Obtained audio recording documents conversation between ASUO presidential candidates Thomas Tullis and Ben Bowman
Editor’s Note: Ben Bowman was the Emerald’s opinion editor until the end of winter term of this year. He no longer works for the Emerald.
Update: ASUO presidential candidate Thomas Tullis was arrested Sunday by UOPD at 11:07 a.m for illegally obtaining communications by violating ORS 165.540.
An anonymous audio recording sent to the Emerald provides the transcript for a dorm room conversation that was mentioned in a grievance filed by ASUO presidential candidate Thomas Tullis against Mighty Oregon presidential candidate Ben Bowman. According to the grievance, the conversation took place on March 12, around 9 p.m.
During the 70-minute recording, Bowman, Marshall Kosloff and Alex Titus were invited into Tullis’ room where they discussed the 2014 ASUO elections.
Throughout the conversation, Bowman, Kosloff and Titus repeatedly mentioned that it would be impossible for Tullis to win the election and attempted to dissuade him from following through with his campaign.
“Fact number one: you can’t win. Like, literally cannot win. Like, mathematically it’s impossible for you to find a way to win,” Kosloff said in the recording.
Tullis goes on to say that he believes a third-party candidate is necessary and ended the conversation by requesting time to consider whether or not to pull out of the election.
“I hear your guys’ concerns, and they do resonate with me and I understand your guys’ concerns, and you’ve voiced yourselves well,” Tullis said. “So, I’m obviously not going to make some impulse decision based off this conversation.”
Throughout the conversation there are multiple references to third parties not present in the room. Masturbation is used as a metaphor to illustrate the impact those third parties have on the ASUO process.
Former ASUO Sen. Lindy Mabuya was briefly referred to in that context.
“Power hungry people do desperate things. It’s clear from the conversation that they didn’t want Thomas Tullis to run,” Mabuya said in response to the recording. “I don’t want to say that they are bad people, but obviously they aren’t good people.”
In reference to a similarly connotated statement regarding the Lane Transit District, LTD Director of Customer Services Andy Vobora stressed the willingness of the organization to work with the ASUO while negotiating student transport.
“If (the statement) is in reference to the budget process we participate in with Athletics Contracts Finance Committee, I can assure you I am the only person in the room and I am not an attorney,” Vobora said. ” I would add that the LTD has around 90 group bus pass programs and that all of them pay the same price. As far as the ASUO contract, LTD has a history of making accommodations and lowering the price based upon the needs ASUO has expressed. This year LTD increased the rate 5.8 percent for all programs except ASUO. LTD agreed to a 1.5 percent increase for the coming school year. The price charged by LTD is one of, if not, the lowest university pass prices in the nation and it isn’t even close to what is levied by these other institutions. All of which I share with the ACFC each year during our discussions.”
In the conversation, presidential candidate Beatriz Gutierrez and her campaign were brought up in an effort to dissuade Tullis from running.
“I’m not surprised, because I have been approached by other people who are being told similar things,” Gutierrez wrote in an email interview. “I believe they are attempting to slander my name to make themselves look like they are an honest campaign, but it goes to show how desperate they are to win. I don’t agree with what they said — my experiences as a woman of color have made me outspoken about racism and sexism and I don’t personally have a problem with Greek life. My executive will be open to anyone who wants to work for students and I know Greek life does good leadership development. I look forward to having strong leaders from different parts of campus on my executive.”
The Emerald also attempted to contact those present for the conversation. Bowman, Titus and Tullis offered no comment.
“I am aware of the fact that there is a recording and cannot comment beyond that because of an ongoing police investigation,” Kosloff said.
University of Oregon Police Department spokesman Kelly McIver said that he was vaguely aware that UOPD had been contacted about the recording, but was unsure whether or not an investigation was underway. He added that it is generally against state law to record a conversation without the knowledge of both parties.
“That said, I don’t know the details about this particular situation and what the conditions where, when the recording was made, nor do I know at this time if indeed that’s the subject of an investigation,” McIver said.
The law McIver is referencing is ORS 165.540 which states that a person may not “Obtain the whole or any part of a conversation, telecommunication or radio communication from any person, while knowing or having good reason to believe that the conversation, telecommunication or radio communication was initially obtained in a manner prohibited by this section.”
Aran Schwoebel, the roommate whom Tullis acknowledges early in the recording, could not be reached for comment.
Craig Garcia and Alexandra Wallachy contributed to this report.
Interested in more information about the ASUO 2014 elections? View all of our coverage here.
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