Tensions high at SA presidential debate


Jacob Boyko, News Editor

Candidates for Students’ Association president and vice president had one final chance Monday to make an appeal to students before the contentious election season wraps up Thursday.

Hunter Eide, junior human biology major and his running mate, Carter Howell, took on business economics major Nick Grote and his running mate, ag education and political science major Trinity Peterson.  

During the debate, Grote took shots at Eide for an ethics complaint earlier this month. The complaint accused Eide of code of ethics violations at an SA Finance Committee meeting. The SA Board of Directors found Eide in violation of seven codes (1, 2, 3, 9, 11, 12, 13), resulting in Eide’s resignation from the committee. The violations include Eide not maintaining confidentiality of personal and professional information acquired about colleagues in the course of service, discussing professional matters in an unprofessional manner, using coercive or threatening means in order to influence professional decisions of colleagues, willfully contradicting the needs or desires of students to serve self-interest and criticizing a colleague before students. 

The candidates were asked by a member of the audience if their administrations would provide “strict standards relating to how presidential candidates conduct themselves when speaking to the public.”

Eide responded first.

“We believe it’s important to truly have clear communication about what’s going on and we believe in the importance of transparency,” Eide said. “As students, we deserve to know what’s going on behind those closed doors … The general activity fee is something we all pay … by the time we’re done with all four years of college it’s $6,000 … So making sure your general activity fee is [being spent] in the best way possible, making sure that each candidate has truly clear communication about what’s going on and full knowledge about what the candidate is about.”

Howell said there already is a code of ethics in place and candidates should continue to adhere to that. 

“Obviously when a misstep is taken, action has to be taken on the other side,” Howell said. “Obviously that’s something we completely agree with and respect and continue to uphold. Everybody makes mistakes and it’s important to get a second chance and render those mistakes resolved.”

Grote called out Eide directly for the code of ethics violation in his response. 

“We have an entire list of things you do not violate when you are a senator,” Grote said. “I’m sure, Hunter, you know, you violated five …  seven of those codes of ethics when talking about [Peterson or myself]. That is something that we will not tolerate in any way, shape or form. That is grounds for removal and that can be really, really bad.” 

The SA election begins Wednesday at 8 a.m. and wraps up Thursday at 5 p.m.

Students can vote by going to  saelection.sdstate.edu.