grading methodology.

Krasniqi has tried to undermine the validity of the twenty seven signatures to the Council of Ethics, claiming that there are students from other years in the list and that students are trying to intimidate him because of his strict grading.

According to Krasniqi, his grading is so rigorous that powerful people, such as mayors, MPs, and deputy commanders of Kosovo Police, have tried to pressure him to “lower the bar”. 

The mathematics professor went further, claiming that one of the signatures on the complaint is forged. “This is not her signature,” he said, claiming he had photographed her actual signature and that they differ. 

Male students support their harassed peers


University of Prishtina students told Kallxo Përnime they had feared the professor would fail them if they had spoken up. Nevertheless, this fear did not stop them from  speaking up and showing support, even when they themselves were not victims of Krasniqi’s sexual harassment. 

“We know  how these harassment cases go in Kosovo; people often say that ‘we asked for it’,” Shpresa, one of the students who told her story, explained, emphasising the negative comments they have been receiving.

“These have discouraged us from reporting,” she emphasised, recalling another instance when Krasniqi asked her if she wanted to go for consultations another day, on the condition that she would not tell other students.

“When he told me this, I didn’t know what to say at the moment, and I just froze and he saw my reaction after which he said ‘leave it be,  you don’t look like one to keep your word’,” she recalled, explaining she decided to speak anonymously because “I don’t want to have problems because I decided to speak out, also for the sake of my family.”

The students BIRN spoke with declared that whenever they entered the classroom, the professor would give them strange looks “from head to toe”, which made them uncomfortable and anxious. 

Trimi said he saw and heard the professor offer Teuta a  “massage”. He confirmed that Krasniqi, following this, wrapped his arms around Teuta and hugged her.  

“My colleague froze and so did I.  I couldn’t stop this sexual harassment because I was afraid that the professor would retaliate against me in the exam.”.

Trimi said that he was also present when the professor followed students and commented on Era’s and Teuta’s coloured lips while explaining that many female students did not pass his exams. 

“He might have wanted to extend the sexual harassment process and not pass them in the exam so that they have to retake it”, explained Trimi.

Teuta had gone to consultations to ask why Krasniqi failed her in an oral maths exam by 0.05 points. 

“In those moments, I froze, my whole body felt strange, I just handed in the exam and left,” Teuta recalled, explaining that  “since that day, I have never been well …

I just cried. Teuta’s family was concerned about the incident whereas her colleagues were simultaneously concerned and afraid they might be the next victims.

Era had been with Teuta when the professor had commented on their red lips, an incident that was witnessed also by Albion (not his real name).  He also said that he witnessed Krasniqi sexually harassing students “throughout the first semester and during the January consultations, and after consultations”.  

“My colleagues felt very bad, and we saw them, coming out of consultations, how distraught and upset they were,” Albion added.

  Era, in a written statement, told BIRN that in January 2023 Krasniqi had sexually harassed her in class.

“I was wearing a long skirt, sweater, and a long coat,” she recalled, explaining how the professor had ‘examined’ her from head to toe before starting the exam. 

“You can sit wherever you want,” he had told her at first and as he was handing out the tests. Later, he had approached her and asked “Did you wear a skirt?”.  

“What do you have under your skirt,” he continued, adding “how can I know that you do not have a paper under your skirt?”

Era had stared at him asking why she was the only one he was suspicious of.

Kaltrina, another student, told Kallxo Përnime that she and other female students felt uncomfortable and “harassed,” explaining that “I have passed all written exams with very good scores; he uses oral consultations to fail us”.

Krasniqi told the Council of Ethics that students are taking revenge on him because he has failed them. Kaltrina said that if they, the medical students, were really ‘weak students’, as he labelled them, then they wouldn’t be in this faculty. 

“Most of us have passed the toughest subjects; his subject is where we always ended up ‘stuck’.”

The Medical Faculty is the faculty with highest criteria for acceptance, and BIRN has been asked to monitor the entrance exams to this Faculty since 2017 regularly to make sure that all those who pass the entrance exam are not cheating.

Allegations of sexual harassment going back to 2000 

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

It is not the first time Krasniqi is accused of sexually harassing his students, several individuals told BIRN after the Kallxo Përnime TV programme broadcasted.

Hajdaraj, the teacher in Decan, told BIRN  that Krasniqi had harassed the female students during the academic year 2012-2013 during the time he was a student  at the Faculty of Education in Gjakova. 

“During an exam, he told a female student, ‘You did not prepare well enough, but you can pass the exam if you go out for coffee with me’,” Hajdaraj claimed.

Hajdari explained that Krasniqi’s class of approximately 50 students had succeeded in dismissing the professor after they had signed a petition. 

“We submitted a petition due to sexual harassment,” Hajdaraj said, explaining the professor had not shown up in class after that.

“Due to the reason that the professor had been dismissed from his duty, we had decided not to bring this case to the media so as not to violate the privacy of the student who was the target of sexual harassment,” Hajdaraj told BIRN on April 8, 2024.

A professor in Gjakova public university who prefers to remain anonymous also supported Hajdaraj’s claims.

“I am still in touch with the woman he harassed, she basically was so traumatised by Krasniqi’s sexual advancements that she left university altogether and now works in a hair & nail salon,” the professor claimed, explaining they had supported students “to report this case, we made sure Krasniqi never teaches again in Gjakova but I could not get the student to continue her studies further”.

Arta Bajrami, employee at RTK, told BIRN on April 9 that she and her classmates were sexually harassed by Krasniqi, as minors, attending the Sami Frashëri high school in Prishtina, in 2000. 

“He was targeting good looking female students and commenting on their looks, mine including, commenting on our dresses,” Bajrami, now 40 years old,  told BIRN after the programme came out. 

“We were 16 at the time, we felt uncomfortable but did not understand what was happening to us, at that time we did not have enough awareness to understand this was sexual harassment”.

If affected by any of the issues raised in this article, or if you have been a victim of sexual harassment, please report to [email protected] – we are following this case and others of similar nature. 

read more: