Chancellor's Husband Banned From Campus Events

The husband of the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater chancellor was removed from his advisory position and banned from campus events after sexual harassment allegations against him were determined to have merit.

September 17, 2018
 
Beverly Kopper and Pete Hill at her 2015 inauguration

Pete Hill, associate to the chancellor at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, was removed from his position after an internal investigation determined that sexual harassment allegations against him were credible. Hill is the husband of Beverly Kopper, university chancellor, and served alongside her in an unpaid, advisory role for the university. Kopper addressed his removal on Friday in a message to the campus.

"Although we typically do not discuss personnel issues publicly, I feel it is important to make this one exception and I have UW System's permission to do so," she wrote. Ray Cross, university system president, wrote Kopper to say that he had decided to end Hill's honorary appointment immediately and that Hill will be restricted from attending any UW-Whitewater events, including those held in his own home. Cross wrote that "the purpose of these restrictions is to make sure that Mr. Hill does not have contact with UW-Whitewater employees."

Kopper said that she supported the system's decision.

"As you can imagine, this is a challenging and unique set of circumstances for me as a wife, as a woman, and as your chancellor," she wrote. "As your chancellor, I have worked diligently to ensure each of you has the supportive environment you need and deserve in which to do your amazing work."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported the news after obtaining documents from the investigation. According to the Journal Sentinel, three women came forward with allegations against Hill. Hill was found not responsible after the first complaint, but directed to take a training course on how to avoid sexual harassment. An outside investigator heard the second and third complaints and determined that Hill's behavior was "unlikely" to change.

In one incident, an employee was seated between Hill and Kopper during a dinner, and Hill repeatedly put his hand on the employee's knee. That same employee did not report unwanted hugging or kissing incidents she said she experienced in 2015 for fear that she would lose her job. On another occasion, Hill put his hand on an employee's lower back and whispered a comment about her appearance.

A student worker who filed a complaint against Hill reported that he would rub students' shoulders and make comments about their appearance. The student co-worker first reported the problem to a supervisor who confronted Hill, but little changed as a result.

Hill denies any wrongdoing, according to the documents obtained by the Journal Sentinel.

UW-Whitewater did not respond to a request for comment.

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