MADISON, Wis. — University of Wisconsin System officials on Friday reinstated UW-Whitewater Chancellor Dwight Watson after finding that sexual misconduct allegations against him were unsubstantiated.
System officials placed Watson on paid leave on Sept. 3 pending the outcome of an investigation into an unspecified complaint. They released documents Friday that show a former student who was living with Watson accused him of sexual abuse.
Watson met the man in 2014 while he was a dean at the University of Northern Iowa and the man was a student there. After the man graduated, Watson invited him, his son and his son's mother to live with him. The next year, the man told UNI officials that Watson had sexually harassed him.
UNI officials determined that Watson didn't violate the university's sexual misconduct policies. The next day, Watson was offered a job as provost at Southwest Minnesota State University.
In 2019 the man was released from prison and Watson invited him to live with him in Marshall, Minnesota. That same month, Watson and the man moved to Whitewater, and Watson took over as UW-Whitewater chancellor a few weeks later.
The man moved out of Watson's Whitewater home in August. In a Sept. 1 Facebook post, he renewed his accusations that Watson sexually harassed him at UNI and had "crossed boundaries" with SMSU students.
Watson told investigators that he invited the man to live with him to give him a stable home. A number of UW System officials were aware that the man was living with him, including then-system President Ray Cross and various UW-Whitewater officials, according to the documents.
Cross told investigators that he didn't get the impression that Watson and the man had a sexual relationship and he cautioned him not take on more than he could handle. Shenita Brokenburr, a UW System Administration senior associate vice president, said Watson told her in 2019 that the man was living with him, their relationship was non-sexual and the man had become unstable because he wasn't taking his medication and he was afraid that the man would accuse him of sexual misconduct.
UNI officials confirmed to UW investigators that Watson did not violate any sexual misconduct policies. SMSU officials as well as officials at UW-Eau Claire and Hamline University, where Watson has also worked, reported no record of any sexual misconduct claims against him.
Watson will return to work on Monday.