Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong publicly responded to verbal and cyber attacks levied against him for the first time at last night’s MSA meeting.
“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 read aloud to the assembly from a written statement. “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.”
Though Armstrong opted not to specifically address any personal attacks, he has recently been the target of a blog called Chris Armstrong Watch. The blog, created by Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan, has accused Armstrong of advocating a “radical homosexual agenda.” Shirvell has posted on his blog regularly since April to criticize Armstrong, his friends, family members and other members of MSA.
In addition, Shirvell has shown up at events on campus criticizing Armstrong, including the first MSA meeting of the semester.
Armstrong said in an interview after last night’s meeting that he wanted to speak to the assembly to confirm his resolution to disregard these types of criticisms levied against him.
“I think it was important for me to say what I said to the assembly this evening, because I think it’s important for them to figure what my mental state is and what I’m going forward with,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong had declined to publicly comment on the criticism he has received from Shirvell before last night.
MSA Vice President Jason Raymond also voiced his support for Armstrong in a statement to the assembly last night.
“Over the past six months, obviously, members of this assembly have been under attack by an individual who was here at our first meeting, Chris in particular, and I’d just like to thank him and to thank you for holding your heads high and maintaining the integrity of this body,” Raymond said.
At the assembly’s first meeting of the fall 2010 semester, Shirvell made a public comment to the Assembly, calling for Armstrong’s resignation due to his involvement in Order of Angell, a senior honor society. The society has been criticized for using Native American artifacts in its meetings and rituals in the past. In 2007, the group — formerly known as Michiguama — changed its name and began publishing a list of its members to the public in an effort to be more transparent.
“No MSA president and no assembly in history has had to deal with the kind of criticism we’ve had to deal with over the past six months,” Raymond said.
Armstrong told the assembly that criticisms would not stop him from continuing to work to improve campus life.
“I will continue to fight like hell for the students of this university and to better this campus,” Armstrong told the assembly. “I believe in this assembly, and I believe in this government.”