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Posted on Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:50 a.m.

Assistant AG takes leave of absence after national attention over blog against U-M student body president

By David Jesse

Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell has taken a voluntary leave of absence after generating national attention over a controversial blog that ridicules and denounces the University of Michigan's student body president.

Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, said this morning that media reports saying Cox suspended Shirvell were inaccurate.

Shirvell has been under intense criticism for his anti-gay comments directed toward U-M student body President Chris Armstrong.

Yearout would not comment on the length of the leave or any other details, saying only it was Shirvell’s decision to temporarily step aside from his position as an assistant state attorney general.

The Detroit News reported this morning that Cox had suspended Shirvell, but has since pulled the story.

Cox has said on national television he wasn't planning to fire Shirvell, and his off-hours activities were free speech.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Mike Cox.JPG

Attorney General Mike Cox

Calls for Shirvell's firing have intensified since the case made national news. Michigan attorney general candidate David Leyton issued a statement urging his opponent to join him in pushing for Cox to take action against Shirvell, and Gov. Jennifer Granholm took to the social networking site Twitter late Thursday afternoon to post a message saying she would fire Shirvell if she was the AG.

As of 8:45 a.m. today, nearly 8,500 members had joined a Facebook group advocating for Shirvell to be fired.

As reported Thursday, Armstrong is seeking a restraining order against Shirvell, who is banned from campus. In his letter requesting the order, Armstrong writes of several instances where Shirvell showed up at his home or other places he was at to protest against him.

Campus police are investigating Shirvell for potential harassment, intimidation or stalking, a U-M police spokeswoman said Thursday.

Armstrong and Shirvell are expected to appear in court Monday for a hearing on the personal protection order request.

Armstrong and Shirvell didn't return calls from on Thursday seeking comment.



Wed, Oct 6, 2010 : 4:09 p.m.

I agree with Mr. Bosh's comment above, except that I would put "Christian beliefs" in quotes because many of us who are Christian would take great exception to Mr. Shirvel's deranged remarks and stalking activity. It is not Christian, or any other religion that I know of, to spew hate and fear. Really, if Mr Shirvel does actually believe in the teachings of Jesus, what does he think Jesus would say about this? Since Mr. Shirvel seems to believe that Mr. Armstrong's sexual orientation is sinful (which I believe it is not) I have a feeling that "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" applies directly here.


Wed, Oct 6, 2010 : 4:04 p.m.

I agree with Mr. Bosh's comment above, except that I would put "Christian beliefs" in quotes because many of us who are Christian would take great exception to Mr. Shirvel's deranged remarks and stalking activity. It is not Christian, or any other religion that I know of, to spew hate and fear. Really, if Mr Shirvel does actually believe in the teachings of Jesus, what does he think Jesus would say about this? Since Mr. Shirvel seems to believe that Mr. Armstrong's sexual orientation is sinful (which I believe it is not) I have a feeling that "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" applies directly here.

Frank Bosh

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 9:36 p.m.

Why is is it so difficult for people to get the facts correct. Could it be not reporting the truth in the press in the first place? The Cox underling Shirvelle put in for a leave, he is not suspended and hopefully not allowed to be taking a paid leave. He may be a civil servant but certainly is not acting very civil. By his very actions of continuing to harass by any means possible and stalk a student on State of Michigan, University of Michigan property makes me wonder why an irrational person like this hasn't been arrested yet. Anybody else would have been locked up by now. Since when do Christian beliefs supersede the law of the land.


Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 5:14 p.m.

A latter-day Roy Cohn, perhaps, Mr. Shirvell?


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 11:55 a.m.

@Basic Bob, you are confusing the defense of the "public person" for a civil libel/slader action with the criminal stalking action. EVERYONE has the same protections under the criminal statute. If Armstrong tried to sue Shirvell for slanber/libel, then Shirvell could use the "public person" defence (although he may not win on that one). If you read Armstrong's PPO petition, you will see that many of the claims relate directing to the stalking statute. Armstrong will have the bruden of proof at the PPO hearing to show that (1) Shirvell engaged in this behavior, and (2) that Armstrong was frightened as a result


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 11:43 a.m.

This is the true extreme conservative view. Cox was initially hesitant on doing anything because he has a loyalty to Shirvell for being his campaign manager in 2006. Which is why I read that Cox hired him directly out of Ava Maria Law School. Now I read on Detroit Freep that Cox plans on NOW having a disciplinary hearing when Shirvell returns. You can count that it will be the usual dog and pony show that Cox runs just to appease the mass crowds. Kind of like when he met with Kwame Kilpatrick alone for a meeting and then said afterwards that Kilpatrick was innocent from the claims of the stripper incident. Regardless if he is or isn't, Cox should following policies and procedures versus making his own opinion. DONT RE-ELECT COX 2010. With Snyder not commenting, tells me that he must agree with Shirvells actions. Personally, anyone that opposes equal rights does not have my vote or support.


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 10:39 a.m.

Has anyone running on the GOP ticket for local, state or national office been asked to make a statement regarding this, and if so, who and what was said?

Basic Bob

Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 3:28 p.m.

@green1, Thanks for the legal definition. But where is the proof? And how does that apply to public figures such as the MSA president? I'm not saying Armstrong has it coming, but his position does preclude some of the usual protection that a private citizen might expect.


Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 2:37 p.m.

clownfish...i'm one who wants to both see shirvell kicked to the curb and would prefer that the NYC mosque NOT be built, for reasons amply aired on other threads.But, counter to your post i don't believe a number those speaking here in favor of shirvells limitless "free speech" were the same folks who opposed the mosque...quite the opposite in fact. A number are indeed consistant in their belief that free expression---no matter how obnoxious ( in shirvells case) or insensitive and gratuitously provocative ( in the mosque instance)or just plain crazy/libelous/delusional ( and moderators have forbidden reference to issues by such posters on other threads!) --trumps all other considerations, from minimal commonsense to minimal decency.


Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 1:24 p.m.

What I find interesting is that many of the posters here that support Mr. Shirvills "right" to free speech are some of the same people that said the New York Muslims have a right to build their Community Center, but should know better because of the "message it may send" or the feelings it may hurt. So, on one hand, someone filled with fear/hatred for a particular lifestyle should be free to exercise his rights, but an entire group should be denied their rights because of harmed feelings of others filled with fear/hatred of that religion. Fascinating.


Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 1:13 p.m. delighted to hear that you, as a republican, join in the condemnation of shirvell/cox. But it's not me that's stereotyping republicans. Lately they do it to themselves, by drumming out of the increasingly shrill and partisan shirvell-ian fold moderates, who are castigated as "RINOS"---'republicans in name only'. It's as if they are disavowing great republican leaders like teddy roosevelt, lincoln and the more recent respectable moderates that i mentioned( including mccain, pre his being 'palin-ized'!). And again, to be fair ( to myself), in earlier posts i made it clear i have nothing but contempt for ultra far left ( and indeed 'outer space') types who are anti-republican too. Two have posted here, although,interestingly giving shirvell a 'pass' in the name of their dubious 'free speech run amok-itude'.


Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 11:56 a.m.

THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT) Act 328 of 1931 750.411h Stalking; definitions; violation as misdemeanor; penalties; probation; conditions; evidence of continued conduct as rebuttable presumption; additional penalties. Sec. 411h. (1) As used in this section: (a) Course of conduct means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of 2 or more separate noncontinuous acts evidencing a continuity of purpose. (b) Emotional distress means significant mental suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling. (c) Harassment means conduct directed toward a victim that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable individual to suffer emotional distress and that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress. Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose. (d) Stalking means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested. (e) Unconsented contact means any contact with another individual that is initiated or continued without that individual's consent or in disregard of that individual's expressed desire that the contact be avoided or discontinued. Unconsented contact includes, but is not limited to, any of the following: (i) Following or appearing within the sight of that individual. (ii) Approaching or confronting that individual in a public place or on private property. (iii) Appearing at that individual's workplace or residence. (iv) Entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual. (v) Contacting that individual by telephone. (vi) Sending mail or electronic communications to that individual. (vii) Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual. (f) Victim means an individual who is the target of a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment. (2) An individual who engages in stalking is guilty of a crime as follows: (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both. (b) If the victim was less than 18 years of age at any time during the individual's course of conduct and the individual is 5 or more years older than the victim, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both. (3) The court may place an individual convicted of violating this section on probation for a term of not more than 5 years. If a term of probation is ordered, the court may, in addition to any other lawful condition of probation, order the defendant to do any of the following: (a) Refrain from stalking any individual during the term of probation. (b) Refrain from having any contact with the victim of the offense. (c) Be evaluated to determine the need for psychiatric, psychological, or social counseling and if, determined appropriate by the court, to receive psychiatric, psychological, or social counseling at his or her own expense. (4) In a prosecution for a violation of this section, evidence that the defendant continued to engage in a course of conduct involving repeated unconsented contact with the victim after having been requested by the victim to discontinue the same or a different form of unconsented contact, and to refrain from any further unconsented contact with the victim, gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that the continuation of the course of conduct caused the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested. (5) A criminal penalty provided for under this section may be imposed in addition to any penalty that may be imposed for any other criminal offense arising from the same conduct or for any contempt of court arising from the same conduct.


Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 11:07 a.m.

@DeeDee, I don't know who this Andrew Shirvell is but you and others are blowing things way out of proportion. To you, he has now become a stalker. Only things that should be asked is, did he break any laws? Or, violated his responsibility as an assistant attorney general? As far as I can see, he used his personal time and resources to express his opposition to Chris Armstrong. It might be in bad taste, but is that wrong? Did anyone here express their opposition and hatred of George Bush, Clinton, Obama, or any other politician? Without free speech to express our opposition, we have nothing. The establishment is using "hate speech" and "political correctness" to stifle free speech; thus, dissent. Everything these days have to be "politically correct" or it is considered "hate speech." Even if something is true, it is considered "hate speech" if someone does not like it.


Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 10:16 a.m.

Does Cox really think that he can call this behavior protected speech and that should take care of it? First there is a lot more than speech here, with actual visits to campus by Shirvel and the personal nature of the attacks. Second, it has been made clear that some of the most vile, disgusting and disturbing behavior can be called free speech these days. Take for the example the torture of animals on video that was recently declared as free speech by the supreme court. When will we come to our senses about the limits of what can be considered free speech?


Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 9:52 a.m.

Cox said his off-duty activities are his free speech. Lordy Cox - to think you ran for governor. That would have been a fiasco. To support a stalker is pretty lame. I hope we aren't paying his salary while he sits home.

Sam Adems

Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

I'm disappointed in the coverage of Andrew Shirvell by This is not the first time that Andrew Shirvell has gotten press for his extracurricular activities in Ann Arbor but if you read these news stories you'd have no idea. Here is what's missing: Andrew Shirvell started a boycott of a local well known pizza store because they had a "rainbow" sticker on their front door. Andrew Shirvell started a boycott of a local community bank because this bank added former State Senator Alma Wheeler Smith to its board. When it was pointed out to him that this church's current bank (also a local community bank) had donated to Planned Parenthood, he didn't add that bank to his boycott. Andrew Shirvell was kicked off several University of Michigan Law School and University of Michigan Catholic Church email lists because he was spamming the lists with his offensive posts about his two boycotts. The boycotts were considered to be completely ineffective. Andrew Shirvell distributed literature attacking Alma Wheeler Smith when she ran for State Rep that had no attribution of who paid for the political speech in apparent violation of state campaign law. Perhaps in future stories reporters can mention the past actions of this man which are echoes of the current actions that many find so troubling?


Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

Mike Cox should resign and take Andrew Shirvel with him!


Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 8:54 a.m.

It's shocking that my Michigan tax dollars are going to pay a creepy stalker who publishes hate speech and harasses a college student (i.e, a kid). Even more so that this person works in a part of our state goverment involved in enforcing "liberty and justice for all." It may be "free speech," but it's also "hate speech," and stalking, and for a "leader" in our state government to be engaging in this conduct should be an embarrassment to every single citizen.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:42 p.m.

One thing nobody has mentioned is that laws covering free speech have been increasingly challenged by the internet and ability to post offensive pictures and comments for the "world" to see. I found the photo of Mr. Armstrong in which Shirvell photoshopped a rainbow flag with nazi swastika onto his face extremely distasteful and in poor judgement. If Armstrong was black, would it be OK to put up photos representing the KKK or suggesting he be "lynched" for being born who he was? His actions, as far as I'm concerned go well beyond the boundaries of "free speech"


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:59 p.m.

Making far too much out of a spat between two grown men. Shirvell has the right to say whatever he wants as long as he is not threatening Armstrong. Armstrong has the right to say whatever he wants about Shirvell as long as he does not threaten him. It is that simple. These are not school kids. Order of Angell seems eerily similar to Skull and Bones at Yale. The elite group where papa Bush and Jr. Bush were members. Skull and Bones had initiations where they did mock human sacrifices and many other perverted and strange acts. Also the skull used by the Skull and Bones is suppose to be that of Geranimo. No wonder W turned out the way he did. If you don't believe me, Google, "Skull and Bones + Geranimo."


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:47 p.m.

Like most state, city and federal employees, firing them for speech related offenses is very difficult. I don't like what has happened here, and I don't want to see it continue, but I also don't want the state to pay millions of dollars in a wrongful discharge suit. The leave is about as good as it will get, until the behavior rises to actual criminal charges. Changing the protections in union contracts and the laws of the State of Michigan is the only way to make swift discharge possible in future incidents. While I don't like the fact that Cox did not outright fire him, I understand why he did not, he is saving tax payers potentially millions that the state does not have.

Joe Hood

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:22 p.m.

@Ghost What are his actions? His actions seem to be pointing out the actions of a group that is represented by an individual. Where is the crime?


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:19 p.m.

He's taken a "leave of absence".... Wonderful. We are now paying tax money for an official to do nothing at all while he hides.

Matt Cooper

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:06 p.m.

@silly sally Actually, every member of Facebook can set the privacy settings for their own page to allow, or to disallow, anyone they choose to either see or not see their page, and/or post on it, and/or read what's on it. Look up my FB page for instance. If I don't add you to my friends list, you can't see a single thing on my FB page.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:49 p.m.

Demistify: An assistant attorney general in Michigan is not a political appointee. They are civil service employees who have a property interest in their employment protected by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Should Cox punish Shirvell for engaging in protected Free Speech on his own time, it could result in legal action against the State of Michigan. Cox is smart enough to not be drawn into a lawsuit by taking adverse action against Shirvell, who could then hire Geoffrey Fieger and get a big settlement.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:22 p.m.

@bedrog I consider myself more republican than democrat, and I strongly disagree with the actions of Shirvell and Mike Cox's way of dealing with the whole situation. I agree with most of the comments on here, and will stand up for my student body president (I'm an LSA freshman). I think Chris Armstrong is showing an enormous amount of strength of character throughout this whole situation, and I'm proud to have him represent my school. Generalizations such as the ones you make about Republicans only serve to deepen the divide in an already polarized nation. I was also present at the student convocation where Armstrong spoke about "discovering yourself" at college. I'd just like to make known that Shirvell completely takes Armstrong's words out of context when he says it was a way of encouraging freshmen to experiment sexually. He was talking about clubs and student orgs and encouraging us to seek out new opportunities.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:21 p.m.

I have seen his actions compared to racism but imagine for a minute that he was protesting a doctor at UM performing abortions. Abortion protestors have done at least as much to harass doctors and the Supreme Court has found that to be protected speech. I hate his views but I am not sure that they don't still count as free speech.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:04 p.m.

Let us imagine the screams that would be coming from the righties if the man were a Democrat. Then, let us marvel at Cox's utter lack of class, never mind integrity. Anyway, these hypocrites will be in charge soon. Perhaps the misery of massive structural unemployment can be mitigated by morbid amusement. Oh, Michigan, my Michigan!


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 6:27 p.m.

"Basic Bob" assumes all of those posting in condemnation of shirvell/cox are non republicans. Sadly, he may well be right... In which case its a sorry confirmation of how low the republicans have sunk in the era of beck,limbaugh, tom delay and assorted other screechers and thugs. where oh where are the likes of lowell weicker and nelson rockefeller? However, I'm enough of a cockeyed optimist to think that some of the majority posting here are in that mold, just as some anti-republicans i know have 'mishugass' ( yiddish for 'craziness') of their own, per an earlier post.

Somewhat Concerned

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 6:13 p.m.

Okay, as long as it's a 30 year leave of absence. You can hate gays, like gays, or not give a flip about gays and still be astounded that a public official would act like this. This time around it's not the usual politically correct overreaction. This time it's about conduct that truly is outrageous.

Basic Bob

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 6:07 p.m.

All you people posting about Shirvell need to get one thing straight. You are not the police, nor the prosecutor, nor the judge, nor the jury. He has not been charged with any crime, much less a hate crime, and yet you want summary justice already. Shirvell does not represent anyone except himself, and I might say he does a poor job of that. But we have this thing called Rule of Law in this great nation of ours, and it can't be bypassed just because someone's feelings are hurt. And another point, you can't vote against Cox because he isn't running for office. He already lost in the Republican primary (which I'm sure you didn't participate in). Even the dog catcher is safe, for now.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 5:12 p.m.

@LRF, libel is never covered by the First Ammendment. Shirvell has it in writing, on his blog, that Armstrong (the U of M student) is a Nazi. To me, this falls under libel. It certainly meets the 3 criteria. 1) It's in written form. 2) It's untrue. 3) It was done with malicious intent. Besides that, Shirvell has stalked the student AT HIS HOME. That is not protected speech either. That is harassment, plain and simple.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 5:02 p.m.

Bravo, Mr. Cox. What a lovely way to say "I was only kidding!" to all those high school students you spoke to, urging them not to tolerate cyber-bullying, giving them advice on how to cope with it and saying that your office was behind them 100%. A glorious way to exemplify the "Do as I say, not as I do." mentality and confirming that you really could care less about bullying, regardless of the programs you've promoted. How wonderful to find out that what you *TRULY* believe is that bullying is a protected, First Amendment right.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 4:36 p.m.

This whole thing is absurd to say the least. Have we become so politically correct as a nation that we even restrict a citizen's right to free speech? If someone doesn't like an individual they are allowed under the 1st amendment to voice their opinion regardless of the manner in which they do so as long as they don't use physical harm whether the object of their disapproval is gay or otherwise.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 4:31 p.m.

Maybe he can't be fired right away, but let's get the process started. Michigan can't pay people for full time stalking, maybe we can save a month or two of salary for this guy......(alleged stalking, that is)

Jim Walker

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 4:20 p.m.

Mr. Shirvell is a disgrace to the state and should be fired. Maybe the blog was legal free speech, but stalking is a crime. Mr. Cox failed to do his duty to get rid of this person from state employment, and perhaps to advise Mr. Armstrong on how to pursue a criminal complaint against Mr. Shirvell.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 3:30 p.m.

pursuant to DEMISTIFY's TO 'ROADMAN'...yes, free speech does not imply agreed with,let alone rewarded,speech. And a sinecure at the public teat for shirvell would be a reward for atrocious behavior that violates his occupational duties. He should be fired, at the least. Likewise a congressional seat for one of the ringleaders of the local synagogue harassers "roadman" admiringly noted here and exhibitionistic " GREEN PARTY' perpetual 'alsoran' similarly absurd to the point of obscenity.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 3:18 p.m.

i would like to correct the people using the words thomas moore. it is thomas more. you know, the guy who lost his head duing the reign of henry the 8th. they are a right wing catholic legal group. they hate gays.

michigan face

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 3:14 p.m.

How convenient for Cox and the Republicans - Shirvell asks for a leave and now Cox says on WWJ that they can not hold hearings or further motions while he is on leave. This is what they continue to get away with - Republicans are holding our State hostage!


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 3:11 p.m.

this is still not the same thing as any of the other incidents mentioned. you can try to stretch it that far but it still does not make it so. this is one person attacking an individual on the internet and in person. and he is doing it so he can set up a hate crimes lawsuit just like the michigan family association did. this man is stalking this kid to further an agenda. this is the very definition of a hate crime. he wants to be fired so he can sue for the christian wrong. i say fire him and expose the agenda. anyone who cannot see what is being done here is willfuly ignorant. they set out to target this kid. during his interview shirvell states he got the name from the alliance defense fund. that should have been the tip off. this is the use of public office to further a cause and that is wrong wrong wrong. he needs to resign and so does cox.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 2:53 p.m.

Roadman, thank you for your catalog of despicable groups and their actions, some very similar (such as the neo-Nazis parading in Skokie and their Ann Arbor counterparts parading in front of the synagogue), some more esoteric. You point out that they have not been prosecuted (because the authorities took a probably overindulgent view of their First Amendment rights), but you go on with the absurd claim that this absolves them of any opprobrium. All the behaviors you list are repugnant and wrong, even if they have not led to jail time. Furthermore, the fact that some actions of an individual or group are deemed to be protected free speech does not give them blanket immunity from accountability for other activities that go beyond speech (even when they occur at the same time). The First Amendment prevents the government from taking criminal sanctions against someone for his speech, but it does not extend to him any privileges as a reward. In particular, a political appointee can certainly be fired for obnoxious speech, or indeed for incurring the displeasure of his superior for any reason.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 2:42 p.m.

Shirvel doesn't represent Christianity, Catholicism, Opes Dei, Thomas Moore, or Ava Maria. Christian bashers are using an obviously unwell individual to paint a whole people. In that respect Shirvel has done more damage to our Christian mission to convert our neighbors by love than any hundred atheists. Anti-gay bigots aren't any better than anti-Christian bigots. Jesus didn't have any use for either, until they turn away from such behavior.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 2:42 p.m.

Again to all who believe this is about free speech. What part of stalking, cyber-stalking, and harassment do you not understand? Do you really believe that the university would ban Shervill from campus if it were a freedom of speech issue? Would Chris Armstrong have to request a PPO if it were only about free speech? Are you really that willfully ignorant? Or are you just so hyper-focused on one aspect of this travesty that you are blind to the big picture?


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 2:31 p.m.

i do not think this can be likened to nazi's and the klan doing rallies. this is someone targeting one specific person over one characteristic of the persons being. it is not the same thing. and he uses his position to lend cache to it. there is no defense for shirvell with the possible exception of insanity.

Mr. Tibbs

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 2:29 p.m.

free speech is free speech is free speech. what part of you must accept the ugly with the "pretty" do you not understand? do you not understand this is one more nail in the coffin of free speech in that certain people are special and beyond debate? are you this stupid to fail to see that you are asking people in power to limit your OWN right to certain language? you have built foot baths for those who belong to a culture that kills homosexuals for whatever reason, yet we give our money for that, and for any reason we dissagree YOU ask to have laws passed that limit speech that will include someday your own. wow. I thought you U of M people had some sort of an much did you pay for it, and can you get some of your money back?


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 2:16 p.m.

I call upon Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox to fire Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell for his shameful and disgusting Internet harassment of University of Michigan-Ann Arbor's student assembly president. Mr. Shirvell doesn't like the fact this student is openly gay. Mr. Shirvell likens his harassment of this student to a political campaign and claims he is not a bigot, just a Christian citizen exercising his First Amendment rights. What Mr. Shirvell is actually doing is attacking someone for expressing their own First Amendment rights and wrapping himself in the cloak of religion as justification. Mr. Shirvell is so obsessed with this young man that he has created a blog using the young man's name for the sole purpose of endlessly bashing him and anyone who agrees with him. This is intolerable. Mr. Shirvell is using his position to further a radical Christian agenda designed to vilify and deny the rights of gay people, and he is using this young man as a scapegoat. Enough is enough.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:55 p.m.

Andrew Shirvell is no better than Sarah Palin's WITCH HUNTER! He is doing exactly what the witch hunter does.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:54 p.m.

to the editor. my comment addressed to mr. cox is an email i sent to the attorney generals offce. i sent it today.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:52 p.m.

Andrew Shirvell is no bettert than Sarah Palin's WITCH HUNTER! He is doing exactly what the witch hunter does. my post was removed because i asserted cox worked for gary glenn. well, he does. that is why cox went to court to strip benefits from gay domestic partners after gary glenn spent the entire anti marriage campaign saying it was not about benefits. use your brains people!


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

make it a permanent leave, g'day


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:43 p.m.

i know that i am right about these people. shirvell is a political hire. he has been embeded in the attorney generals office. he is not working for the people of michigan. it is obvious.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:34 p.m.

Mr. Shirvell, I find it obvious that all you are doing is trying to set up a test case to overturn hate crime laws which protect gays. I am aware that the Michigan Family Association got laughed out of court over the issue and need a martyr for the cause. It seems that you have signed up for this position. You said it all when you mentioned the Alliance Defense Fund. What you are doing is unchristian and inhuman. I watched your interview with Anderson Cooper. It made me realize that all the comments on the web about you being a self loathing closet case were most probably true. No denials on your part will ever be believed as it is OBVIOUS. You hate this young man because he is everything you will never ever in a million years be, attractive, charming, likeable, and popular. It is time for you to pack up and end your scheme. As a citizen of this state I do not know why I should have to tollerate the likes of you in an unelected position. BTW I wouldn't go touting Ave Maria law school. That joint is a joke just like Pat Robertson's diploma mill. You need to resign.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:31 p.m.

One more comment, then THAT'S IT for time I spend on this issue. Here is my conspiracy theory (laugh): Republican Mike Cox wanted to be governor. To get some hold on the conservative republican catholic vote, he hires Shirvell as campaign manager, then as assistant attorney. Shirvell graduated from Ave Maria Law School, an ultra conservative catholic institution therefore he has connections with wealth and power. Unfortunately for these two dummies they underestimated the astonishment and visceral ANGER their behavior has generated. HENCE, their conspiracy has failed and they have been reveal as the low-brows they are.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:24 p.m.

One more comment, then THAT'S IT for time I spend on this issue. Here is my conspiracy theory (laugh): Republican Mike Cox wanted to be governor. To get some hold on the conservative republican catholic vote, he hires Shirvell as campaign manager then assistant attorney. Shirvell graduated from Ave Maria Law School, an ultra conservative catholic institution and due to this he has connections with wealth and power. Unfortunately for these two dummies they underestimated the astonishment and visceral ANGER their behavior has generated. HENCE their conspiracy has failed and they have been reveal as the low-brows they are.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:22 p.m.

How nice that my friend /straightman 'roadman' posted as he did...yes, indeedy, several of the very cases of uber-obnoxious 'protected' speech he mentions should indeed be revisited...and hopefully will be as a result of the shirvell/armstrong incident. 'Roadman' and his colleagues should recognize that "some ( protected) words ( and actions ) are fighting words"( and actions)...a point that has itself swayed juries in relevant cases, such as hollywood stars who were given 'passes' for slugging papparazzi who were less vile and pushy than, oh hypothetically, bull-horn screeching local jew baiters. not a threat, understand...just an accurate observation.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:19 p.m.

I think Cox handled this properly. When the kid lawyered up, there was the obvious threat of an expensive lawsuit against the state. If Cox fires Shirvell, then he's essentially admitting his conduct violated official guidelines and that may mean taxpayer liability. But if there's a clear delineation between the job and personal conduct, that limits the state's liability. The important thing here is Armstrong's safety. That's at risk whether his stalker is employed or not. And that's a job for the local police. Those who are all over Cox about this issue seem to have more a partisan beef with the AG than a personal one. And that includes our governor, who is well versed with civil law herself and should know better.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

this is a blatent attempt to challenge hate crime protections for gays!


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:02 p.m.



Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:01 p.m.

is the assistant attorney general of michigan part of a secret gay cabal within the religious right determined to bring them down through excessive behavior and thus exposing them for the hate mongers they are? why will he not address this? what has he got to hide? this man is PERSECUTING this kid in the public square BECAUSE HE IS GAY. and we have to accept it that he will not be terminated from his position within the public trust. he was a political hire. why must we accept this? this is not free speech. this is the persecution of one single person in the public square by the PUBLIC SERVANT. a person he selected to persecute DUE TO ONE ASPECT OF THE PERSONS BEING. this is the very definition of a hate crime. and cox thinks this guy has every right to persecute this young man IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE without reprisal. this violates the public trust. THE PUBLIC SQUARE IS WHERE THEY BURNED THE WITCHES. and that is what this guy is doing.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : noon

The Court will have to determine whether Shirvell's conduct crossed the line from Free Speech to harassment. Recall that there was a group of anti-affirmative action demonstrators that protested outside the home of Mark Bernstein, a member of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, in Ann Arbor. This was clearly protected Free Speech and Bernstein met with the protestors. Also keep in mind that the Jewish Witnesses for Peace vigils outside Temple Beth Israel have gone on for years on every Saturday, sometimes with bullhorn accompaniment and the Ann Arbor Police Department and City Attorney's office have recognized this conduct as protected by the Free Speech Clause of the United States Constitution. In the late 1970s the ACLU defended the right of neo-Nazis to demonstrate in the heavily Jewish Illinois city of Skokie. It was upheld by the courts. In 1998, the Ku Klux Klan demonstrated in Ann Arbor and hurled racial and anti-Semitic chants at counter-demonstators. The Courts protected their right to demonstrate and they were guarded by 273 law enforcement officers. Shirvell may be a jerk, to be sure, but in the end Judge Nancy Francis is likely to enforce his Free Speech rights. The stories linking Shirvell as a campaign official for Michael Cox may be the most damaging part of this story for the Attorney General.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:53 a.m.

AG Cox can thank his assistant and former campaign manager Shirvell for doing irreparable harm to his future political endeavors. The fact that this assistant wasn't fire immediately and allowed to take a leave of abscence (and I'm betting it is a PAID leave) is evidence that AG Cox does not hold the higher moral ground in this incident. Go ahead and stick by your buddy, typical Republican mentality.

John of Saline

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:51 a.m.

I'm not sure giving a fellow like this more spare time is a good thing. Not saying he should be in a position of responsibility with the state--he shouldn't--but we know he's an obsessive stalker-type, so "more spare time" might be bad.

DeGuyz in Mississippi

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:35 a.m.

It will be interesting to see if in fact any federal laws were violated, will the state prosecute or will the federal government. Hate is hate. It comes in many different forms and is dispensed in many different ways. As with the loss of life with the younger generations over this same type of mentality, I expect what constitutes "Hate" will be expanded to include much more in the near future.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:13 a.m.

As an Assistant Attorney General, Andrew Shirvell represents the Office of the Attorney General and the People of the Great State of Michigan. His reprehensible behavior reflects poorly on the reputation of the Office of the Attorney General. Would you want to be represented by Mr. Shirvell in a court of law?


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:10 a.m.

When someone shows up at your home, follows you around and harrasses you in front of others, at what point is this not a physical stalker? If this was a 20 year old female, the prosecuter's office would be all over it. Oh, that's right, a male should 'man up' and ignore. I give Mr. Armstrong credit for tolerating this scarey SOB for as long as he has.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 10:59 a.m.

I truly hope that the next article regarding this fool is reporting his resignation. Maybe Mike Cox won't fire him, but he can step down.

peg dash fab

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 10:24 a.m.

maybe some enterprising reporter can dig out the rules that govern suspending or firing an ass't AG.

Silly Sally

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 10:18 a.m.

"Or to trawl through the face book pages of the obsession,... seeking "evidence" to put up on the aforementioned blog." Since when are Facebook pages private? Its the internet. Its funny how so many of these comm enters attack Shirvell but were silent when left wing types attack conservative speakers at UM Mr. Shirvell is over the top with his attacks. He is harmless, though. He is a cyber bully, but nothing ever physical. I strongly disagree with his tactics. An interesting not, though, is how so many on this blog seemly were quiet when BAMN did similar antics to Jennifer Gratz over her successful anti-affirmative lawsuit against UM. That must have been much more scary, since BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) is a group of many while Shirvell is a loner. Shirvell's actions are wrong, and rightly condemned, but why the silence when left wing types and groups employ similar tactics? Ave Maria is a fine law school with a high graduation rate and a very high rate of passing the state bar - the best measure of a Shirvell is a fool with his tactics, but so are many, many others who do similar tactics to right wing politicians who attempt to speak at UM. Be consistent, or shut up.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

Cox might need to study Constitutional law again. It is true that Shirvell's actions are protected by the First Amendment - he most likely cannot be enjoined against saying what he has said. However, that has nothing to do with the fact that Shirvell's actions indicate a meanness of spirit and immaturity that makes him completely unsuited to be an assistant AG. As Gov. Granholm said, if she were AG, Shirvell would already be on the street.

Joe Hood

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:25 a.m.

Zealot vs zealot, spy vs spy. Seems like a lot of effort has gone into this, what is the whole story about? Usually there is a second side to a story.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:23 a.m.

I also want to remind readers that Cox wouldn't want to fire his 2006 campaign manager. I think Cox is a snake and I don't believe anything he says. According to other online reports, Cox hired Shirvell straight out of law school after Shirvell was his campaign manager. Can you imagine being the AG Assistant with no experience? That is not common. Pretty scary at the thought that our state attorney's are so unqualified.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:17 a.m.

"Chambliss staffer removed over anti-gay comment" This Republican senator fired a staffer for making anti-gay comments. I am disgusted with Cox and his stance. I hope that people remember his actions and does not get re-elected. My guess is that Shirvell stepped back after advice to let things cool down with public opinion and then he will go back to business as usual.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:14 a.m.

It's a short countdown until Shirvell becomes a conservative causes martyr. He has been a protester for many things through the years, this is just one that he is taking too far. I wish more people on his side would realize it is not what he's saying, but *how* he is saying it - he is just a few steps away from Fred Phelps territory IMHO. I won't malign him personally because of his sincerity and devotion to his cause, but he certainly could (and should) be approaching his causes in a more constructive, productive method..


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:09 a.m.

My thinking is this: what is Mike Cox's judgment in hiring the guy. Shrivell has been off the rails since he was a undergraduate student and his activism crossed 'danger to others' before he got his law license. Really, what is the deal?


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:01 a.m.

@Mike: he can say whatever he wants. I see a bunch of confusion here in these comments. The legal issue, the possible hate crime (except it can't be) is that Chris Armstrong has been stalked, followed, intimidated. Sexual Orientation has been carefully excluded from the civil rights laws so it is not a hate crime technically. But Stalking is a crime and internet bullying is something clearly defined by the state and Shrivell's behavior fit that description as well.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:52 a.m.

Steve, could you clarify how they justified banning him from campus? Is there a stalking complaint or a Personal protection order or was he given a trespass warning?


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:50 a.m.

Speechless, great post.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:44 a.m.

So odd. I looked at the blog and saw a lot of criticism, but nothing that would rise to a "hate crime" by any stretch of the word. Stalking? That would require this idiot to continue imposing in person at least two times after being told to stop. Perhaps I missed something perusing the site, the problem was it is hard to continue to read since it is so silly. What is most odd to me is this man's obsession with UM student govt after he has left school and has a real job. The fact is, UM Student Govt is worthless and pretty much invisible. Very few students participate and barely give a hoot what stu govt does and they hardly provide any real service to the majority of the student body, thus they have no influence on the U admin. MSA has a funding lifeline that borders on unfairness to me. (I am sorry if things have changed and they are highly worshiped. Doubt it.) Students had to pay the MSA fee at registration. No choice. Back in the days I was a student, there was uproar and the best you could get (one year) was a negative checkoff - you had to request the fee refund. So if you didn't get around to it you had to support MSA. I would have preferred a positive, that is, you had to add the fee, showing you had some desire to contribute. Problem is either pos/neg choice, so few wanted to support MSA they could not get any funding to get money they waste, so the U gave in and made it mandatory. Education is so expensive, you should not be forced to fund something you do not desire to, especially if it is non essential and does nothing for you. Typically nobody notices MSA at all. So this "uproar" is great publicity for them. If it were not happening, MSA would whither back into the woodwork and very few would pay any attention. Perhaps this is all a scam to get some free publicity. It has up to the national level. Seeing this twit on his blog, it would not surprise me this was all planned. Anyone consider that? The scariest part is that Shirvel is/was an Asst AG.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:39 a.m.

Cox IS being a responsible public official by not firing him for exercising his right to free speech. Once again, people get caught up in the outrage and want to suspend our basic rights and freedoms for a quick fix to a bad situation. As a responsible AG, he needs to either convince Shirvell to resign, or he needs to fire him as soon as he's found guilty of stalking, cyber-bullying, or whatever charges get filed against him. Folks - we all have basic protections under the law, including this piece of garbage.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:29 a.m.

Wow, you REALLY need to do something wrong to have both the right and left wing wacko commenters on this site calling you a moron. Shirvell is doing a great service by uniting us all!


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:29 a.m.

One would expect that the current Republican attorney general contender, along with Rick Snyder and other major GOP state candidates, had a word or two with Mike Cox. It is quite reasonable to speculate that they told him his loyalty to Shirvell, one of his AG assistants and a former campaign point person, has become highly toxic to the Republican statewide ticket. Shirvell is just the sort of reactionary fanatic who could undermine the GOP's efforts to market itself to the more conservative Democrats. Allowing him to remain fully active as one of Cox's employees would give Michigan voters a stark reminder of the fundamentalist nuttiness lurking inside the state GOP. At this point, Snyder might be far enough ahead in the polls to survive the political fallout if Shirvell continued his daily work for Cox. The assistant AG's off-the-job antics, however, could cost the Michigan Republicans dearly in other key contests for Attorney General, Secretary of State, Supreme Court, university regent, and so on. It might impact a few swing districts in the state. One also wonders if Tom Monaghan, the overlord of Andrew Shirvell's law school alma mater, will repudiate Michigan Republicans for finally shoving aside one of his prized graduates. Shirvell's actions appear to reflect the Opus Dei mindset of the former Ann Arbor pizza magnate who once desired to demonstrate superior piety by erecting an enormous crucifix for all to see.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:20 a.m.

As Cox knows full well, as an Assistant Attorney General and an officer of the court, his "off ours" expressions are not free speech. So, why "voluntary, temporary leave of absence"? Why not a permanent discharge for cause? Cox is just afraid of offending his ultra-right wing base, which reveals even more about his approach to his own office than it does his lack of judgement in handling this hate-monger on his staff.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:09 a.m.

How much of his blog was created while he was on payroll? A responsible AG would be starting an investigation!


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:04 a.m.

Now Andrew will have more time to blog. He can do it during the day as well - not just in the evenings.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:02 a.m.

EyeHeart2, I don't want to wait for Cox to "investigate" and find no wrong doing on Shirvals part. And per Mike Cox, Kwame didn't have a party that led to a death. After all he "investigated"....and after his closed door meeting with Kwame, Cox closed that case and ordered MSP to back off. So there you go. Believe what Cox says. I don't.

David Jesse

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:01 a.m.

We just heard from the AG's office, who has confirmed that Shirvell has taken a leave and has not been suspended as Cox told the Detroit News yesterday


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:41 a.m.

Let us not forget that AG Mike Cox filed an amicus brief to support the repeal of the Prop 8 decision. And Mike Cox fought against domestic partnership benefits a few years back as well. Let's just say that his track record appears to be of the anti-gay nature. I fear Michigan's problems go a lot deeper than Shirvell. Do Not settle for suspension, Shirvell will regroup with the aid of the Thomas Moore Law Center or the ADF and paint himself as a victim. Trust me, you will be told that Christianity is under attack.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:37 a.m.

Mike Cox is a joke, he looked like an absolute fool AC 360 standing up for this "low-level" employee. Only after this story was put in the national spotlight does he stop protecting Shirvell. Shirvell should have been fired a long time ago, his behavior is beyond inappropriate & juvenile -- it is reprehensible, threatening & dangerous. Cox cannot get out of office soon enough. And to think that this man wanted to be our governor -- again, what a joke.

Steve Pepple

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:33 a.m.

A comment containing name-calling has been removed.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:26 a.m.

Suspended - what does that exactly mean? He continues to get paid, correct? I suppose Cox will say he's 'investigating' the allegations and Shirvell will continue to collect his paycheck in the meantime. Shirvell and Cox are done as of January correct? So it's likely Shirvell will get paid until then but not do any work as Cox continues to investigate? Seems like pretty mild treatment for his behavior and we taxpayers foot the bill.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:16 a.m.

Cox has showed a marked lack of integrity and good judgement in this case. In my mind, his political career (what's left of it) is over. I wouldn't vote for him for dog-catcher.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:11 a.m.

The thing is though, free speech is not the issue here the stalking of Chris Armstrong is. It's one thing to have a hateful blog where one spews homophobic conspiracy theories to one's black-hearted content; it's another to stand outside the house of the object of one's affection, er, ire, with a video camera. Or to trawl through the face book pages of the obsession, and the friends of the obsession, seeking "evidence" to put up on the aforementioned blog. Shirvell's behavior is disquieting to say the least.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 6:56 a.m.

Haste makes waste. Even more so today as it seems 9 out 10 have a Feiger on speed dial. Any person that makes a quick decision and fires someone without weighing all the possible outcomes is crazy. To do so could cause millions to be lost (not to mention the cost to defend) in law suits. It is a no win situation. Free speech is exactly that and it could still end up costing. At least his political career won't be over because of it. In the end it is going to cost us money to protect his job.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 6:50 a.m.

A state public employee banned from the campus of a state university. Perfect. Gee, we're really going to miss you, Mike Cox. Too bad about that governor thing.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 6:44 a.m.

What blows my mind is that Cox and others keep saying it's about freedom of speech. How can they ignore Shirvell showing up at Chris Armstrong's home, following his friends, disrupting an MSA meeting, and getting banned from campus, just for starters? Willful ignorance? It was past time for Cox to take action, and it's obvious he did so only because of public outcry. Suspension was the cowardly route to take and certainly not enough. He needs to fire Shirvell.

Steve Pepple

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 6:44 a.m.

A comment has been removed that violated our conversation guidelines. Please refrain from name-calling and disparaging personal attacks.

Gary Printz

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 6:23 a.m.

About flippin' time. Why does the Attorney General have to wait until there's a public uproar to do anything about this? And he wanted to be govenor?

Steve Pepple

Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 6:04 a.m.

The story has been updated to clarify that Andrew Shirvel is banned from the University of Michigan campus.


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 5:47 a.m.

Can we say "hate crime"? if this was race based it would be!


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 5:47 a.m.

If he was a responsible public official he would have fired this person on the spot. This office should be above reproach and is there to protect the citizens of Michigan. When one of his assistants did the opposite, he defended him. To claim ignorance, after this has been bandied around for weeks and he has steadfastly defended the Shirvel person, made it clear he was fully aware of what was going on. It's too late Cox. To call your assistant Attorney General a "low level" attorney is insulting to all taxpayers. What does that say about the office? This whole thing makes me ill.