Removal of rector causes concern

October 20, 2006

The European Union has expressed concern about the suspension of the rector of the Albanian-language State University of Tetovo.

Erwan Fouere, the EU's Special Representative in Skopje, said this week:

"It seems obvious to me that the replacement of Tetovo's rector was not carried out according to the procedure that should be observed in such cases."

According to the Macedonian Education Ministry, Nexhmedin Beadini was suspended and Sadi Bexheti named acting rector after an inspection this month revealed "irregularities" in the running of the university.

This explanation was supported in the national Parliament by MPs from one of the ethnic-Albanian parties, the Democratic Party of Albanians. But Xhevat Ademi from the rival Democratic Union for Integration told Parliament this month that the university was "under siege", that Professor Beadini was being held hostage by an armed group demanding his resignation and that the police had been called but declined to intervene.

University authorities and ministry officials have not commented on the situation. Gordana Jankulovska, the Interior Minister, did not respond to demands that she explain to Parliament why the police did not act.

It is reported, however, that documents impounded by the Education Ministry inspection team have been handed to the public prosecutor.

The university was founded in 1994 as a private, extra-legal initiative to provide Albanian-taught higher education courses. It was recognised by the Macedonian state only in 2004. Ethnic sensitivities still run high among the ethnic-Albanian minority and Slav Macedonians concerning the university.

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