Regular readers of our Milwaukee employment law blog undoubtedly recall that in our previous blog post, we touched on the scandal unfolding at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Five women have come forward to publicly accuse the husband of Chancellor Beverly Kopper of sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact.
Three of those accusing Pete Hill are former or current university employees and two are former students, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Hill used to hold an unpaid, ceremonial position that enabled him to attend many fundraising events and athletic and alumni functions. That title was stripped from him in June; he was also barred from campus and school activities.
The disciplinary action against Hill was after an independent investigator reported that previous sexual harassment complaints had “merit.”
One employee said Hill sexually harassed her in 2015, but she kept quiet fearing that he would lie about her and that his wife, the chancellor, would believe him. The investigator reported that several other women said they feared retribution if they complained about Hill’s sexually suggestive remarks.
The latest accuser to come forward worked as an assistant in the chancellor’s office while she pursued a master’s degree in higher education, the Journal Sentinel reports.
She said Hill began hugging her every time they met, which made her so uncomfortable that she began documenting the encounters. She made note of a July 2016 occurrence in which Hill hugged her, kissed her neck and then “he slapped my lower back.”
She said she did not initially report his behavior because she feared negative repercussions in her job and academic pursuits.
We don’t know how all of this will be resolved, but our law office stands with those who come forward to stop sexual harassment in the workplace.