Mary Sue Coleman, at commencement, praises Chris Armstrong's leadership under fire
University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman praised former student body president Chris Armstrong at the university's spring commencement ceremony, saying the graduating senior set an example of steady leadership in the face of personal attacks over his sexuality.
Sam Wolson | The Michigan Daily
The situation turned into a national story, and Armstrong is now suing Shirvell, alleging that he stalked him and caused emotional distress.
Throughout the situation, the university said it supported Armstrong, U-M's first openly gay student body president.
At this morning's commencement ceremony, Coleman said Armstrong is a "proven leader."
"He has represented you on campus and in Lansing. He has argued for changes in student housing and campus dining. He wants tuition to remain affordable," Coleman said. "And yet, what created the biggest headlines for Chris is the fact that he is a gay man, the first to lead the Michigan student assembly."
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Armstrong, in September, told a student government body that "nothing said about us, or regarding our personal merits, will waive our commitment to serve the student body," according to a Michigan Daily report.
“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,” Armstrong said, according to the Daily.
Coleman, describing the best form of leadership, said: "This is no time for wavering, but rather for people who are willing to stand up for their beliefs and ideas, people unafraid to challenge the status quo, people unafraid to take risks, because big risks can deliver big rewards."