Ex-UW-Whitewater chancellor on paid leave again

{child_byline}By Gazette staff

Adams Publishing Group


WHITEWATER — Former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper is not teaching psychology courses on campus this fall as planned and instead is on paid leave, a university spokesman said Tuesday.

Kopper resigned as chancellor Dec. 31, 2018, months after her husband, Alan “Pete” Hill, was banned from campus in the wake of repeated claims of sexual harassment.

In response to questions from The Gazette, Jeff Angileri, assistant director of marketing and communications, wrote in an email Tuesday: “Beverly Kopper was scheduled to teach four courses during the fall 2019 semester, all of which have been reassigned to other UW-Whitewater faculty and are commencing as scheduled. Her leave is paid.”

In an earlier email, Angileri wrote, “Because this is a personnel matter, I cannot comment any further.”

Angileri did not answer questions about when students were notified Kopper would not be teaching, when Kopper’s leave went into effect and if Kopper had requested the leave.

The UW-Whitewater course listing for the fall 2019 semester did not list Kopper as teaching any courses.

In an Aug. 19 interview, new Chancellor Dwight Watson talked about how he would manage the dynamic of Kopper returning to work at the university.

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

The sexual harassment claims against Hill, which investigators found had validity, were not made public until Sept. 14, nearly three months after Hill was banned from campus, The Gazette reported.

After the scandal involving Hill and Kopper’s subsequent resignation, Kopper was paid a chancellor’s salary while on leave between January and August, according to an agreement with the UW System released late last year.

She was scheduled to take a pay cut over the next nine months for her work as a psychology professor, although her teaching salary of $119,000 was more than 50 percent more than the UW-Whitewater Psychology Department chairwoman, The Gazette reported.

Kopper had less than a year to gear up for teaching psychology after spending several years as chancellor.

According to an April 2019 university investigative report, there was no direct evidence that Kopper had been aware of Hill’s repeated harassment of employees and students, and Hill has denied the allegations.

The same investigative report concluded there was no direct evidence Kopper retaliated against those who made allegations against Hill.

However, the report included claims by witnesses that questioned Kopper’s leadership ability and her temperament as chancellor.

In a written response, Kopper said she stayed out of the investigations of her husband to avoid the appearance that she was interfering. She wrote that the April 2019 report was “rampant with speculation” and went outside the boundaries of investigating accusations that Hill sexually harassed people.

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