Daily Bread for 10.8.21: Ex-student Stephanie Vander Pas sues for failure of UW-Whitewater to protect her and others from sexual harassment by former chancellor’s husband

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will see scattered showers with a high of 72.  Sunrise is 7:01 AM and sunset 6:22 PM for 11h 21m 22s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 5.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1871, fire destroys Peshtigo, Wisconsin:

Peshtigo, Wisconsin was devastated by a fire which took 1,200 lives. The fire caused over $2 million in damages and destroyed 1.25 million acres of forest. This was the greatest human loss due to fire in the history of the United States. The Peshtigo Fire was overshadowed by the Great Chicago fire which occurred on the same day, killing 250 people and lasting three days. While the Chicago fire is said to have started by a cow kicking over a lantern, it is uncertain how the Peshtigo fire began.

 Devi Shashtri reports Former student sues, saying UW-Whitewater failed to protect her and others from sexual harassment by former chancellor’s husband:

A former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student who said she was sexually harassed by the former chancellor’s husband has filed a lawsuit against the university system alleging UW-Whitewater violated her right to due process and protection from discrimination.

Stephanie Goettl Vander Pas is a former UW-Whitewater student and former Whitewater alderwoman. In 2018, she came forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Pete Hill, husband of then-Chancellor Beverly Kopper.

The lawsuit alleges UW-Whitewater officials were aware of Hill’s sexually abusive behavior against several women but failed to take timely action to stop it.


Vander Pas first spoke publicly about her experience in the wake of a September 2018 Journal Sentinel report that revealed Hill had been banned from campus after a sexual harassment investigation.

[More: UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband banned from campus after sexual harassment investigation]

[More: UW opens 3rd investigation into husband of UW-Whitewater chancellor after new allegations]

She is one of several women who have come forward with similar reports of harassment by Hill. Her 2018 allegation launched the third in a series of UW System investigations into Hill’s behavior. By then, two previous investigations were found to “have merit.”

See also the federal complaint (with a personal address redacted):

Download (PDF, 240KB)

The complaint and reporting speak plainly and powerfully for themselves, and so I will make no particular remarks today. Commentary follows, rather than precedes, events. There will be time enough to watch and comment on litigation over the misconduct enumerated in Ms. Vander Pas’s lawsuit.

A reminder, however, for any who should need one: reader comments at this site are carefully moderated. There will be no trolls or goblins who make their way through.

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2 years ago

Everything about what happened/how handled on campus/how handled by the system has been wrong.

2 years ago

[…] See also Ex-student Stephanie Vander Pas sues for failure of UW-Whitewater to protect her and others from sex…. […]

2 years ago

Very disappointed that the UW system did not take these complaints seriously when they arose. I hope the victims can recover and put these horrible experiences behind them.