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Fri Nov 2, 2018, 11:38 AM

Fortenberry's chief of staff contacts UNL chancellor to complain about professor

After a University of Nebraska prof. "liked" a post with this photo -- calling a sitting Congressman "Fartenberry" -- the congressman's chief of staff contacted the UNIVERSITY CHANCELLOR to complain. https://journalstar.com/news/local/education/fortenberry-complains-about-facebook-reaction-to-vandalized-sign-unl-professor/article_ddfa4b2a-ffcf-594d-9417-502f0f01cb3d.html#tracking-source=home-trending

Btw, the congressman complaining abt 1 sign calling him “Fartenberry” has a 99.7% chance to win his race, according to @NateSilver538.

.@thefix is on the "Fartenberry" story.

PickUpTheVoiceMailMomHat Retweeted

A congressman's office is pressuring @UNLincoln to punish a professor who liked a widely-shared Facebook photo making fun of that congressman.

That "like" is clearly protected by the First Amendment.

Fortenberry complains about Facebook reaction to vandalized sign; UNL professor says he's bullying

CHRIS DUNKER Lincoln Journal Star Nov 1, 2018 Updated 1 hr ago

Thumbing through his Facebook feed, Ari Kohen came across the now widely shared photo of a defaced campaign sign for Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. ... Shared on the social media platform by Seeing Red Nebraska, a progressive political blog, the photo depicts Fortenberry with a pair of oversized googly eyes, while a strip of tape turned the incumbent Republican's name into a sophomoric joke.

Kohen, an associate professor of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, clicked like on his cellphone screen. ... “I know this is not high comedy,” said Kohen, who originally thought the photo was a Photoshop prank. “It was Sunday, I was bored and got a laugh out of it. I clicked like because I found it amusing.” ... But leaving a like on the photo was anything but amusing, according to the man whose face was on the sign.

While Lincoln Police began investigating, a Fortenberry campaign staffer in Lincoln sent a screenshot showing Kohen’s like to the congressman's Washington, D.C., office, and the next day, Dr. William “Reyn” Archer III, his chief of staff, called Kohen to talk about it. ... “It’s against the law and uses the resources of the city, and (Kohen) thinks it’s OK to like it,” Archer said in a phone interview.

When Archer didn’t hear back from Kohen immediately, he emailed the chair of the UNL political science department, copying the interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Chancellor Ronnie Green on the message. ... “As Chairman of the Department of Political Science at the University of Nebraska, I would like to find a time to speak to you about the support one of your faculty has shown for political vandalism,” Archer wrote to Kevin Smith, Kohen’s department chair, on Oct. 24, according to an email provided to the Journal Star through a public-records request. ... “The question is what the position of the department and university is regarding vandalism or worse violence, which we have seen in this political season,” he continued, concluding with a request to speak by phone.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS

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