October 1st, 2010
01:04 PM ET

Michigan employee with blog on gay student takes leave of absence

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell - who for nearly six months has blogged about an openly gay college student - has taken a voluntary leave of absence, the state's attorney general's office confirmed to CNN Friday.

Related video: Blog targets gay college student

The office does not know the length of Shirvell's leave, but says that it will hold a disciplinary hearing upon his return.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Mike Cox defended his assistant's constitutional right to wage the internet campaign against Chris Armstrong, even though he said he considers Shirvell a "bully."

Related: Michigan attorney general defends employee's right to blog

"Here in America, we have this thing called the First Amendment, which allows people to express what they think and engage in political and social speech," Cox told Anderson Cooper on CNN's "AC 360" on Wednesday night. "He's clearly a bully ... but is that protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? Yes."

"Mr. [Andrew] Shirvell is sort of a frontline grunt assistant prosecutor in my office," Cox said. "He does satisfactory work and off-hours, he's free to engage under both our civil service rules, Michigan Supreme Court rulings and the United States Supreme Court rule."

But Gov. Jennifer Granholm disagreed. Late Thursday she tweeted, "If I was still attorney general and Andrew Shirvell worked for me, he would have already been fired."

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Bullying • Gay & Lesbian Issues
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Carol Murphy

    Anderson i was so happy to see you chalenge Andrew Shrivel,you showed the North American public,that a journalist can efectively challenge bigotry,and hate,i am a transgender person and watching you do your job so well and in a way that aserted the right for me to have the right to be who i am,when people like you stand up for true freedom as you did, you truly include us all.

    October 2, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  2. bruno brizzi

    I hope this is a good news for that student but he should be really careful sice now the guy has more time to dedicate to him....people like this are to be taking very very seriously...a frind from italy.

    October 2, 2010 at 7:10 am |
  3. Erika

    Ughh is this guy a member of the Westboro Baptist Church? Yikes. How do people like him make it in life? Disgraceful!

    October 1, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  4. Shelby

    Would Andrew Shirvill like someone to protest outside his home & elsewhere and have a hateful blog targeting him personally? How about Atty Genl Mike Cox? Would this behavior then be considered harassment & criminal?

    October 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm |
  5. Moises Francisco Bronx , Ny

    Ag has not done nothing wrong "by law " but he could be proven wrong " by law . Only the student can do so .

    October 1, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    Did Shirvell take a leave of action or was he ASKED to take a leave of action? I'm hoping that once back the disciplinary action will determine that he is no longer qualified to be an assistant AG.

    October 1, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  7. Todd Headlee

    I hope he is disciplined to the fullest extent - as in ultimately FIRED, never to be heard from again.

    October 1, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  8. Mariel Alvarado

    To hear a gay student being cyber-bullying by someone does not surprise me in the least, sad to say. But to hear that it is a state attorney, a grown man who is suppose to protect citizens of their town, is responsible for such heinous act is appalling!

    October 1, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  9. Todd Hammond


    Thank you so much for spending as much time as you have been on the University of Michigan story. I am a government teacher in Utah and have been trying to teach my students about first amendment rights. This story is perfect for teaching the first amendment because not only does Shirvell do a great job illustrating the different facets of the first amendment but also the potential flaws as well. I have a simple question for you since I am a government teacher. Policies are put into place by actions and inactions. So, if the attorney general refuses to fire Shirvell than isn't he basically endorsing his actions? If that is the case wouldn't the governor have grounds to release both the attorney general and his assistant?

    October 1, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  10. Corey

    What's even worse, is Mike Cox has been deleting messages on his Facebook Page of people that are demanding his office do something.

    Guess Freedom of Speech doesn't matter when it doesn't fit the republican agenda, now does it?

    There were numerous posts last evening...mine included...and today? All gone!

    October 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  11. Connie


    Please stop giving this guy (Andrew Shirvell) a media launching pad. A CNN Hero he's not!

    McCook, Ne

    October 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  12. Josephine Goldsmith

    From Canada: On a sideline to all this, I just can't help sense that Shervell "dost protest too much". The only person he could possibly try and convince with all that hideous and bizarre behaviour could be himself; and in the end, he'll never really succeed.

    October 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  13. Pam

    Is this guy for real? I think he's a closeted gay man that has a crush on Chris and is jealous that Chris is living the life he wishes he could live. So instead of embracing what he could be he attacks and bullies Chris. I hope they fire him. I know I don't want my tax money going to someone that behaves this way.

    October 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  14. kayla

    A leave of absence?? That's it?? So this insane man will be able to tip-toe back to work when the story dies down?? Something is deeply rotten in America!!

    October 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  15. gailapp

    It seems obvious to me that Andrew Shirvill is a closeted gay with deep self hatred and he is going after this poor guy and projecting all his self hatred an loathing on to him for some reason. Probably in his sick mind by doing this he is proving he is not gay.

    October 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
  16. Boomer

    Also interesting, I tried to visit Shirvell's blog this morning to see if he had mentioned anything about his interview with Anderson Cooper, but the blog is now set to private.

    I'm glad to see that the outcry from the public has been heard. Shirvell is an embarrassment to the Michigan government.

    October 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  17. clay gosnay

    Fire him! Your entire department will be in question if you do not. This is not a person that will be of value to your organization.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  18. Lisa

    So now the state of Michigan has to pay for this guy's little vacation!! And I don't understand why Michigan has to wait until he is back to hold the disciplinary hearing. Do it now!!

    October 1, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  19. TL

    Well, maybe now he can get a job as the new Pee-wee Herman.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  20. Patricia McCann

    Then as Governor of the State of Michigan, Jennifer Grahnholm SHOULD assume her full responsibility to the citizens of Michigan and do just that: Fire Andrew Shirvell and overturn his voluntary leave of absence apparently approved by the Michigan Attorney General, Mike Cox, whose clear understanding of his duties to uphold the First Amendment are very narrow and dangerous to all citizens.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:26 pm |