Up to 10 students, staff harassed at UW-W: probe
MADISON (AP) — An investigation into the husband of former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper found that at least seven students or staff reported being sexually harassed by him, records released Friday showed.
Kopper resigned in December. Her husband, Alan “Pete” Hill, was banned from campus and stripped of his ceremonial, unpaid title of associate to the chancellor in June after an earlier investigation identified three women who said he harassed them.
The second investigation was opened in September amid more allegations and it was completed in December. The university released the 18-page investigative report and about 850 pages of attachments on Friday in response to an open records request from The Associated Press and other media outlets.
UW System spokesman Mark Pitsch said in a statement that after UW President Ray Cross was briefed on findings of the report in mid-December, he advised Kopper to resign.
“She did, and the report speaks for itself,” Pitsch said.
The report found no evidence that Kopper knew about or facilitated the actions of her husband, even though his behavior was “pervasive and well-known.” The report also said that a number of university employees took steps to protect one another from Hill.
“At best, this suggests that Hill’s behavior was a blindspot for the Chancellor,” the report said.
There was no definitive evidence that Kopper retaliated directly against anyone who made a report of sexual harassment against her husband, the report said. However, it also said she didn’t inquire about allegations “because she was wearing her Chancellor’s hat.”
The harassment occurred mainly on campus at university-related properties, including the chancellor’s residence during official events.
There were between seven and 10 women who claimed, either directly to investigators or to other witnesses who recounted the same information, that they were sexually harassed by Hill.
Hill’s attorney, Bob Kasieta, said in an email that Hill had not had time to study the report. Hill previously denied any wrongdoing.
Kopper became chancellor in 2015 and the first complaints against her husband were lodged in 2017. Investigators interviewed 28 people, including Kopper, for the report. Hill did not respond to a request to be interviewed by the investigators, which included a retired FBI agent and three attorneys.
Kopper is still receiving her chancellor salary of $242,760 while on administrative leave until she returns in the fall to teach psychology. Her salary will be reduced to $118,308 when she assumes her teaching duties.