Czech university sexual harassment scandal rings alarm bells nationwide

Another teacher has been removed from his post in the current investigation into inappropriate behavior against female students at Masaryk University.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 07.02.2023 16:43:00 (updated on 08.02.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

An ongoing sexual harassment case at Masaryk University in Brno has led to another teacher being dismissed this week from the institution, and may evidence a wider problem within Czech universities.

A blind eye

A January investigation by Seznam Zprávy found that “inappropriate behavior” by two lecturers at the Faculty of Education at Masaryk University was an “open secret” that nobody tackled. According to students who spoke out, this had been ongoing for a long period of time.

In May last year, six current and former students at the faculty compiled a letter of complaint, alleging multiple instances of alleged “sexual pressure, sexist comments or problematic behavior” on the part of certain teachers. 

“It seemed to them [the students] that the school was trying to sweep the problem under the carpet.” - Seznam Zprávy

Students assert, however, that little to no action was taken by the university’s management; the teachers were not dismissed. According to Zuzana Rathouská of harassment-awareness charity Konsent, the faculty should have acted more forcefully from the start and prevented the accused from teaching until the case was fully investigated.

A sexual assault case within a different part of the university (the Faculty of Social Studies) last year had already caused unease within the country’s second-ranked university. 

It was only after the situation was brought back into the public eye by the media – with the addition of more testimonies – that the two teachers were dismissed this week. 

Now, a third lecturer has been fired.

"I see the situation as very serious. It scares me to hear about the growing number of testimonies,” says university rector Martin Bareš, who promises to take steps to prevent any such situations from reoccurring. 

Fighting the issue

A study by iRozhlas in 2022 found that “most of” the 12 universities it surveyed – including some of Prague’s biggest institutions – had recent cases of teacher-on-pupil sexual harassment. Some experts, such as ombudswoman of the Charles University Arts Faculty Pavla Špondrová, say in that the country is missing a “unified strategy” within universities to tackle the accusations. 

Ministry of Education spokeswoman Aneta Lednová said last year that more universities are appointing specially designated ombudsmen to deal with any allegations. 


  • More than three-quarters of women have experienced sexual harassment according to a 2022 survey.
  • Verbal harassment and unsolicited touching are the most-common types of offenses.
  • Over 20 percent of Czech students in a 2021 survey said they had experienced rape or attempted rape during their university studies.

    Sources:, Artemis Europa, iDnes

The institution’s management is at present electing an independent ombudsman to help manage the sexual harassment accusations – more teachers may still be dismissed. The Technical University in Liberec has also created a new position – a trustee – to whom a student can confidentially report any inappropriate behavior. This aims to negate any awkward, or intimidating, situation when reporting the event to the university’s senior management.

The problem of sexual harassment can also be better tackled even before a person reaches university. As per a survey by the Czech Secondary School Union, 72 percent of secondary school pupils did not learn anything about consent in sexual life. Women’s charity Profem has in the past called for more sex-education classes that specifically focus on consent and harassment elimination.

The ongoing investigation may well uncover plenty of skeletons in people’s closets and will hope to reduce the levels of women-targeted sexual harassment at Czech universities. 

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