College News

UW-Whitewater Chancellor resigns following husband’s sexual harassment investigations, hostile work environment claims

Following allegations of a hostile workplace environment and her husband’s sexual harassment investigations, UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper announced her resignation in a campus-wide email Monday.

Image By: UW-Whitewater/Heather Browning

Under pressure from the public, UW- Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper resigned at her post amid investigation of her husband's sexual harassment of female employees.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also discovered allegations she created a hostile work environment contributed to her decision.

In a campus-wide email, Kopper announced her resignation Monday morning, officiating claims that her chancellorship “would not survive” against the growing pressure ringing through campus since the end of last week.

She did not include reasons for her departure in the email; however, she lauded her greatest accomplishments while in her position. She noted a record year of fundraising and retention as well as her pride in students and staff. 

"Serving as your chancellor has been an honor and a privilege," she wrote. "I have devoted my life to teaching and learning and making a difference. That will never change."

She did not oversee winter commencement this past Saturday, and faculty said she was not seen on campus since Wednesday. In her absence, Provost Susan Elrond stepped in at graduation, as is customary for the provost to fill the shoes of the chancellor if they are unable to fulfill their duties. 

In September, a UW-spokesperson revealed that Kopper had no plans to resign at the time.

Throughout this semester, Kopper was pushed to resign due to the accumulating sexual harassment allegations of her husband Alan “Pete” Hill, who was banned from campus when three women revealed incidences of sexual harassment that occurred since 2015. 

UW System became involved because of the peculiar circumstances including Hill, due to his honorary title as Associate of the Chancellor, which he was stripped of earlier this year. 

After the system revealed they found “merit” to the allegations, legislators called for Kopper’s resignation. 

Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, originally brought forward concerns of her management style, although they were tangential from the sexual harassment investigations. However, he noted his concern for whether female employees who were potentially harassed by Hill were “afraid” to come forward since they may have “feared retribution” from Kopper. 

Earlier this month, Board of Regents met in a closed meeting to discuss their concerns of Kopper and UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow, who was reprimanded after inviting a porn star to campus to discuss female empowerment and consent. 

At the meeting, the announced a system-wide 3 percent biannual salary increase for faculty and staff. Gow and Kopper were the two chancellors who were denied a raise. 

Kopper assumed her position in 2015 after serving as the university's provost since 2010. 

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