ASUO presidential candidate Thomas Tullis files a grievance against Ben Bowman
This story was co-written by Alex Wallachy.
Editor’s Note: Ben Bowman was the Emerald’s Opinion Editor earlier this year. He no longer works for the Emerald.
ASUO presidential candidate Thomas Tullis filed a grievance against fellow candidate Ben Bowman to the Elections Board on Monday afternoon. In the grievance, Tullis requests that Ben Bowman and his executive ticket become disqualified from the 2014 ASUO elections.
Tullis said in his grievance that Bowman and fellow members on his executive staff have been intimidating and attempting to bribe Tullis so that he can withdraw from the elections.
“I filed a grievance based on the intimidation that was coming from Bowman and some of his supporters,” Tullis said over a phone interview. “Me, my girlfriend, my fraternity and friends in my hall were being intimidated by them.”
ASUO Elections Board Coordinator MacGregor Ehlen said that the board is currently looking into the allegations and that it will have a meeting with Bowman and Tullis on Monday at 4 p.m.
“If true, these allegations are severe campaign violations and we’ll investigate this to the best of our abilities in order to make a fair decision,” Ehlen said.
Outside of Bowman being mentioned in the grievance as one of the people intimidating Tullis, Marshall Kosloff and Alex Titus, who are Bowman’s Greek co-coordinators for his campaign, were also cited.
In a recorded phone call between Kosloff and Tullis that was sent to the Emerald, Kosloff said that Tullis will be blacklisted from student organizations if he were to continue his campaign.
“You’re blacklisted. From Greek life, ASUO. People won’t want to work with you. It’ll just be bad — it’s not the way you want it to be,” Kosloff said in the recorded phone call. “Take the year. We will literally give you everything you want.”
In response to the phone call, Kosloff said that it wasn’t that Bowman and company would try and blacklist Tullis. It’s that Tullis would end up doing it to himself.
“The reality is that if no one likes you, then nobody will hire you,” Kosloff told the Emerald. “That’s what I mean in reference to him being blacklisted. During the phone call he was asking for advice, and I told him that it’s not that we would make him no longer relevant — he would do that himself by running a campaign with no slate.”
According to the grievance, Tullis also stated that Kosloff attempted to bribe him out of the election. Tullis said that the bribe from Kosloff and Bowman was that he would be offered an appointment on a finance committee if he were to withdraw.
“We will put you on the finance committee you want to be on,” Kosloff said in the phone call. “You’ll get the experience you need to get, you’ll learn everything you need to learn about the ASUO. Then you could run next year as the libertarian who actually knows what the fuck he’s talking about.”
When Tullis asked Kosloff if this was a bribe Kosloff stated that this was not, but that this is an offer that has always been on the table.
“This isn’t just some freshman that we picked up randomly on the street. We’ve been in contact with him since November and we’ve been offering him a position with us ever since then,” Kosloff told the Emerald. “There was never no bribing. The offer that we gave him has been the offer that we’ve been giving him since the very beginning in November.”
According to the filed grievance, Tullis said that Grayson McCormick, Tullis’ fraternity president for Delta Upsilon, asked Tullis to separate himself from the fraternity if he continued to run. That’s what the grievance reports, however Tullis later said that he didn’t feel pressured to leave.
“Grayson did make it clear that he did not want me to leave Delta Upsilon and that the fraternity would figure out a way to support me as a brother first and for most,” Tullis said. “I decided to leave on my own accord to protect my brothers.”
Tullis resigned from his fraternity on March 15, but in both his grievance and the recorded phone call, Tullis mentioned that he was concerned that his girlfriend — Emily Doyen — would not be able to rush at Gamma Phi Beta in the spring if he ran for president. According to Tullis, his girlfriend was told that she would not be allowed to rush if Tullis would still run.
“As far as my girlfriend rushing, as far as that goes can they block that on these grounds?” Tullis said in the phone call.
“Yes,” Kosloff said. “People are blacklisted all the time.”
Gamma Phi Beta denies any blacklisting.
“Gamma Phi Beta does not blacklist people, that’s not a thing.” Gamma Phi Beta President Nicole Kalagain said.
When asked about Doyen possibly being denied to rush Kosloff said that it wasn’t a threat, just a possible outcome.
“We never made a threat about his girlfriend and the possibility of her rushing,” Kosloff told the Emerald. “That isn’t something that the executive has any control over. To contextualize it, this is us saying that him running will hurt a lot of people. He’s the only one that controls what happens.”
In the grievance, Tullis requested that Bowman and his executive ticket, along with Senate Seat 12 candidate Emily Wu, be removed from the ticket. Wu currently sits on the ASUO Senate as the freshman representative. According to Tullis, Wu allegedly approached Delta Upsilon President McCormick and told him that Tullis was running a “smear” campaign against Bowman that would have implications on Delta Upsilon’s reputation.
Wu was unwilling to comment.
“I feel as though Bowman is responsible for the actions and his volunteers and the people who are on his slate,” Tullis said. “I was subject to a very hostile conversation with him, Kosloff and Titus, and I’m seeking that he gets the proper consequences for it.”
In response, Bowman said that he was not worried about being removed from the ballot.
“Every year dozens of ridiculous grievances get filed,” Bowman said. “I can’t see being removed from the ballot by any means. It’s an example of amateur politics.”
The ASUO Elections Board received the grievance and will be collecting statements and evidence from all parties involved.
“As it is finals week, please excuse us if we fail to make the 48 hour response deadline,” MacGregor Ehlen said in an email.
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