UND Cheer Team Asked To Take Down Photo With Stenehjem Campaign T-Shirt

Kimberley Badenhop, a Bismarck resident who once worked as chief of staff Congressman Kevin Cramer, says she wasn’t happy when she saw a photo of University of North Dakota cheerleaders posing with a Wayne Stenehjem campaign t-shirt on official UND social media accounts.

She shared with me a PDF (see below) showing screen shots of the photo which posted to the Facebook account for the UND cheer team and subsequently used in Facebook advertising by the Stenehjem campaign.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”Since visiting with you this morning, the photo has been removed from the UND Facebook page, and we have requested that education will be given to student athletes regarding this policy,” North Dakota University System compliance officer Karol Riedman said in an email which was provided to me by Badenhop.[/mks_pullquote]

“This particular image struck me immediately, because I am the child of 2 college professors. I grew up in college towns across the USA,” she told me. “The issue of co-mingling public property and campaigns is something I’ve cared deeply about most of my life & especially after working as a federal government employee.”

She added that she is not affiliated with any political campaigns this cycle.

Badenhop said she first contacted the NCAA about the photo, but then took her complaint to the North Dakota University System itself after the NCAA said the cheer team wasn’t sanctioned by them.

NDUS officials asked the cheerleaders to take the photo down citing school policy.

“Since visiting with you this morning, the photo has been removed from the UND Facebook page, and we have requested that education will be given to student athletes regarding this policy,” NDUS compliance officer Karol Riedman said in an email which was provided to me by Badenhop. “Other persons connected to the photo either directly or indirectly have been contacted with education of the policies and requests to remove the photo.  We are monitoring other social media sites and will react whenever it is seen again.”

“We appreciated the enthusiasm of the cheerleaders for Wayne, but were happy to comply with the policy,” Stenehjem campaign manager Nate Martindale told me on Friday.

The campaign had been using the photo in Facebook advertising.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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