College News

Former UW-Whitewater chancellor granted paid leave for unknown reasons

Former UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper, who resigned following sexual harassment allegations against her husband, is on paid leave instead of teaching classes this fall as planned. 

Image By: UW-Whitewater/Heather Browning

Former UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper is on paid leave instead of teaching psychology courses this semester as planned, The Gazette Xtra reported Wednesday.

Kopper’s Dec. 31 resignation from the chancellor position occurred months after her husband, Alan “Pete” Hill, was barred from campus following sexual harassment allegations. 

As part of her exit agreement, Kopper was granted a position as a tenured professor starting this fall, making 75% more than the average psychology faculty member.

However, Kopper’s four classes for the fall 2019 semester have now been reassigned to other UW-Whitewater faculty.

Officials haven’t clarified the nature of Kopper’s leave. UW-Whitewater spokesperson Jeff Angileri and UW System spokesperson Mark Pitsch only said that the leave was “granted” and it was a personal matter, according to the Wisconsin State Journal

New Chancellor Dwight Watson spoke of Kopper working on campus again as recently as Aug. 19 in an interview with The Gazette, where he expressed support.

“When it comes to the chancellor working here at the institution, she has tenure within the psychology department,” Watson said. “It’s a part of her contracted right to teach within her tenured department. And I’m glad she’s on board.”

In January, Kopper submitted a work proposal to UW System President Ray Cross stating that until the fall semester began she would be developing class syllabi and assignments, as well as getting up-to-date on necessary teaching technologies since she hasn’t taught in a classroom in over 10 years, the State Journal reported. 

However, UW-Whitewater didn’t list Kopper as a professor for any courses during class registration for fall 2019 in the spring, according to the State Journal

At the time, Angileri told the State Journal that it wasn’t out of the ordinary for instructor names to be added as students continue to enroll.

State Senator Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, described Kopper’s paid leave a “taxpayer-funded scam” in the days after she announced her resignation. Nass’ chief of staff, Mike Mikalsen, told the State Journal Wednesday that this latest development was proof Nass was right about the situation being a “non-settlement settlement.” 

“Taxpayers and students paying tuition are left paying for someone to do nothing for a potentially long period of time,” Mikalsen said.

A UW System investigation found no evidence that Kopper knew of her husband’s behavior. However, she also did not question him before the allegations became public, leading the investigators to call Hill’s behavior a “blind spot” for Kopper.

Kopper called the investigation’s results “rampant with speculation” and “no more than a preconceived conclusion in search of supporting evidence” in a response a few days later. 

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