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. jimmy fowler

    This man(Andrew Shirlell) should no doubt be fired. Anyone capable of this type of harassment and public slander towards another person guilty of no crime, has no place holding any american public office.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  2. Liz Balon

    Pleasssse give me a break. With all the problems Michigan has does it really need Andrew Shirvell? Come on Mr. Attorney General get rid of this guy.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  3. Gyan Kumar

    It is obvious that Mr Shirville is displaying 'Projection' because he is gay.
    Projection is a defense mechanism that involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people. For example, if you have a strong dislike for someone, you might instead believe that he or she does not like you. Projection works by allowing the expression of the desire or impulse, but in a way that the ego cannot recognize, therefore reducing anxiety. (Freud)

    September 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  4. AndreR

    It seems very clear that Andrew Shirvell needs to come to grip with his own sexuality. His hatred of Chris Armstrong is a projection of his own inner conflict. Andrew come out of the closet!!!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  5. Chris

    As a non gay taxpayer in the State of Michigan I am appalled that someone in our State Government is targeting a young man for his beliefs. Mike Cox should not allow this to continue and the citizens of Michigan should be concerned of the message being sent from our AG's office by allowing this to continue. I think it is time to research Shirvell's University of Michigan activities.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  6. Jordan Culver

    Those sources and targets of bullying are its only non-discriminating aspects.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  7. hal morris

    Sometimes it takes the extreme ugliness of hate... to wake us up as a nation! ❤ hal

    September 28, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  8. Suzanne

    I am embarassed to be from Michigan. Cox...do the right thing.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  9. stella

    OMG, is this guy serious. He is in need of a psych eval. I've never seen anyone so clearly crazy. I am also a public employee in California, I would be fired if I did anything like this. He needs to be fired!! I would be embarrassed to work with this fool. Pick on an adult.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  10. Naomi Trager

    As a University of Michigan Alum, I would like to comment that Mr. Shirvell does not represent the views of the Michigan community. I feel nothing but compassion for Chris Armstrong and hope that he can overcome the rantings of a pathetic, sad man who holds no moral values. How dare he call a bright and courageous student a nazi. Not only does Chris have a right to sue but hold his dignity by not responding to these ridiculous attacks.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  11. Robin Crook

    I cannot believe this guy had the nerve to go on your show! You ate him for lunch...and it was fun to watch! What is UP with him...how does he have a job?

    Wouldn't be surprised to hear about him being arrested in an airport bathroom, as is usually the case with bigots like him.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  12. Virginia

    It appears that Mr. Shirvell is "GAY" himself. Perhaps he feels upset because he is attracted to Mr Montgomery. It is sad to see a public employee (Atty General)bully people over the internet. People like him always say they have a right to say what they want no matter how disrespectful or intolerant they are. He hates homosexuals what a Christian he is. He is a very sad and miserable person who represents the people of Michigan, I am glad I do not live in that state.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  13. Rob

    Wow, I have never seen anything like the interview I am watching with this guy right now. He has no sense of reality. It is sad that people like him work in state government. Yet another child left behind. Michigan should be embarrassed that he left there with a degree.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  14. Ed Bankos

    Andrew Shirvell – simple answer: AG should fire him.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  15. Elliott Jonson

    How can anyone who is in a position, such as Attorney General, say that anything he does is on personal time? At that level, everything he does represents the office that he holds. Is he one of those who goes after gays because he is closeted himself?

    September 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  16. Tracey K

    Who is this idiot? Radical agenda??? The young man is SGA president on a university campus!! What radical agenda could he possibly be promoting??? Get a life dude!! Methinks you doth protest too much... Go Anderson!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  17. Marley

    As an openly gay man, this saddens me. I always thought that as someone working for the government, you try to distance yourself from controversy and you don't (intentionally) say harmful and immature things. The man sounds like he's a 12 year old who still thinks that touching a girl will give you cooties. People like this disgust me. Kudos to Armstrong for not stooping down to this guys level.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  18. Kris

    This man is a cyber bully. Scarybthat he is a state official.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  19. Brian Falkingham

    I dont know if these 2 men have ever met, but it seem to have all the earmarks of a scorned lover.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  20. Keith Jones

    This Shirvell is a bully and an immature nutjob. Armstrong should get a restraining order.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  21. Fred

    Could someone please list out the exact rights that heterosexual student lose if/when homosexual students get equal rights?

    September 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  22. Rick

    Shirvell's behavior for a public official is obnoxious. Hang in there Chris and serve out your entire term no matter what.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:06 pm |
  23. Robert Gertz

    This sounds like a hate crime to me. At the very least this guy needs to be fired. There's no place for this kind of harassment by an official in a position of power and public trust. Sounds like the man has serious psychological and gender issues of his own to deal with.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
  24. Dan

    There must be a way the governor can dismiss Shirvell. He certainly does not belong in a responsible position in government.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  25. Stan

    It concerns me that this "professional" educated man Shirvell would tout that he is treating this individual as an 'adult', when his actions seem more vindictive. Question for Mr. Shirvell "Do you have a personal vendetta against Mr. Armstrong?, If not, why single him out as a person with your blog? If Mr. Shirvell has issues with Mr. Armstrongs views then it seems to me the adult thing to do would be to address the views not the person. Singling out Mr. Armstrong for attack does not garner any support from me to even listen to Mr. Shirvell's views. I will however tune in to hear what AC has to say, and I look forward to seeing if Mr. Shirvell can defend his actions. I hope AC can get the counter point from Mr. Armstrong.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
  26. Kathleen

    "...at the cost of, you know, heterosexual students."

    Michigan must be so proud.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
  27. Harry

    are you kidding, Andrew Shirvell? This sounds like some story I'd read on The Onion. How depressing that this happens in 2010.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  28. Herb Walker

    Armstrong is “somebody that’s there to promote special rights for homosexuals at the cost of, you know, heterosexual students.”

    Which rights are those, Mr. Shirvell? The right to stomp gays?

    September 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
  29. Josh

    Chris is probably one of the best and most active Presidents Michigan has ever had. The only thing he has done is try to make the campus a safer place for those who are often a easy target for hatred, abuse and neglect from student government and often the university at large. The whole point that Chris and other leaders on this campus have done is to make the campus a safe and equal place for everyone, not for homo or heterosexual students.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
  30. eddie

    Wow, a DA is attacking a college kid!?!

    I don't care what your politics are, this is cyber-stalking and it scares me that a man who helps decide who is prosecuted and who gets a pass, would attack a kid in this manner.

    I hope shirvell is unemployed soon!!!

    September 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
  31. Mark

    This is very disturbing that an Asst. Attorney General is this backward and childish. Is the type of Justice one would expect in Michigan? Are any gays safe in Michigan?

    September 28, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
  32. teresa, ohio

    wow, is this guy, Shirvell nuts? Isnt he a little old to be doing this type of thing?

    Did he have to be elected or was he appointed?

    and this statement: " But his immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office are clear."

    Oh, yes, INSIDE the office he is morally correct, law abiding and non-judgemental toward gays.... but on his spare time he dabbles on his blog? Since when is a college student an ADULT and is Shirvell that much more MATURE????

    ently ream him a new one, AC.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
  33. Mike

    Mr. Shirvell fails to explain how Mr. Armstrong's promoting of gay rights is done at the expense of heterosexuals. Furthermore, he should stop pretending he is some kind of guardian for incoming students, who are adults, and quite capable of deciding on their own if Mr. Armstrong has anything to say worth listening to. Shirvell is simply a bigot, who's blog will appeal to other bigots. Attorney General Cox is right to distance himself (and his office) from this bigot.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
  34. Arjun

    Amazing the lengths people will go to bully those that are different from them into not letting their voice be heard, or taking positions of leadership.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
  35. mama panda

    This is both sickening and terrifying: An assistant attorney general with the emotional maturity of a bullying 6th grader?

    Heaven help us all...and especially Chris Armstrong.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
  36. Craig

    Ahahahah! Seriously, with all the suffering in this world, Andrew Shirvell does not have anything better to do? I mean really...you're worried because some gay kid is Student Body President at your Alma Mater!? Ahahahahaha!

    September 28, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  37. Aezel

    Wow Michigan, congratulations on having one of the most laughably ridiculous people ever as your assistant attorney general. I'm sure you get equal treatment under the law by this joker......

    September 28, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  38. GaryB

    His blog reads like a lot of the chain e-mails I get from my tea party affiliated friends. Lots of captial letters and expressions of outrage, short on truth and facts.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
  39. Laura Baker

    I'm not sure how many 'adults' are 'treated' with criticism by an online blogger. I think this is clear cut homophobia – and it's disturbing and wrong. I applaud the actions of the college student and am a little disgusted by the AG's office. If someone in my office offers an opinion that I do not hold – I can ignore that. But if someone in my office becomes a lightning rod for online bullying and defamation of character – it could not be tolerated. Maybe I'm not as worldly as Shirvell, but the adults in my life respect themselves more than to reveal themselves as small minded imbeciles with what appears to be an extreme amount of time of their hands dedicated to the sole purpose of destroying another human being. Maybe knitting would be a better hobby?

    September 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
  40. Allison

    Anderson, this person obviously needs the help of a trained therapist. The rage he displays towards the homosexual community is unhealthy. The level of rage in his posts is concerning. It is unfortunate that people like this do not get the help they need because it is wrapped up in belief over weather or not homosexuality is "moral".

    Chris Armstrong is obviously a great student- otherwise he would have never attained the office of president of the student governmental body at the University of Michigan.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
  41. Carl

    “I mean, we’re all adults here and so, you know, we’re treating him like an adult with adult level criticism.”

    I'm not sure he understands what adult level criticism is. What he is doing is actually high school level criticism at best.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
  42. Jackson

    Futre Republican candidate-in-training for congress.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
  43. Stanton J. Price

    Shirvell is operating at the level of people who write on toilet stall walls. He's obviously desperate for attention, which leads me to wonder what is wrong in his life.

    As we have seen many times, the most violent homophobes are gay men who are frightened by their own orientation and who believe, at some level, they can fight their own orientation by attacking it. Shirvell is another Senator Craig.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  44. anne mccormick

    what Andrew Shirvell has done is not only morally reprehensible it is also behaviour that should not be tolerated. whether Mr Shirvell likes it or not; the people of Michigan have a right to demand that he is held up a higher standard of behaviour. Perhaps, it is time for Mr Shirvell to look for another place of employment.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
  45. Bob

    While it may be true that the Assistant AG is doing this outside of his work environment, his conduct here is sufficiently deplorable that he should be terminated from his employment. There have been other cases where people were fired (legally) because of their public behaviour reflecting dishonourably upon their employer. If he were posting similar messages attacking people because of their race or religion, he'd have been gone already, and no one would have batted an eye.

    September 28, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  46. Phil from MD

    Sounds like someone is jealous.....

    September 28, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  47. Sam D from Houston

    Andrew Shirvell should be investigated and if all this is true, be fired! I just don't see how blind hatred of homosexuals fits into any government post.

    September 28, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  48. Les, Canada

    Whaaaaaat. This is... an adult? Targeting... a college student?

    I look forward to the interview!

    September 28, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  49. Margie Ryan

    Aww, we have to wait until Tuesday to see Anderson tear this guy apart? Not fair. But I'm going to be watching. It'll be more fun than watching him crush BP. 🙂

    September 28, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  50. Cory Russell

    *sniff sniff* I can smell the homophobia all the way from here.

    September 28, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
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