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Posted on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 5:56 p.m.

Democratic AG candidate calls for Mike Cox to fire assistant over blog attacking U-M student body president

By David Jesse

Michigan attorney general candidate David Leyton today called on his opponent to join him in demanding that Attorney General Mike Cox fire one of his assistants for “harassing and stalking” University of Michigan student body President Chris Armstrong.

The story made national news Tuesday night when CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewed Andrew Shirvell about his hate-filled website, which calls Armstrong “Satan’s representative on the student assembly” and a “privileged pervert.”

“It’s absolutely outrageous that Mike Cox continues to give Andrew Shirvell a generous taxpayer-funded salary, even while he cyber-stalks and intimidates a young college student,” Leyton, a Democrat, said in a press release.

Leyton, the Genesee County prosecuting attorney, is running against former Court of Appeals Court Judge Bill Schuette for the state attorney general post.

Cox, who made an unsuccessful run for governor in the Republican primary, issued a statement earlier this month rebuking Shirvell's actions. The statement did not say whether disciplinary action was taken.

“This type of conduct is unbecoming of the attorney general’s office, and it’s yet another example of why we need to clean up Lansing,” Leyton said in the press release. “I am asking Bill Schuette to set aside partisan politics and join me in demanding that Mike Cox fire his bullying lackey.”

Armstrong has not publicly spoken directly about Shirvell, a U-M alumnus, but did read a statement at a recent student assembly. Armstrong is the university's first openly gay student body president.

“I will not back down. I will not flinch. I will not falter. I will not succumb to any unwarranted attacks. What I will do is I will carry on with the utmost pride and vindication,” the statement said. “I, along with the rest of this assembly, were elected to this body to represent the university. And nothing said about us, or regarding our personal merits, will waive our commitment to serve the student body.”

The U-M Board of Regents also weighed in on the issue indirectly, saying at its meeting earlier this month that the university would support any student being attacked by someone outside of the university.

Shirvell has shown up at MSA meetings to protest against Armstrong.

David Jesse covers higher education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.



Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 2:19 p.m.

What makes this really troubling is not his opinions but that someone with such a clearly impaired sense of judgement manages to make it into this position in the first place. His character is what is in question in regard to his job; his actions and opinions are not. This should at least lead to an investigation into his cases to make sure that he is still upholding his obligations for employment, but not necessarily just get him fired.,1607,7-147-6877_8155-72500--,00.html#2_8 As a private citizen he should also clearly face harassment charges, as any other private citizen should.


Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 12:09 p.m.

so the freedom of speech is not approved by the press here either the truth can not be told on this page about a politician why was my post deleted.


Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 4:26 p.m.

I read online that the reason Shirvell got his position was because he was the campaign manager for Cox in 2006. Can this be confirmed.

michigan face

Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 4:18 p.m.

Fire Shirvell and hold Cox accountable as well.

Duane Collicott

Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 3:49 p.m.

When will Ann Arbor City Council pass a resolution about this?

Long Time No See

Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 1:41 p.m.

@jjsteich - The statement was that half of all attorneys graduate in the bottom half of their class, not that half of all law school graduates were in the bottom half. Assuming we're talking about current attorneys at law as opposed to attorneys-in-fact (via power of attorney), it seems that you're assuming that all law school graduates pass the bar exam and become attorneys (or at least do so at the same rate regardless of how they compare to their fellow graduates). Other variables that could have an impact might include rates of disbarment, death rates, etc. I think you may also be assuming that all lawyers actually went to an accredited law school, and I don't believe that this is necessarily the case (though I believe it usually is required). Even if we aren't talking about all "current attorneys", and we are actually talking about all attorneys that have ever existed, it still seems unlikely to me that the percentage of graduates that become attorneys is necessarily equal between the bottom half and the top half of the class.


Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 9:53 a.m.

@captainmagnificent: Logic is the only statistic you need. If half of the graduating class is in the TOP half, the other half is in the BOTTOM half. 517-241-7093 is the number to call to reach the person who is "fielding" the several zillion complaints they're receiving. If you call the AG office directly they give you this number. But, what the heck, Mike Cox's office number is: (517) 373-1110.


Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 9 a.m.

Get real. AG Mike Cox isn't going to fire this guy. Shirvell's previous job was as Cox's campaign manager years ago. Having worked that closely with Shirvell does anyone think that Cox didn't already know what kind of a guy he is?


Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 8:54 a.m.

Shirvell is part of the Right Wing heterosexual conspiracy to infiltrate the youth. What, the same logic can't be applied to him as well?


Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 8:51 a.m.

I find it interesting that Andrew Shirvell was appointed Assistant Attorney General the same month he was licensed to practice law (May 2007). Seems like the position would require a bit more experience.


Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 7:10 a.m.

More grandstanding from a DEM candidate who trails by double digits. An obvious attempt to get some pub and fire up the "gay base".


Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 3:59 a.m.

Because of unions and due process and civil service rules and... I doubt that it is easy to fire a state employee. If I were Cox, I might consider paid leave. The problem with that it is it gives the guy more time to pursue Armstrong. While I find the behaviour to be a real problem on the part of Mr. Shivell. I doubt that it rises to the level of a firing offense under work rules that the State of Michigan has.


Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 1:27 a.m.

Obviously Mr. Shirvell has a crush on Mr. Armstrong. Mr. Shirvell seems to a closet gay person who hates himself, and is obsessed with Mr. Armstrong, and better get psychiatric help before he turns to violence. I saw clips from the CNN Anderson Cooper 360 program, and it seemed that Mr. Shirvell was on the verge of a breakdown....just a personal opinion from an observer with NO medical training.


Thu, Sep 30, 2010 : 12:47 a.m.

I saw Andrew Shirvell on CNN. It seems like he's in love with the college student Chris Armstrong. It's like that movie "Fatal Attraction." That Assistant Attorney General Shirvell needs to get some psychiatric help. It's beyond weird. Helloooo.

Captain Magnificent

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 10:32 p.m.

@bugjuice I'd like to see the data behind that statistic.

Patricia Cockrell

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 9:24 p.m.

Maybe a group of us could organize to stand outside Shirvell's office and his home, his church or temple, perhaps? I'm available.

David Briegel

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 9:03 p.m.

It's not the Attorney General, it's the REPUBLICAN Attorney General! What did you expect? Sanity? Silly!


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 8:54 p.m.

Don't forget that 50% of all attorneys graduate in the bottom half of their class.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 8:46 p.m.

This must end now. I cannot believe that the Attorney Generals office would allow such childish and disturbing behavior in a state employee. Andrew Shirvell clearly needs help with his emotional issues and the state should address this now, before it before it gets any uglier. This reflects poorly on the State of Michigan and it should be addressed immediately. It looks as if there is no one in charge in the state government and we have let the lunatics run the joint.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 8:32 p.m.

Wrong tact for Leyton not to mention the fact that Cox is deliberately keeping an employee he has publically assessed as immature and lacking judgment. Isn't it the very definition of this particular job that the employees be mature and have good judgment? By keeping Shirvell, Cox sets Michigan up for costly appeals and objections from any lawyer whose client's case so much as brushed up against Shirvell, based, not on Shirvell's blog, but on Cox's insistance on keeping an employee who he acknowledges is missing those 2 qualities!

David Briegel

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 7:23 p.m.

Imagine, any Republican disciplining a pseudo-Christian? Imagine........ Now, imagine a rebuke from the U of M? Now, imagine a rebuke from the Bar Assoc? Now, imagine any sanity from the Republican Party? Hold your breath! Andrew, are you certain it was Satan and not the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny or the Blessed Virgin? Are you the privileged "pseudo-Christian"? Bullying lackey, indeed!! Lawyers? Ethics? hahahahahahaha Paul, I remember when my friend attended Harvard on a legal profession sponsored fellowship to cleanse itself from the stain of all the legal bagmen of Watergate. hahahahaha Actually, I am privileged to know several great attorneys with the highest ethical standards!! They are a minority!!!


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 6:28 p.m.

Mr. Leyton has my VOTE.


Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 5:40 p.m.

Freedom of speech is a right that should be used cautiously and responsibly. I have read the postings on the web page in question and find them immature and alarming. Replace the gay white student with an African American gay student or a Jewish gay student. People would jump up and down howling in protest if a racial or ethnic minority was involved. Is this sort of speech okay because the young man is white and gay?! When do we learn from the past and realize that government employees need to serve the public good?! There is no room for institutionalized discrimination in 2010. How about the ethics that the State of Michigan espouses?! Does this attorney not have an obligation to behave in an ethical manner as a member of Bar?! If the civil service system prevents the termination of a government employee (whose job it is to serve the public) when they misbehave, then the rules need to be changed. Regardless of what the young gay white male student has done, as an alum, Shirvell is a disgrace to the University of Michigan and as a member of the Attorney Generals Office, he is a perfect example of what is wrong with lawyers, the judicial system, and the government.