Students’ Association President arrested, charged


SA President Nicholas Grote was sworn earlier this month.

Greta Goede and Jacob Boyko

Newly elected Students’ Association President Nicholas Grote said Tuesday he will not step down from his position after his arrest last weekend.

 Grote was arrested at 1:38 a.m. early Sunday morning on charges of possession of a fictitious license and underage purchase or possession of alcoholic beverages, according to an email from Brookings Police Department Detective Adam Smith sent to The Collegian. The arrest took place on the 300 block of 3rd Street at the 24-hour parking lot.

 Detective Smith told The Collegian Grote smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes.

 Grote was taken to the Brookings County Jail, where he was booked and charged. He was released after signing a promise to appear in court, Detective Smith said.

 Possession of a fictitious license is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which could result in one year in county jail, $2,000 in fines, or both.

 The Brookings County State’s Attorney posted a list of arrests from the weekend, including Grote’s, on Facebook Monday. The news was also spreading between students on the social media app Yik Yak, where users talked about his charges and speculated about what happened.

 Grote said many of the people he’s talked to since his arrest have been understanding.

 “I’ve talked to a lot of people and a lot of people … have expressed sympathy just because they’ve been in that situation before,” Grote said.

 Grote was stopped by Brookings police after he ran across the street to the 24-hour parking lot across from The Wild Hare in downtown Brookings. Grote said he does not think law enforcement had a good reason to stop him, and said that there is not enough evidence for his charges.

 “There’s no breathalyzer,” Grote said. “All there was, was just suspicion from smelling it on me.”

 Grote refused a breathalyzer test from the officer, and told The Collegian his blood was not tested.

 Grote had no comment on the fictitious identification charge.

 “I’m just like everybody, just like every other college student,” Grote said. “I really am just in this position to do the best I can for the students while still being a relatable student myself.”

 Grote served as a senator for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and ran last month for SA President for the 2023-2024 academic year. He and his vice president, Trinity Peterson, secured a 1212-783 vote victory over Hunter Eide and Carter Howell.

 According to the SA code of ethics, members of the Students’ Association must “perform duties in accordance with institutional, local, state and federal rules and law,” while Article V Section 1 subsection 7D of the SA bylaws states “violations of the Code of Ethics shall be grounds for removal from any elected or appointed positions within The Senate…”

 At the time of writing, it’s unclear whether Grote’s arrest and charges violate the Students’ Association code of conduct, or could be considered grounds for removal.

 The Collegian reached out to one of SA’s advisers, Vice President of Student Affairs Michaela Willis, for clarification. Willis did not have a comment.

 During the campaign for SA president, Grote focused heavily on Eide’s ethics violation complaint regarding conduct on the SA Finance Committee.  The complaint accused Eide of seven violations (codes 1, 2, 3, 9, 11, 12, 13) which include willfully contradicting “the needs or desires of students to serve self-interest,” and criticizing “a colleague before students.”

 Grote said during the debate last month: “We (The Students Association) have an entire list of things you do not violate when you are a senator. I’m sure, Hunter, you know, you violated five …  seven of those codes of ethics when talking about [vice presidential candidate Trinity 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.”

 Grote is scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m. May 15 . The Collegian plans to  continue following this story.