College professor accused of vandalizing Nebraska GOP lawmaker’s campaign signs


An assistant professor and political activist in Nebraska was ticketed Tuesday on suspicion of vandalizing a GOP lawmaker’s campaign signs.

Patricia Wonch Hill, a research assistant professor of sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was ticketed on three counts of vandalism relating to Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s (R-Neb.) yard signs, which were defaced during last year’s election cycle, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

{mosads}A yard sign featuring the Nebraska republican’s face had googly eyes added to it and the “o” in Fortenberry’s name had tape added to it so it appeared as an “a,” making his last name read as “Fartenberry.”

Hill was also cited for allegedly vandalizing the front door of Sen. Deb Fischer’s (R-Neb.) campaign office

Hill, however, denied destroying any property.

“I learned more today about the charges against me from the news media than police shared with me when they wrote me the ticket,” she told The Hill. “Let me be clear, I have never destroyed any property. I look forward to my day in court when the burden will be on local authorities to prove I did.”

Police say they were able to identify Hill from fingerprints found on the signs and stickers left behind at Fischer’s door.

“We are fortunate to live in a country that not only allows free speech, but also encourages open dialogue between differing perspectives,” the Lincoln Police Department said in a press release. “LPD is committed to fairly and impartially protecting all citizens’ right to free speech. However, we will also hold accountable those who participate in unlawful behavior.”

Hill had been ordered to pay a $500 fine last year after spraying fake blood on the steps of a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln provided a statement to the local news outlet saying it is a personal legal matter that is not up to the school.

“We do not condone vandalism,” the statement reads. “However, this is a personal legal matter based on actions of a faculty member on their own time, and they will have to take accountability for their actions based on the outcome of the legal process.”

— Updated at 6:47 p.m. ET

Tags Deb Fischer Jeff Fortenberry

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