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Posted on Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 5:18 p.m.

Rally on U-M-Flint campus supports Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong

By Staff

FLINT — Students and faculty rallied Tuesday at the University of Michigan-Flint in support of Chris Armstrong, the gay University of Michigan student body president who has been targeted by a Michigan assistant attorney general.

About 50 people, many holding yellow on blue signs, showed up to support Armstrong, the first openly gay student body president in the history of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Thumbnail image for Chris Armstrong.jpg 2.jpg

Chris Armstrong

Since April, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell has used a blog to label Armstrong as a racist with a "radical homosexual agenda."

Shirvell's actions have drawn widespread criticism and he has been on personal leave since last week. A hearing on a personal protection order Armstrong is seeking against Shirvell is scheduled for Oct. 25 in Washtenaw Circuit Court.

CNN's Anderson Cooper Tweeted today that Armstrong will appear on his show Wednesday, which airs at 10 p.m. Shirvell was on the show last week.

During the rally, UM-Flint student government senator Alex Benda noted the nearby statue of Gandhi, dedicated last weekend and the adjacent Wallenberg Street.

"Raoul Wallenberg, a U-M Alumni, helped save thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II by granting them Swedish citizenship," Benda said.

Patterson also said that Wallenberg was standing for people different than himself.

UM-Flint Communication Professor Dr. Marcus Paroske spoke about the importance of getting rational ideas out in an unfiltered, communications age.

"We used Facebook and our natural lines of communication to disseminate information about the rally," Joseph Patterson, student body president said before the Willson Park event.

Information from the Associated Press is included in this report.



Wed, Oct 6, 2010 : 10:56 a.m.

@Mike from Saline - I think 50 people is a good start for a pro-gay rally in Flint. The key is organizing. Militant groups like ACT-up aren't active anymore. The gay liberation movement has morphed into a timid kind of "tolerance" campaign that focuses on legal battles, fund-raising and electoral politics, and seems to discourage more radical activism like public demonstrations. ON top of that, every time I turn around these days I hear very vicious anti-gay rhetoric which probably makes most people want to stay away from any spectacle of gay pride or defense. And it makes a lot of other, mostly younger people want to commit suicide... must contribute to the drastic increase in teen suicides we're seeing now. A T-Ball team gets two parents and at least one sibling to come watch their kid play; that's easily 120 people. But they aren't taking a social stand or making any kind of political point. They certainly won't do anything to correct injustice in the world. With due respect to sports and recreation (and children), those who come out to make a difference in the world are more potent despite their smaller numbers.

mike from saline

Wed, Oct 6, 2010 : 7:57 a.m.

50 people showed up? You get a bigger crowd at a T-ball game.


Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 8:11 p.m.

Shirvell's feelin' the crunch.


Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 6:28 p.m.

@Basic Bob Nonetheless, it is nice to have one of our sister campuses express their support for the egalitarian principles that make the University of Michigan a great incubator for creating and sharing ideas. I can't help but think of a bit Cosby (Bill) did recently about how George Washington's parent's didn't know that he was THE George Washington when he was growing up. This might apply here too, but only time will tell.

Basic Bob

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 : 5:54 p.m.

Now we are comparing Armstrong to Wallenberg and Gandhi? That's exaggerating. He's not even a Harvey Milk.