Beverly Kopper presents her annual State of the University address in late August. (Tom Ganser photo)

By Cathy Kozlowicz

Correspondent

Before former Whitewater Common Council member Stephanie Goettl Vander Pas reported that the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater chancellor’s husband sexually assaulted her, she told student body president Tom Kind, who listened with surprise.

Kind, serving his second year as president, considers Beverly Kopper his mentor. She always was supportive of student issues and made time to listen to concerns.

But he said he also had questions like everyone else.

“The best reaction was to be silent and listen. Listening is how we work as leaders,” Kind said.

But without hesitation, he added, “I absolutely believe the survivors. They need to understand they are not alone. I don’t want them to be afraid. I am glad that people come forward. You have to make sure to believe their voice.”

Kopper announced her resignation as chancellor Monday morning in a campus email amid her husband Alan “Pete” Hill’s sexual assault allegations. Her last day in that role will be Dec. 31.

And questions were raised about sexual assault responsibility, reporting and safety.

Kind said that Kopper met with him and three other shared governance leaders at 9:30 a.m. before her resignation letter was sent out a little before 11.

“She was very honest, and I appreciate that,” he said.

UW System officials released a letter from President Ray Cross stating Kopper will return to a psychology faculty position and be placed on administrative leave until the fall semester begins.

State Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said in a statement that Kopper would get paid a prorated amount of $161,840 with full state benefits while on leave until August 2019. When classes begin, Nass said, she would get paid $118,308 over nine months until her contract ends in May 2020. Kopper’s current salary is $242,760, Nass said.

“Paying anyone $161,840 with full state benefits to do almost nothing for eight months is a taxpayer-funded scam,” Nass said.

Read the rest of this multi-faceted feature in the Dec. 20 Whitewater Register.

 
 

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