Husband of UW-Whitewater chancellor accused of sexual harassment, banned from campus

WHITEWATER -- The husband of the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has been banned from campus in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against him. That is according to an email from Chancellor Beverly Kopper to the campus community.

Kopper said the harassment allegations were made against the Associate to the Chancellor, Pete Hill. A UW System investigation was conducted and determined the allegations had merit. Kopper said as a result, the UW System ended Hill's unpaid appointment -- and issued the restrictions against Hill.

Beverly Kopper, Pete Hill courtesy: UW-Whitewater

In documents released by the university, allegations against Hill date back to 2015.

Beverly Kopper, Pete Hill courtesy: UW-Whitewater

Among the claims, one woman says Hill squeezed her knee under a table and tablecloth with his wife just feet away.

Another claim says Hill, leaned in "for what she thought was going to be a kiss on the mouth." She turned, landing it on her cheek.

In a third incident, a woman says Hill gave her a full-body frontal hug she thought lasted too long.

Hill has denied any wrongdoing, leading to a scathing report from a university investigator who writes, "Mr. Hill did not express any remorse or take any responsibility for inappropriate treatment of a female colleague."

Beverly Kopper, Pete Hill courtesy: UW-Whitewater

The UW-System revoked Hill's unpaid positions, banned him from UW-Whitewater events, campus and the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Rock County.

"I'm shocked," said Grace Rusch, UW-Whitewater junior.

Many students learned the news in an email released by their chancellor.

"You think something like that wouldn't really happen," said Jacob Bailey, UW-Whitewater freshman.

Kopper says she supports the UW System's decision and put it into effect immediately.

"If he is doing all that stuff to other people, I feel like this is an appropriate punishment," said Kristina Burmeister, student.

It's a move backed by students whose thoughts are with victims and their campus leader.

"I felt bad because she is such a sweet lady," said Rusch.

In a response to the UW System investigation, Hill wrote, "I have never sexually harassed or created an unprofessional atmosphere..." Hill goes on to say, "It would not serve any of us well for me to provide a full set of rebuttals to the report at this time, but I can assure you there are many."

Hill says he nevertheless is complying with report's recommendations to support his wife and the university.

Kopper said in a statement to the campus community, "I supported this decision and put it into effect immediately."

Kopper's complete statement reads as follows:

"Dear Campus Colleagues,

"I want to share with you a difficult situation for me personally and professionally. The UW System completed, and has now released an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations made against the Associate of the Chancellor, Pete Hill, who is my husband. Although we typically do not discuss personnel issues publicly, I feel it is important to make this one exception and I have the UW System's permission to do so.

"I fully supported and cooperated with UW System's investigation. It was determined that the allegations had merit. UW System has ended my husband's unpaid appointment as Associate to the Chancellor and restrict him from attending UW-Whitewater events. I supported this decision and put it into effect immediately.

"As Chancellor, my top priority has always been and will continue to be ensuring that UW-Whitewater is a welcoming campus for all and that students, faculty and staff have a positive and safe environment in which to learn, live and work.

"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. 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.

"I remain deeply committed to serving you and continuing the work of our University to provide our students with an education that is truly transformational and to make a difference in our communities, the state, nation and the world."