Probe: Up to 10 students, faculty report being harassed by former UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband
No evidence chancellor knew of harassment
WHITEWATER, Wis. — An investigation into the husband of former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper found that at least seven and up to 10 students or staff reported being sexually harassed by her husband.
Kopper resigned in December after her husband, Alan “Pete” Hill, had been banned from campus. The university released the 18-page investigative report and about 850 pages of attachments on Friday in response to an open records request.
In the report, investigators conclude there is credible evidence that Hill sexually harassed both employees and students, and that the incidents occurred mainly on campus or UWW-related properties like the chancellor’s home.
Investigators write that there’s no direct evidence Kopper knew of or facilitated Hill’s behavior, despite it being “pervasive and well-known.” They also say there’s no evidence Kopper interfered with the investigation or retaliated against women making claims.
However, investigators suggest that Kopper had a blind spot when it came to her husband’s actions, and “readily and uncritically accepted Hill’s denials.”
UW spokesman Mark Pitsch says in a statement that after President Ray Cross was briefed on findings of the report in mid-December, he advised Kopper to resign. Pitsch says, “She did, and the report speaks for itself.”
The University of Wisconsin’s full statement released Friday is here:
“When allegations of sexual misconduct were identified at UW-Whitewater, President Ray Cross immediately called for investigations and aggressively acted upon information. After he was briefed on the findings of this report, he counseled Chancellor Kopper to resign. She did, and the report speaks for itself.
“Under President Cross, the UW System has reinforced our national leadership role in combatting sexual misconduct by implementing practices to prevent sexual violence and harassment and instituting groundbreaking employment policy to prevent what is known as “pass the harasser.”
Interim Chancellor Cheryl Green also released a statement to students and the public saying she hopes as the university navigates the news, the campus community will focus on moving forward and the healing process.
“The release of these documents may cause concern and I understand this may be a difficult time for some of you,” Green wrote. “As our university navigates this situation, I hope we can focus our attention on moving forward and the healing process for all concerned.”
Green’s full statement is available on the UW-Whitewater website.
In response to a request for comment, student body president Tom Kind said that while his university has experienced many challenges in the past year, they are working to heal.
“I am encouraged that the people who make our university what it is will continue to serve our students to the best of their abilities,” Kind said. “We all should continue to support each other, reminding ourselves that It’s On Us to stand with survivors. It is my belief that as a university we will continue to move forward as the Warhawk Family.”
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