Chancellor Resigns Amid Investigation of Husband

Wisconsin Whitewater's leader will be gone by end of year.

December 18, 2018
 
Beverly Kopper and Pete Hill at her 2015 inauguration

Beverly Kopper, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, announced her resignation Monday amid allegations that she turned a blind eye when her husband sexually harassed female employees at the university.

In her campus announcement, Kopper did not say why she was resigning or mention the investigation by the University of Wisconsin System into the allegations against her husband. She did cite a request that she resign by the Board of Regents in her official resignation letter to Ray Cross, the University of Wisconsin System president, on Dec. 6.

“I am aware the Board of Regents would like different leadership for UW-Whitewater and thus I hereby render my resignation as chancellor effective December 31, 2018,” she wrote.

Cross accepted her resignation Monday.

“I have accepted Chancellor Beverly Kopper’s decision to resign,” he wrote in a brief public statement. “We appreciate her accomplishments during her time as Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.” Kopper had served as chancellor since 2015.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the newspaper that first reported the story, Kopper hadn’t been seen on campus since Wednesday and did not preside over the winter graduation ceremony Saturday. Instead, Susan Elrod, provost, filled her place.

Kopper had been under pressure to step down since reports broke that her husband, Pete Hill, sexually harassed female employees, sometimes during university functions held at the chancellor’s house. In September, Hill was removed from his honorary role as associate of the chancellor and banned from campus after a UW System investigation concluded that he sexually harassed female employees. At the time, Kopper addressed the investigation's findings and concurred with the UW System's decision to remove Hill from his role, but she gave no indication that she would step down.

In September, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the UW System took up another investigation into allegations from Stephanie Vander Pas, a Whitewater Common Council member, who claims Hill sexually harassed her when she was a student. In a Facebook post, which has since been deleted, Vander Pas claimed Kopper "should have known" about Hill's misconduct and called for her resignation. Kopper had previously told the Journal Sentinel that the allegations against her husband took her "completely by surprise."

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