The University of Prishtina is in miserable condition. Not only is it an institution that postpones unemployment for more than 50,000 young people, it has also become a hotbed of corruption. One man in particular is an embodiment of the university's dysfunction: Rector Muje Rugova.
Rugova is past the legally mandated retirement age. But he is employed both as the rector at the university and as a member of the board of the Kosovo Energy Corporation. In 2011, Kosovo's Anti Corruption Agency investigated Rugova for holding two posts simultaneously at public institutions, and decided that it was not a conflict of interest. Rugova has declared his wealth for the past three years, and some strange discrepancies have yet to be explained. Based on information that is publicly available through the Anti Corruption Agency, Rugova accumulated 20,400 euros more than his salaries would have provided. It is unclear where this additional income has come from. Those 20,400 euros could pay for the tuition of 408 students.
Rugova's wealth is above and beyond that of ordinary Kosovars, and he is not known to skimp on his pet luxuries. Rugova's jeep was purchased through the university's budget for a whopping 44,900 euros, an amount that translates to tuition costs for 880 students.
At the end of his term, Rugova has become obsessed with winning titles and medals. He caused a national scandal when he recently bought a gold medal for himself from Business Initiative Directions, a company that sells awards to any business and organization that is willing to pay (examples here and here). The award cost the university around 15,000 euro — tuition for 300 students — including the 3 900 euro medal and the travel expenses to attend the “award” ceremony in New York. It appears that Naser Mrasori, the vice rector for international relations, arranged for Muja to purchase the medal, while Enver Kutllovci, who is responsible for finances, funded their trip with public money. According to the law, Rugova and Mrasori should have received 4,644 euro in advance for their per-diem costs. But Kutllovci gave them 2,356 euro more than the law allows. In short, they misused public money in order to get a dubious award.
Situations like these and many others take place in front of the eyes of the university’s Steering Council, which hasn’t initiated enough necessary changes. The council’s silence has turned into a barrier to University of Prishtina’s development. It allows unnecessary expenditures of public money to take place on people who do not contribute to the development of the country’s biggest public university.
The University of Prishtina cannot repair itself from the misdeeds of these people. To save the university from corruption, the students should mobilize, criticize and act. Students should protest because as we saw when student movement Study Critique Action occupied the rectorate, dissent can bring change.
University of Prishtina students should not sell themselves to these corrupt leaders, as the Student Parliament has done. They should not flatter the Steering Council and the Rectorate with praises and awards. Rugova and his companions, who are continuously destroying the university, don't deserve it.
The article was originally written in Albanian.
Illustration: Dave Kinsey
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