Chris Armstrong became the first openly gay student body president of the University of Michigan when he won election to the post back in March, a development that angered Andrew Shirvell, Michigan’s assistant attorney general and an alumnus of the school who, to put it mildly, opposes gay rights.
So Shirvell started a blog called Chris Armstrong Watch, an online forum for his rants that many say has crossed a line into stalking and cyber-bullying. For months Shirvell has posted details about Armstrong’s personal life, most of which he claims to have gleaned from sources such as Facebook.
Last night Shirvell was interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who asked repeatedly about his claims that Armstrong was “Satan’s representative” in student government. In a cringe-worthy performance, Shirvell could only respond that he had the right to do what he was doing.
When Cooper asked about a public statement put out by Michigan’s attorney general questioning Shirvell’s judgement and maturity, Shirvell refused to comment.
Armstrong, a former intern for the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, finally addressed the matter publicly last night at a student assembly meeting, according to the Michigan Daily:
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. 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.
During the interview on AC360, Shirvell said it was fair to target Armstrong because he is a public figure, and claimed that Armstrong’s student government campaign was funded by the Victory Fund. That claim is false. While interning at Victory, Armstrong attended the organization’s Candidate and Campaign Training, which he has credited with helping him learn how to build a campaign, but the Victory Fund does not endorse or fund student government campaigns.
Watch the full interview and take action here.