Alderwoman demands UWW chancellor resign over husband’s conduct

WHITEWATER — An alderwoman says University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper's husband groped her, and that Kopper should resign because she either knows or should know that her husband sexually harasses women.

Beverly Kopper, Pete Hill courtesy: UW-Whitewater

UW System President Ray Cross in June banned Kopper's husband, Pete Hill, from campus in response to allegations that Hill had sexually harassed several women dating back to 2015. The president also stripped Hill of his job as associate to the chancellor, an unpaid position.

Hill has denied any wrongdoing.

University spokeswoman Sara Kuhl told the Wisconsin State Journal newspaper for a story Tuesday that Kopper has no intention of resigning.

Beverly Kopper, Pete Hill courtesy: UW-Whitewater

"I don't think she should because she emailed us and was really responsible about what happened -- emailed us that 'by now, everyone knows what happened and we're taking care of it,' so I trust she's going to take care of it," said Kelsey Blaise, student.

UW-Whitewater spokesman Jeffrey Angileri didn't immediately reply to emails Tuesday inquiring about how to reach Hill or his attorney, or whether Kopper had any comment.

Whitewater Alderwoman Stephanie Goettl Vander Pas posted a lengthy letter to Kopper on Facebook on Sunday. The alderwoman said she met Kopper when she was 19 and that their association led to her attending parties and dinners. At one such event — Vander Pas doesn't say when or where — a girl took Vander Pas aside and warned her to be careful of Hill because he "didn't keep his hands to himself."

Beverly Kopper, Pete Hill courtesy: UW-Whitewater

One night, Hill told Vander Pas' now-husband that Vander Pas was with the wrong man, everyone knew the husband-to-be was in love with someone else and plenty of other men would like a chance with Vander Pas.

"I hope you understand that you put him in those rooms with me, your position gave him access, and my alma mater made me a target," Vander Pas wrote.

During one encounter with Hill, she said he slid his hand up her skirt, down her back, down her skirt "and then to a place I can still feel that hand," she wrote.

"I felt guilty for wearing a skirt, like city council members should know better," she wrote.

She doesn't say where or when this encounter took place.

She demanded that Kopper step down, accusing the chancellor of knowing who and what Hill is.

"I refuse to hold you harmless for my pain and the pain of others — because you put us in his path — and you either knew or were irresponsible enough not to know. For that, we deserve better," Vander Pas wrote.

She did not immediately reply to an email Tuesday seeking more details. An automated greeting said her voicemail was not available. Her letter was removed from Facebook Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, Senator Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges, issued this statement:

"I have been concerned for some time regarding the administration of Chancellor Beverly Kopper. On at least two occasions, I have shared with President Ray Cross issues regarding the management style of the Chancellor and the negative sentiments this style has caused with faculty, staff, students, community members and alums.

Now, the stunning allegations leveled in a UW System report regarding the Chancellor's husband, Alan "Pete" Hill and his repeated inappropriate treatment of women. The situation at UW-Whitewater has become intolerable.

UW-Whitewater faces some very serious challenges in healing from the Hill allegations, with enrollment and developing a sustainable plan for its mission moving forward. At this moment in time, I can see no positive future for UW-Whitewater under the leadership of Chancellor Kopper."

A UW System spokeswoman issued this statement:

“Given the University of Wisconsin System’s unwavering commitment to provide a safe educational and work environment, we are opening a new investigation into the most recent allegations related to UW-Whitewater.”