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Posted on Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

Board recommends rejecting Andrew Shirvell's appeal to overturn decision upholding dismissal

By Kyle Feldscher

Editor's note: This article and headline have been edited to clarify that the ruling here is advisory and can be approved or rejected by the full commission.

Andrew Shirvell, the former Michigan assistant attorney general who was fired for harassing former University of Michigan student body president Chris Armstrong, lost a round Thursday in his attempt to have a March decision upholding his firing overturned.

Thumbnail image for Andrew-Shirvell.jpg

Andrew Shirvell speaks against Chris Armstrong at a student assembly meeting in 2010.

Shirvell was fired as a result of his campaign against Armstrong during 2010. Armstrong, who is openly gay, drew Shirvell’s ire to the point where Shirvell created a blog solely dedicated to criticizing Armstrong, including putting a swastika over a picture of Armstrong.

Three members of the state of Michigan Civil Service Commission’s Employment Relations Board disagreed with Shirvell's argument that his criticisms were an exercise in free speech. The board's recommendation to reject the appeal will be reviewed by the full Civil Service Commission, which can approve, reject or modify the board's recommendation.

Even though Shirvell attempted to paint his dismissal as a political move, the ruling handed down by the board stated he put himself in that position.

“Appellant (Shirvell) has stated that he was thrown under the bus by Appellee (Department of the Attorney General) in the interests of political expediency at the altar of political correctness,” the ruling stated.

“Appellee countered — accurately — that after Appellee had warned Appellant repeatedly that a bus was coming, he chose to walk out in the middle of the road, lie down and wait for the bus to roll over him.”

It’s another legal defeat for Shirvell in 2012. His original claim against the attorney general’s office was denied in March and a lawsuit he had filed against Armstrong was dismissed in April. Armstrong’s lawsuit against Shirvell, meanwhile, continues.

Armstrong was the first openly gay student body president at U-M and Shirvell had accused of him of pursuing a “radical homosexual agenda.” Shirvell showed up at parties outside of Armstrong’s residence, a bar crawl he believed Armstrong would attend, student body meetings and university activities, protesting the then-student.

He made appearances on "Anderson Cooper 360" and "The Daily Show," causing the original hearing officer to say Shirvell “made a media spectacle of himself.”

The 19-page decision details how intent Shirvell was on bringing down Armstrong and his behaviors. All of those actions could have been seen as fireable offenses, according to the ruling.

“Appellee could reasonably determine that Appellant’s entire course of inappropriate behavior during his last six months of employment was conduct unbecoming of a state employee,” the ruling read, adding some of his criticisms could have been legitimate but “his stalking, confronting and outing of Armstrong and his friends, disregard of supervisors’ counsel” qualify as unbecoming conduct.

The ruling added one parting shot to Shirvell’s case, showing the embarrassment the attorney general’s office felt at his actions.

“It is difficult to recall another classified state employee in recent history who has brought as much negative publicity to his department,” the ruling stated.

Read the ruling here.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

he TOTALLY got what he deserved. mr. shirvell....Homophobia. Is. Bad. ARE YOU LISTENING?

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Harassing is what got him fired, not homophobia.

Sandra Samons

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

Pretty hard to diagnose someone you have never met, but if Shirvell's behavior fails to rise to a strict legal test of stalking, it sure seems to be some sort of obsession on his part. The person who asked how much his legal appeals were costing taxpayers had a good point. Shirvell will probably try another appeal and I hope it will be denied quickly.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

I just read an article some where, where UM is following Penn States decision and the court ruling on Sandusky very seriously. Long over due coming forward and making sure things are done according to the letter of the law. So sad it took something like this to make them realize we just keep going what they are doing to this point. Good to hear this failed.

Matt Cooper

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

And this case has what to do with Sandusky?


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

Just what we need: A serial stalker in the AG's office. Of course, compared to what we have there now....


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

Mr. Shirvell seems to be seriously disconnected from reality. He's looking for legal redress of what was, to any outsider looking in, an obvious abuse of position. His actions bordered on frightening, let alone beyond the pale of legal. If I were former employers of Mr. Shirvell or the focal point of his obsessive behavior, i.e. Chris Armstrong, I'd be sleeping with one eye open.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:06 p.m.

Does the AG's office have any more graduates of the same "law school" that Shirvell graduated from?


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:38 a.m.

He did all of this while using money that I have to pay to the state to pay his wages and the bills for the electronics he used. He may as well give up and make an offer to Armstrong to settle his case out of court so he can't stop showing how silly he is making himself look. He went against employer policy and got caught, now pay the penalty and stop crying about it.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 5:49 a.m.

This guy was a classified employee and, thus, entitled to these administrative hearings???? Seriously?? This surprises me. Assistant attorneys general, assistant prosecutors, and other government attorneys in most other states are employees at will and, thus, are not afforded these protections. I'm generally not a fan of employment at will, but this is a classic example of why the vast majority of government attorneys are not classified.

Ron Granger

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:38 a.m.

I wish this would just shrivel up and go away.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

And how much has Mr Shirvell's appeal and resulting administrative work cost the taxpayers?


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

Not sure what's worse: Shirvell thoroughly humiliating himself, or still having no clue about it and continuing to drag this on with appeals. If there was ever a time for someone to crawl under a rock for a few years ...

Billy Bob Schwartz

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

Northside: are you saying he should go home?


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

Maybe he should go hide in a closet...


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:52 p.m.

He will need to crawl under that rock for more than a few years, but very aptly put.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

I agree with the decision. Misusing state resources on the dime of his employer is clearly inappropriate, irrespective of the content of his free speech. Assistant attorneys general earn a hefty salary and for Shirvell to be using the government's telephone and computer facilities to advance his attacks on Armstrong are deservedly punished. Shirvell did all this while being a sworn representative of the State of Michigan that is supposed to uphold the law and be ethically beyond reproach. I believe this case against Shirvell had merit and the others that are pending are more difficult to prove. The Personal Protecion Order proceeding was dismissed against Shirvell. The Wasthenaw County Prosecutor declined to charge Shivell criminally with stalking. No decision has been handed out by the Attorney Grievance Commission on the complaint filed by Armstrong's lawyer, Deborah Gordon. The federal court lawsuit by Armstrong against Shirvell is pending. Andrew Shirvell may be spending years in court before all these proceedings are concluded.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

I thought being a flip flopper was the worst thing in the world?

Matt Cooper

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

I see out friend roadman also failed to point out that in criminal courts the standard for conviction is 'beyond and to the exclusion of all other reasonable doubt', whereas in civil courts the standard is much lower, i.e. a 'preponderance of the evidence', meaning more likely than not. Mr. Shirvell has spent the better part of 3 years making a buffoon of himself in the public eye. He should get over it and move on and somehow come to realise that he is plainly in the wrong.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 10:52 a.m.

@demistfy...yep. Seems like our friend is playing both sides of the street here, as he's done before ( although usually strongly favoring one sidewalk over the other-- the one with figurative broken concrete and dog poo).


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:12 a.m.

You were quite a vociferous defender of Shirvell at the time of the original proceedings. Glad you finally saw the light. I hope your new-found equanimity will extend to other local abusers of the First Amendment for whom you have cheered previously.

Urban Sombrero

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

I personally think he's a little "off. But, you gotta admire the little guy's tenacity.

Ypsi Russell

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

Mr Shirvell needs to wake up and realize that gays are people just like him.

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 8:58 p.m.

no. I. don't.

Urban Sombrero

Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

Wow. I totally meant this to be tongue-in-cheek. Sorry everyone took me seriously. I do agree with Ricebrnr, no one should cheer a stalker.


Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 11:37 a.m.

Tenacity is the last thing one should cheer in a stalker. As for being off, methinks he doth protest too much and has perhaps projected his own internal struggles upon Mr Armstrong. I would bet that Mr Shirvell finally realizes this and comes out in the future...


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

The decision is in and should stand.