Kopper Resigns, Whitewater Remains

One reads that Beverly Kopper, UW-Whitewater chancellor, has resigned her position effective 12.31.18.  Her resignation was generally expected for at least the last few weeks, and was, more importantly, necessary.  This was a public matter involving a spouse appointed to a public position accused of sexual harassment by at least five women while the appointing chancellor kept investigations into the spouse’s conduct (and later even his ban from campus) secret from the community despite knowing of multiple allegations against him.

There will be time enough to consider the process of selecting a successor.  That selection requires patient deliberation.

There is no happy moment in any of this. What shards of joy can one take from this day?  None whatever.

I was among those who called for her resignation, but this chancellor’s departure is not the heaviest matter before this city.  Those residents who were injured cruelly, and from whom others’ injuries were wrongly hidden, weigh heaviest on one’s mind.

One can (and should) hope that those injured find healing and well-being, and that this city’s residents shall not again endure injuries like this.

There are no certainties; one has only a true, determined hope.

Update, 6:30 PM: There is now a published account of the terms of a settlement with the UW System in which Kopper will be on leave through August at her former position’s salary, and thereafter have the option of becoming a faculty member in  UW-Whitewater’s Psychology Department. I’ve written repeatedly on this topic, but during these last two weeks, I have waited as these matters reached the point of a public announcement on resignation and terms (without snags, etc., that might delay a formal announcement).  The post title from earlier today also describes Kopper as resigning, as was clear for nearly two weeks, but not leaving (as that’s a future, not present, prospect).  (In Kopper’s actual one-sentence resignation letter, she writes that she’s rendering – making – her resignation, but the proper word is tendering – offering – a resignation.  Fortunately, either word suffices for relinquishing office.  She’s had challenges with word choice before.)

Settlements are not uncommon, so to speak, but settlements of this kind serve institutional – not complainants’ – needs.  They may produce important changes in leadership, but they do not redress – to the extent one can – the primary matter of individuals’ existing injuries.

Tomorrow: I’ll share a story about the limits of institutional parties’ bargaining, and how the future quickly proves different from parties’ immediate plans.

Previously:  Journal Sentinel: UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband banned from campus after sexual harassment investigationQuestions Concerning a Ban on the UW-Whitewater Chancellor’s Husband After a Sexual Harassment Investigation, Chancellor Kopper Should Resign, A fifth woman publicly accuses UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband of sexual harassment, The UW-Whitewater Chancellor’s Lack of Individual Regard, No Ordinary, Unconnected Spouse: Public officials’ use of family appointeesAn Example of Old Whitewater’s Deficient Reasoning, The Principle of Diversity Rests on Individual RightsAnother ‘Advisory Council’ Isn’t What Whitewater Needs, A Defense That’s Worse Than Nothing, and 0, 448, 476, 84.

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Stephanie Vander Pas
5 years ago

That is correct. There is no joy in this day—only a heavy, hard, awareness of reality.