shirvell andrew1 Student: Asst. AG Harassed Him For 5 months

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An assistant state attorney general frequently harassed the openly gay student assembly president at the University of Michigan over a five-month period, the student said in a request for a protection order. 

In the request filed Sept. 13 in Washtenaw County court, Chris Armstrong said Andrew Shirvell  “has been following me throughout U of M’s campus and Ann Arbor unnecessarily, blogging about me extensively using bias and bigotry and poses a threat to my own personal safety.” 

 The 21-year-old Michigan Student Assembly president said the 30-year-old assistant attorney general heckled him during a speech, showed up at a late-night party at his off-campus house and called the Washington office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, where Armstrong held an internship. 

“Shirvell called my internship office twice, once talking to one of the staff and once speaking to my internship coordinator. … Shirvell asked (the coordinator) if he knew I was a racist … when they hired me,” Armstrong wrote.

The five-page, typed narrative serves as Armstrong’s argument for why he believes a personal protection order is necessary but doesn’t shed much light on why Shirvell has targeted him.

A hearing was scheduled for Monday afternoon before Judge Nancy Francis.

Shirvell has targeted the Armstrong in an online blog, calling him a racist with a  “radical homosexual agenda.”

Shirvell hasn’t been fired, but he is facing a disciplinary hearing and has taken a voluntary leave of absence from his post. 

WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke Friday with Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox. 

“I can say, unequivocally, that what he wrote about Mr. Armstrong and some of his friends is really reprehensible, offensive and immature. And, what any hearing will be about, is to establish if it really is conduct unbecoming,” Cox said. 

Cox said he can’t fire anybody without a hearing. 

“We ask that people be patient, understand that this is American and there are rules in place. And, while I may find [Shirvell’s behavior] reprehensible, there’s a process to be followed,” Cox said. 

The hearing will take place when Shirvell returns from leave. 

Cox has said he’s troubled that Shirvell videotaped police breaking up the party in Ann Arbor over Labor Day.

In his petition, Armstrong said police told him then “they were concerned with the man who was outside my house taking pictures of the party.”

He said he chose to attend the university because  “it was a safe and encouraging place” for gay students.

“His actions have not only threatened that, but have been an outright attack on my ability to live my life openly and be honest about who I am,” Armstrong said.

The University of Michigan has  banned Shirvell from visiting campus. 

More on this story

 (Copyright 2010 WWJ Radio.  All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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