September 28th, 2010
07:18 PM ET

Assistant Michigan AG targets openly gay college student

Editor's Note: Watch Anderson's interview with Andrew Shirvell

Martina Stewart
AC360° Digital Producer

(CNN) – Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox wants to make something crystal clear: no one should mistake the opinions of Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general in Cox’s office, for being those of the Michigan Attorney General’s office itself.

For nearly six months, Shirvell has used his blog “Chris Armstrong Watch,” to shine an online spotlight on college student Chris Armstrong, the openly gay president of the student governmental body at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Using the online moniker “Concerned Michigan Alumnus,” Shirvell launched his blog in late April.

“Welcome to ‘Chris Armstrong Watch,’” Shirvell wrote in his inaugural blog post. “This is a site for concerned University of Michigan alumni, students, and others who oppose the recent election of Chris Armstrong – a RADICAL HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVIST, RACIST, ELITIST, & LIAR – as the new head of student government.”

Among other things, Shirvell has published blog posts that accuse Armstrong of going back on a campaign promise he made to minority students; engaging in “flagrant sexual promiscuity” with another male member of the student government; sexually seducing and influencing “a previously conservative [male] student” so much so that the student, according to Shirvell, “morphed into a proponent of the radical homosexual agenda;” hosting a gay orgy in his dorm room in October 2009; and trying to recruit incoming first year students “to join the homosexual ‘lifestyle.’”

In a statement provided to CNN Tuesday evening, Michigan’s top lawyer sought to put some daylight between his office and Shirvell's online behavior.

“Mr. Shirvell's personal opinions are his and his alone and do not reflect the views of the Michigan Department of Attorney General,” Cox said in the written statement provided by his office. “But his immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office are clear."

Contacted recently by CNN, Armstrong declined to comment on the record about Shirvell’s actions and would only say that he did not want to dignify Shirvell’s comments with a response and that he was pursuing legal action against Shirvell.

In previous interviews, Shirvell has made no apologies for his blog postings.

“Did he think he was just going to get some kind of free pass just because he’s gay or whatever?,” Shirvell said earlier this month with Detroit TV station WXYZ. “I mean, we’re all adults here and so, you know, we’re treating him like an adult with adult level criticism.”

Shirvell also told the local news station that his online postings were justified not because Armstrong is openly gay but because Armstrong is “somebody that’s there to promote special rights for homosexuals at the cost of, you know, heterosexual students.”

Filed under: 360° Radar • Bullying • Gay & Lesbian Issues • Martina Stewart
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Geralyn

    I watched the interview of Andrew Shirvell and found him quite disturbing. I also checked his blog against Chris Armstrong and although in the interview he claimed that he didn't have a problem with Chris being homosexual, his blog cleary shows that he does. He also stated a few times that he was not going to speak of his job, but it is only a matter of time before those two world collide and I don't think it will turn out in his favor. I applaud Anderson Cooper for bringing this issue out in the open for what it is.

    September 29, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  2. Hank10303

    Actually, I think this man has a very hidden and deep desire for this college student who has already won the election. The process of stalking he is engaging in will not and cannot remove him from office so there is no real point to it. Yes, he once went to the school, SO, he doesn't have to donate to it if he chooses not to, but he doesn't have the right to harrass the student body president. He claims his views are radical, guess what its still not a dictatorship system. Whatever changes this young man has made others had to agree with him which implys the AG is singling him out for no apparent reason. IT MUST BE LOVE!

    September 29, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  3. Igor

    Andrew Shirvell has displayed appalling lack of judgment and brought discredit to the office of the Attorney General of Michigan. He should be fired. Period. End of story. Next?

    September 29, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  4. Terry

    In my opinion Andrew Shirvell suffers from Peter Pan Syndrome. If he does this outside of his job he will do it to those within his job

    September 29, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  5. Stephanie Heaton

    CORRECTION: oops ..I meant Shirvell where I used Cox...

    September 29, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  6. kevin c

    Anderson: Well you really opened a can of worms here. Here is the rest of the story. As a Michigander what will share with you may or may not surprise you. Michigan runs by a old boys network. Why is this guy not fired? Cause he is a young member of the old boys network. Look to how he got to where he is, its a joke. Mike Cox plans to be gov, the prosecutor in genesee co wants to be AG, Granholm has aspirations of a Washington job, its scary whats going on. They need to prosecute this guy as a cyber bully but it will never happen. This goes on all the time. Let me ask this, how would you complain about this as a private citizen? Who does the Asst AG answer to? Well good luck with that one. Great story, hope this scumbag looses his job and never gets another, let him go be an ambulance chaser, he'd probably be good at that.

    September 29, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  7. Michelle Johnson

    I agree with David $$$. People should not allow that kind of harassment. The state should do something.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  8. Melissa Parks

    Isn't there some law against this?

    September 29, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  9. Andrew Kiepprien

    Don't give him his ten minutes of fame! This is what he wants....he has taken it to extremes and we've reacted! Let him sit in the corner and type on his blog! He'll go away! It's not the gays that are destroying our great nation, it's the folks filled with hatred!

    September 29, 2010 at 8:06 am |
  10. Joshua

    Shirvell comes off as an undignified and petty fool from all this, and a bigoted fool at that.

    September 29, 2010 at 8:01 am |
  11. Bryan

    Since Mike Cox seems averse to firing Shirvell, he must believe that his employee's "immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office," together with his virulent homophobia, has an ON/OFF switch that can easily be flipped OFF whenever he's INSIDE the office. So much for the quality of Michigan's judicial system whenever Shirvell acts as DA.

    My only hope for Shirvell is a bank account that'll soon to be sucked dry by a huge harassment/slander settlement payment to Mr. Armstrong.

    September 29, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  12. will

    RE: Martina Stewart's report have we reached the point in the suffocating culture of political correctness that an alumni member can't express his opinion about the actiion of the current UM president? Because the current president is gay do we have to mince about the issues? Does his gayness immunize him from critcism? So waht if he is an asst AG that doesn't mean he has no first amendment right to express his views on his time.

    September 29, 2010 at 7:29 am |
  13. Gerry

    This guy Sherville has gone way beyond 1st amendment rights. He should be fired and held accountable by the cyberbullying law. He is definitely a bully and should be punished for character assassination. To publicly go after this student as he has and in the way he has is not first amendment rights; it is criminal. I am really glad I don't live in the state where he is employed. His poor judgment is abominable and inexcusable. Please keep us updated in the progress or lack thereof of this story. I suspect there is a personal reason why he has gone after this student.

    September 29, 2010 at 5:21 am |
  14. Alexander Hagg

    He is criticised as an adult. By that he means "with adult language"? Or does he mean "tried as an adult and getting a exorbitantly high punishment as people are usually given in the US"?

    This definitely tells you, that the US with it's GOP/Teaparty surge, is leaning toward a "I'm the strongest so you shut up" anti-intelligent, anti-deterministic, anti-logic movement that has the potential to in fact become a risk for your average student or your average entrepreneur.

    It's pretty disgusting and a case for Amnesty International.. Actually this goes against the First Amendment as any gay person is allowed to express themselves and people like Mr. Shirvell do not want to allow such expression

    September 29, 2010 at 4:25 am |
  15. David b

    Thanks for shining some light on the actions of this deplorable pig. Please look a bit deeper, though, into Mike Cox's late and opportunistic efforts to distance himself from these smears. Shirvell's offense, in Cox's view, wasn't in his obscene and malignant statements, but in being found out.

    September 29, 2010 at 3:11 am |
  16. Heena

    This is outrages!!! Residents of Michigan should demand a resignation from Shirvell! I'm shocked to see that the Michigan AG hasn't fired him yet! Completely disgusting!

    September 29, 2010 at 2:59 am |
  17. H. (Bart) Vincelette

    CNN is to be commended for bringing the story of the assistant attorney-general of Michigan, Shirvell, & his blog against the U. of Michigan's president of student government.This is one of the most bizarre & eery stories of in-your-face, self evident; bigotry since the days of Mississippi Burning.It is to be hoped that his actions are found to stem from a mental health problem.Otherwise, the entire scenario reflects on far more than simply the public servant in question.It defiles the state of Michigan, the present Attorney-General, it is further revealing of the un-American irrational agenda of the religious right; & makes a laughing stock of the admission standards of many American Law Schools.
    Great interview, Anderson. I could never have been so diplomatic.This is a man with serious aberrant thought processes. We may not have heard the last of him. Making direct comparisons to some representative of a demon is very often evidence of deep seated paranoia.
    Thanks for your attention.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:57 am |
  18. nasreen akbar

    Mike Cox is a coward. He should fire this hateful man. Free speech is not a permit to instigate hate. People of Michigan why are you paying Mike Cox or Shirvell?

    September 29, 2010 at 2:54 am |
  19. Shobana Ramamurthi

    This Asst. DA disgusts me. AG of Michigan should be ashamed of himself for not firing this nut case.
    Anderson Cooper was simply awesome and AC360 is the only program I watch in CNN.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:48 am |
  20. Mark Vondrasek

    Mr. Shirvell made comments about this gay student that I find hard to believe as true or not taken out of context. For one, show me a college female that hasn't had sex. Promiscuity among young people is not a homosexual "sickness", it is a common thing, just ask any parent of a teenager. He also accuses the student of seducing "a previously conservative male student". Now if Mr. Shirvell cared to stop and do any research on the topic of his ranting, he would know that you cannot be "persuaded" to be a homosexual, homosexuality is a common "type" of sexuality and could be compared to the chance of a person being left-handed or blonde.

    Mr. Shirvell's comments about being radical, racist and liberal are obviously strictly his opinion, and are not based on fact. He accuses the student of being a liar, but about what is not stated, obviously the word "liar" just happened to be one that spilled out of Mr. Shirvell's mouth at the time.

    Mr. Shirvell also stated that the student was a "RADICAL HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVIST". Here I believe Mr. Shirvell is referring to the Gay "Civil Rights" Movement, if you will, which obviously lobbies for a more gay-friendly society. Although Mr. Shirvell also accuses the student of being racist, elitist and "liar" in the same breath, let us focus for a moment on the accusation of "Radical Homosexual Activist". Mr. Shirvell is upset by this student who is openly gay and politically active on this campus. Certainly a gay activist could be considered "liberal" or "radical" simply because it is not commonly accepted in our culture yet. But let's go one step further. Let's say someday Mr. Shirvell becomes the State of Michigan's AG. Will he actively pursue cases of injustice in favor of homosexuals? Or will he neglect his constituents who have identified themselves as gay? Will Mr. Shirvell do his job and protect and defend the people of Michigan? Or will he discriminate against some based off of his biased and flawed opinion? Will he do the research, even if it means he will have to admit he is wrong? Will he actively be "liberal", finding the facts and accepting them, even if they will benefit a gay person? If not, then Mr. Shirvell is not suitable to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, and he should be removed from his current position. I only hope those in power to do so do not also share his disgusting "opinions".

    September 29, 2010 at 2:46 am |
  21. Tyler

    This news-story is shocking and disturbing. How can the attorney general of Michigan allow this cyber-stalker to keep working at the office? I'm concerned for Chris Armstrong's safety here. This Shirvell guy seems disturbed and overly obsessed with this student Armstrong. Someone needs to put a restraining order on Shirvell and quickly. I'm just shocked that a public official would be allowed to keep his job when he's so blatantly bullying a college student.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:36 am |
  22. Grace

    Shirvell is a very disturbed young man with an odd obsession with Armstrong. I looked at his blog, I can't believe he's been stalking this young man since April unfettered. He should have been arrested a long time ago. Hopefully, AG Cox will move on this soon.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:28 am |
  23. Ricinsac

    Ignore his spin!!! Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is complicit in this and providing cover for his staff – both AG Cox and Shirvell should be terminated.

    September 29, 2010 at 2:25 am |
  24. Sally

    Hello Anderson,
    I am in complete shock!! The real question is how did such an ignorant person get paid by the public to be such a poor representation of the American public!! Michigan, as a state, should be horrified .... not to even mention Mike Cox!

    September 29, 2010 at 2:22 am |
  25. Nuny, Michigan

    He needs to be fired!

    September 29, 2010 at 2:16 am |
  26. mitch

    Who does this guy Shirvell think he is. What he is, is an assistant Atty. General. He should start acting like one. He's an assistant atty.general 24/7. In this position he certainly looses some of the latitude ordinarily afforded an ordinary citizen. He surely can't be picketing in front of someones home when he could be called in to his office at anytime on official government business. In his position he should be somewhat handcuffed and prohibited from the childish antics he is carrying out. I also believe we'll find out that Shirvell is also gay, not that this should make any difference. Shirvells boss has to step up soon and get rid of this guy. If not, Armstrong is going to have a lawsuit not only against Shirvell but against the AG's office also. Shirvell is not involved in any political campaign as he keeps stating. I can't believe this has allowed to continue.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:50 am |
  27. Gregory Herrera

    Anderson -

    I do apologize - for "assuming" anything and must say thank you for always being THE MAN to support and pursue the truth!!


    September 29, 2010 at 1:49 am |
  28. Steve

    It's absurd to think that the advancement of homosexual rights in any way endangers heterosexuals' rights. Every gay, lesbian, and transgendered person I've met has been nothing but considerate of heterosexuals. These are the delusional ramblings of a paranoid homophobe. Shirvell can try to rationalize it all he wants, but he's doing nothing but spewing hateful garbage.

    For those of you who say that homosexuality is a sin and should thus be outlawed, do you also feel strongly about making gambling illegal as well? Will you stop buying lottery tickets? What about cursing? The amount of hypocrisy in Americans' viewpoints these days is saddening.

    And by the way, I voted for McCain, so don't consider me some out of touch liberal.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:42 am |
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