Personal protection hearing against Shirvell postponed until Oct. 25

BY ROBIN VEECK
Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 4, 2010

The hearing for Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong’s motion to file a personal protection order against Andrew Shirvell, assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan, was postponed yesterday afternoon until Oct. 25.

The hearing, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. yesterday, was delayed because of “service issues,” according to a Washtenaw County trial clerk.

Shirvell, currently on a leave of absence from his position at the Attorney General’s office, has received national attention recently for his attacks on Armstrong. Shirvell runs a blog called Chris Armstrong Watch, and has been vocal in protesting Armstrong’s “radical homosexual agenda” since Armstrong was elected in the spring. In addition, Shirvell has been seen at campus events — including the first MSA meeting of the semester — accusing Armstrong of being a racist and elitist.

Armstrong filed the personal protection order against Shirvell on Sept. 13. Armstrong said in his request for the order that Shirvell represented a threat to his mental and physical security.

“Since April of this year he has been following me throughout U of M’s campus and Ann Arbor unnecessarily, blogging about me extensively using bias and bigotry and poses a threat to my own personal safety,” Armstrong wrote in his request, according to information from a report posted on annarbor.com.

According to the report, on one occasion Shirvell followed one of Armstrong’s friends during a night of bar-hopping, hoping to encounter Armstrong.

“She explained Mr. Shirvell had been following them around several Ann Arbor establishments that night with the intention of seeing me with them,” Armstrong wrote.

Shirvell also called Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office on a number of occasions while Armstrong was interning there this summer, Armstrong wrote in the report.

“Shirvell asked Tom (Armstrong’s supervisor) if he knew if I was a racist and if I had affiliation with Order of Angell when they hired me,” Armstrong wrote of the calls. “I was told a few other times throughout my internship in D.C. that he called the office additional times.”

On Sept. 6, Armstrong asked the University Department of Public Safety for an escort to the MSA sponsored Gayz Craze because Shirvell had been protesting outside his house.

“Mr. Shirvell showed up outside my house and began protesting me, with his sign that said ‘Chris Armstrong Watch’ and had my face with ‘racist’ and ‘liar’ written across my face. It also had the same picture with a swastika superimposed on my face,” Armstrong wrote.

The University Department of Public Safety banned Shirvell from the Ann Arbor campus on Sept. 14, although Shirvell has appealed the trespassing warning.

Additionally, the University community has rallied behind Armstrong as the story gained national attention.

The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs condemned Shirvell's attacks on Armstrong in a statement read at the faculty governing body’s meeting yesterday.

The statement commended Armstrong for his "strength as an individual and as the student government leader for this year."

SACUA also noted that the committee finds the belief that sexual orientation is a matter of choice is unsupported by science. The statement also encouraged victims of bullying in a private or public manner in the University community to contact "appropriate law enforcement authorities" on the matter.

Last week, University President Mary Sue Coleman also emphasized the importance of promoting a safe campus environment for all students to express themselves.

“In addition to its internal action, the University also has called upon others in positions of authority to take all appropriate action to address this situation,” Coleman wrote in a statement released to The Michigan Daily last Thursday.

In addition, a number of events and organizations have mobilized on campus to support Armstrong. A petition was circulated last week by the Spectrum Center to collect signatures for an advertisement in support of Armstrong that appeared in yesterday’s Daily.

Daily News Editor Kyle Swanson contributed to this report.