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UND cheer team asked to take down photo with Stenehjem campaign T-shirt

Kimberley Badenhop, a Bismarck resident who once worked as a spokeswoman for 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 showing screenshots of the photo that was posted to the Facebook account for the UND cheer team and subsequently used in Facebook advertising by the Stenehjem campaign.

"This particular image struck me immediately, because I am the child of two college professors. I grew up in college towns across the USA," she said. "The issue of co-mingling public property and campaigns is something I've cared deeply about most of my life and 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 university itself after the NCAA said the cheer team wasn't sanctioned by them.

UND 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," UND 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.

Port, founder of sayanythingblog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator.

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