Peterson to become SA president


SA President Trinity Peterson

Jacob Boyko and Greta Goede

Embattled Students’ Association President Nicholas Grote resigned Thursday in a letter to senators, putting an end to a tumultuous month-long presidency. 

“I am proud of the accomplishments we have achieved during my time as president, and I am confident that the association will continue to thrive with the exceptional team in place,” Grote wrote. 

Trinity Peterson, Grote’s vice president, is acting president of SA and will be sworn in as president in an emergency meeting Monday, May 1. 

“It’s exciting to fill this role,” Peterson said. “I will say it’s less than ideal circumstances and it’s not what I was planning for the coming year, but I’m very grateful because I have a great team supporting me, great advisors, great Senate. Definitely not the plan but we are rolling with the punches.”

Grote’s resignation comes after news of an arrest April 16 on charges of possession of a fictitious license and underage purchase or possession of alcoholic beverages, and a newly revealed March 26 charge of possession of alcohol by a minor. 

The University Police Department also revealed Grote is a target in an investigation of a vandalism incident in North Meadows Apartments and could face charges. 

Government Affairs Chair Michael Garofalo said while everyone on the Senate is sympathetic, they’re also “very keen” to make sure the executive team follows the code of ethics. 

“I was really personally very hurt and very disappointed by some of the things that have happened and some of the ways he’s handled the situation,” Garofalo said.

 During the campaign for SA president, Grote focused heavily on opponent Hunter Eide’s ethics violation complaint regarding conduct on the SA Finance Committee.

Eide’s vice presidential running mate, Carter Howell, called Grote’s conduct following the election “a little hypocritical,” but said Grote is deserving of grace. 

Howell is hopeful the resignation will allow the Senate to shift focus back onto its legislative goals. 

“I don’t know if it affected the reputation with students too much, but I know my main concern … was when we go lobby in Pierre and ask for $5 million for a new rodeo arena … professionalism and how [the Senate will] be taken seriously,” Howell said. 

Peterson plans to continue working toward her campaign promises, including a new student section scoreboard at the Dana J. Dykhouse stadium and the rollout of electric scooters across campus. 

“I’m really excited to work under her leadership and continue to do good things for the Students’ Association,” Howell said. 

Eide, who led a short-lived campaign for the presidency with Peterson as his running mate before eventually choosing Howell, said Peterson will always prioritize students’ needs.

Garofalo agrees. 

“We’re going to make sure that Trinity is set up to succeed and I am entirely confident that she will,” Garofalo said. “She’ll do a wonderful job of being president.”

Peterson has not announced a nomination for SA vice president at the time of writing.