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Alleged harassment victim says UW-Whitewater chancellor shares blame, should resign

September 18, 2018

A Whitewater City Council member has come forward as one of the women allegedly sexually harassed by Alan “Pete” Hill, the husband of UW-Whitewater’s chancellor.

In a Facebook post published Sunday and first reported by the Janesville Gazette, councilwoman Stephanie Vander Pas suggested Chancellor Beverly Kopper shares some of the blame for exposing students to her husband’s alleged actions and called on her to resign.

“I do believe I know the content of my husband’s character — and I believe you do, too,” she wrote. “I believe you know and understand who he is and what he’s done.”

On Friday, Kopper sent a statement to the campus minutes after the University of Wisconsin System released records to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that showed an investigation found “merit” to allegations Hill sexually harassed women.

UW System president Ray Cross banned Hill from campus and ended his appointment as an unpaid associate to the chancellor this summer.

Hill, through his attorney, denied any wrongdoing, records show.

“I unequivocally state that I have never sexually harassed or created an unprofessional work atmosphere,” Hill wrote in an email included in the records provided to the Journal Sentinel.

Vander Pas, who did not return an email Monday seeking comment, said in the post that she admired Kopper for serving in a position of power usually reserved for men. She recalled meeting Hill and receiving a warning from another woman who pulled her aside and told her “to be careful of him because he didn’t keep his hands to himself.”

She said Hill made inappropriate comments about her body and weight loss and described an incident of inappropriate touching.

“His hand slid up my skirt before I knew what to do,” she wrote. “He ran it down my back, down the shiny black of my skirt, then to a place I can still feel that hand. I felt guilty for wearing a skirt, like city council members should know better.”

Vander Pas serves the city’s fifth district.

Kopper did not respond to the State Journal’s request for comment. But UW-Whitewater spokeswoman Sara Kuhl reiterated the chancellor’s response when the issue first surfaced publicly last week.

“As Chancellor Kopper shared in her message to campus on Friday, she remains deeply committed to serving (the) campus 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,” Kuhl said.

Kuhl said Kopper has no intention of resigning.

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