Assault Awareness & Prevention

0, 448, 476, 84

0 Number of published words from Chancellor Beverly Kopper in support of five complainants alleging sexual assault or harassment from her publicly appointed assistant-to-the-chancellor spouse. 448 Number of published words from Chancellor Beverly Kopper in reply to one remark from a single sportscaster during a single Packers preseason game. (It’s not that one shouldn’t reply…

A Defense That’s Worse Than Nothing

Retired UW-Whitewater professor Brian Kevin Beck contends that Kopper shouldn’t leave [the] Chancellor post. (Candidly, there’s a chance that his defense is so bad that it’s an intentional parody of a defense. It’s hard to believe anyone who served on a worthy faculty could reason so poorly.) Beck argues that (1) misconduct involving Kopper’s public…

Another ‘Advisory Council’ Isn’t What Whitewater Needs

Whitewater has a same-ten-people problem, derived from a few people living behind (metaphorically) a narrow and high perimeter fence, with those few often producing mediocre work, while the city’s economy stagnates. And yet, and yet – one reads that even during the third investigation for sexual harassment & assault concerning the relative she appointed, supervised,…

Act Utilitarianism Isn’t Merely a National Scourge

Trump justifies his treatment of Christine Blasey Ford by the outcome of the Kavanaugh hearings: “It doesn’t matter. We won.”

One wouldn’t have to go to Washington, or wait for Trump to speak, to find this sort of act utilitarianism. Long before Trump’s 2016 campaign, officials and self-described community leaders in small towns across America shared a similar calculus. For the sake of some imagined overall gain, individual injuries and injustices have been swept aside.

And so, and so — officials justify financial and personal injuries to individuals on behalf of the supposed greater good of being ‘community-minded,’ of defending the ‘university family,’ or some such collective claim.

Trump’s act utilitarianism did not begin with Trump: it grew in cities and towns in which factions decided they’d take what they want, and conveniently sweep aside others by use of nebulous ‘community’ principles. (In the video above, Trump betrays his amorality early on, as he shrugs his shoulders when part of Christine Blasey Ford’s injury is recounted to him.)

In most of these cases of supposed collective gain, of course, it turns out to be a particular politician, particular businessman, or particular university official who reaps the most at the expense of ordinary individuals, but these community leaders would prefer one didn’t look too closely into that selfish benefit, thank you kindly.

Whether a highly-placed person’s selfish gain, or community’s supposed overall gain, the disregard for individual rights reveals a dark, calculating amorality.

Resolution & Defiance

Historian Blair L.M. Kelley describes What Civil Rights History Can Teach Kavanaugh’s Critics:

People watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony on monitors in an overflow room in the Dirksen Senate Building during Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings last month. Credit Damon Winter/New York Times

But in the end, these turn-of-the-20th-century African-American activists [in Richmond and dozens of other southern cities in 1904] could not stop Jim Crow’s advance. Their suits, sit-ins, letter-writing campaigns, boycotts, marches and impassioned pleas to lawmakers failed to make a difference when legislators were determined to segregate no matter the costs. Segregation or exclusion became the law of the land in the American South, and remained so for many years, separating black and white Southerners not only on trains and streetcars but also in schools, neighborhoods, libraries, parks and pools.

Progressives, liberals and sexual assault survivors and all those who desire a more just and decent America and who feel they lost when Kavanaugh was confirmed despite their protest should remember Mitchell, Plessy, Walker and Wells, along with Elizabeth Jennings, James Pennington, Lola Houck, Louis A. Martinet, Rodolphe Desdunes, P.B.S. Pinchback, W.E.B. DuBois, Mary Church Terrell, J. Max Barber and many others, including those whose names we do not know. All of these men and women were on the side of justice and lost. None of these people, who fought for full and equal public access as free citizens on trains and streetcars, stopped fighting. None abandoned what they knew was right. They all tried again. Most would not live to see things made right, but they continued.

Those who see Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a lost battle in the larger war for gender equality and dignity for women — and sexual assault survivors, specifically — should emulate the activists of generations past. They should keep organizing, connect with like-minded people, volunteer for organizations that advocate for survivors, consider running for office, and work on the campaigns of those they believe in. A week after his confirmation, a reminder is in order: Movements are about more than moments; they are about thoughtful networks of dissent built over time.

My scholarship has taught me that activism requires a certain resilience, and the willingness to be long-suffering in pursuit of the cause. I hope people remember this. I hope they keep going.




An Example of Old Whitewater’s Deficient Reasoning

Old Whitewater – a state of mind rather than a person or a person’s age – seldom speaks except to reveal its deficient reasoning (and to reveal, in fact, that it doesn’t even know what good reasoning might look like).  Before going further, a reminder: FREE WHITEWATER is the work of one person, writing without…

No Ordinary, Unconnected Spouse: Public officials’ use of family appointees

Imagine a world where public officials appointed spouses to high-visibility positions in the very same workplace, over which they had supervisory authority, but then disclaimed any responsibility over those appointees when they committed acts of assault and harassment (“that wasn’t me, that was my spouse, brother, sister, or cousin,” etc.). They’ll rely on their own…

The UW-Whitewater Chancellor’s Lack of Individual Regard

After – and only after – the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broke the story of repeated sexual harassment claims against Pete Hill – appointed to a public role as ‘associate of the chancellor’ (and chancellor Beverly Kopper’s husband) – did Kopper herself make a public statement of the matter. Kopper’s statement is notable for its utter lack…

A fifth woman publicly accuses UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband of sexual harassment

In a story from the Chronicle for Higher Education, a fifth woman, Hailey Miller, reveals her own experience with harassment from Pete Hill, who held the position of associate to the chancellor (while also UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper’s husband). Miller’s account to the Chronicle, backed by contemporaneous notes she shared with that publication, is similar in…

Chancellor Kopper Should Resign

A few hours ago, the Janesville Gazette published portions of an open letter from Whitewater City Councilwoman Stephanie Vander Pas describing harassment that she experienced from Pete Hill, husband of UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper, while Kopper was nearby. See Whitewater council member: UW-Whitewater chancellor should resign after her husband’s sexual harassment. Reading her remarks, along…

Questions Concerning a Ban on the UW-Whitewater Chancellor’s Husband After a Sexual Harassment Investigation

On Friday, this site linked to a published article in the Journal Sentinel about a campus ban against UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper’s husband after a UW System investigation found that he had committed acts of sexual harassment against campus employees. See Journal Sentinel: UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband banned from campus after sexual harassment investigation and the original story. …

Journal Sentinel: UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband banned from campus after sexual harassment investigation

Updated 9.14.18 @ 3:25 PM with public records now available as provided to the Journal Sentinel – see embedded documents below.  Karen Herzog of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband banned from campus after sexual harassment investigation: The husband of University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper has been banned from campus and stripped of…