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Sunday, October 01, 2023
UW Whitewater new chancellor

The UW System Board of Regents appointed Dwight Watson as the new chancellor of UW-Whitewater, despite faculty concerns surrounding search committee changes. 

UW-Whitewater chancellor pressed to resign amidst accelerating sexual assault investigation

Women in the workplace still contend with unwanted advances from male colleagues, which hits close to home as the UW System opens a third investigation into a sexual harassment case at UW-Whitewater.

Alan “Pete” Hill, who has been accused of sexual harassment on multiple occasions since 2015, is UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper’s husband and previous associate. Though Hill has been banned from Whitewater, Kopper now faces scrutiny from those who believe she may have been aware of her husband’s actions.

The investigation began earlier this year, after a total of three women who worked for UW-Whitewater came forward with allegations of harassment against Hill. He held an unpaid position as Associate of the Chancellor since 2015.

According to city councilwoman Stephanie Vander Pas, Hill made inappropriate comments to her, and at one point slid his hand up her skirt. Another female employee said that during a university-sponsored event, Hill repeatedly squeezed her knee and attempted to kiss her. All three women brought up other accounts of physical contact and comments by Hill.

Though Hill denied the allegations — even explaining the knee incident by saying that he had to move his female colleague’s leg to massage a cramp in his own leg — UW System President Ray Cross was not convinced.

“We have determined that the allegations have merit, and we are ending Mr. Hill’s unpaid academic staff appointment as Associate of the Chancellor, effective immediately,” said in a statement sent by Cross to Chancellor Kopper regarding her husband's actions.

Due to the personal relationship between Hill and Chancellor Kopper, however, the case is still being reviewed by the UW System to determine what, if any, responsibility Kopper has and if she should resign.

Councilwoman Vander Pas, one of the women who came forward about the harassment, mentioned in a Facebook post that Kopper should take some of the blame for her husband’s actions and implied she couldn’t have been unaware of what was going on.

According to UW-Whitewater spokesperson Sara Kuhl, Kopper does not intend to resign and continues to support the termination of her husband’s university position, despite the ongoing investigation.

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