The University Police Department is currently investigating the source of a $1,500 telephone bill tied to unauthorized use of a University phone code. The Multicultural Student Services Center filed a report in April that one of its telephone codes had been used to make long distance calls.
UPD’s examination of the case connected at least some of the phone calls to former Student Association President Phil Robinson, but no charges will be pressed, officials said. The calls date back to January 2001, and continue until April 2003.
In an official UPD statement, UPD Chief Dolores Stafford said the calls were traced to phone extensions from the MSSC, Student Association and Robinson’s residence hall.
“When Robinson was questioned about his use of this access code he acknowledged that he had used this code and stated that he thought this belonged to the Student Association,” Stafford said. “He stated that he believed he had acquired the code during his transition into the SA.”
According to sources familiar with the SA, the phone code has been passed down among top SA officers for the past few years. The source said using the code was a not taken seriously because no one knew where it came from, or why the SA never had to pay the bills for it. The source said he suspected this is the same PIN number as the one UPD is tying to Robinson.
Robinson declined to comment on the matter.
Justin Oshana, former vice president for Judicial and Legislative Affairs under Robinson, confirmed that the SA has had such a phone code in its possession for several years. He said Robinson was probably not the only officer to use it, but he does not know who else has made calls with it.
Current SA President Kris Hart said he was not notified of such a code when he took office this spring.
The case was sent to Student Judicial Services for review and decided that the SA could pay for any calls determined to be business-related, Hart said. Robinson would then reimburse the University for the calls that he made, Oshana said. He noted that Robinson paid for the calls for which he was responsible last week.
Director of Student Judicial Services Rebecca Sawyer said SJS was “not necessarily involved” in the phone code investigation.
Hart said UPD and SJS are currently investigating the remaining calls to determine who must pay the rest of the bill. He said SJS wanted the SA to cover the bill for SA-related calls.
Stafford said Robinson has reimbursed the University for his unauthorized phone calls. Oshana agreed that the situation has been settled.
“I got a call from (SJS) requesting a check for $780 to pay for Phil’s calls,” Hart said. “But I said that I’m not going to pay anything until I see (the calls) were for official business.”
Hart said he intends to prevent a situation like this from reoccurring in the future. Last week he requested to cancel all phone codes connected to the SA in case any more unknown codes exist, he said. He added that he will only activate two PIN numbers for his officers and himself to use.
Hart said he does not want the situation to reflect poorly upon the SA.
“It’s not an SA issue,” he said. “It strictly deals with Phil Robinson.”