In spring 2010, Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell started a blog called ‘Chris Armstrong Watch’ to attack the current and first openly gay student body president of the University of Michigan, Chris Armstrong.
This is not your average protest. In Shirvell’s opening description, he calls Armstrong a “radical homosexual activist, racist, elitist and liar.” He has edited pictures of Armstrong with Nazi swastikas and others with the words “resign” and “racist, elitist, liar” inscribed on the photos. Remember, this is an adult talking about a twenty-something college student.
These actions should be a call to arms.
These actions should encourage everyone to be more actively aware of their politicians. With the November elections rolling around it’s important to research who to elect. Don’t just look into their positions on issues, but also dig into their personal lives. It is not just a matter who is a Republican or Democrat, but who that person is beneath their title. While Assistant Attorney General is an appointed position, it’s still essential to be on your toes for who is going to run this state or the country when the next elections roll around.
And it gets worse with Shirvell. As if cyber-bullying on his blog was not enough, he also has admitted to following Armstrong on Facebook, picketing student events and filming outside of Armstrong’s house.
Shirvell believes that as an alumni of the university, he has the right to be concerned about the leadership of his alma mater. He states that the reason why he started the blog is that he is actively concerned with Armstrong’s agenda. Armstrong has called for longer cafeteria hours, gender-free housing and lowing tuition – hardly radical.
This abuse has gone on for over six months. It is a shock and an outrage that no higher power struck down this blog in its early stages. It took until September for someone to question this blog. It’s an outright abuse of power for an official of the state of Michigan to attack a student.
But here is another issue to be aware of. Students also need to be more conscious of the homophobia that exists to this day. While Shirvell claims he didn’t attack Armstrong for his sexual orientation, he still had plenty of references to Armstrong’s orientation to cause concern. In fact, October 7th was the first day that Armstrong spoke out on the matter. He said in an interview on Anderson Cooper 360(see video here) he only spoke out because of the rash of suicides of young homosexual men that happened recently because of bullying.
Hopefully this story will be dying down soon enough and Shirvell will have learned his lesson. Armstrong filed for an order of personal protection and Shirvell took a voluntary leave of absence at the beginning of October for an undisclosed amount of time.
Imagine if some Albion alumni decided that Albion’s own Student Senate President Casey Hoffman was some crazy student ruining Albion and started a blog against him. Imagine the rage on campus— we’d all find it shocking and shameful that an adult would behave in such a way.