November 18, 2011 - 4:57am
BY PAIGE PEARCY
Former Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong released a YouTube video Wednesday announcing a scholarship for University students who have experienced bullying.
In the video promoting the scholarship, Armstrong said his personal experiences inspired him and his parents to create the scholarship.
“Going to Michigan showed me how it can get better ...” Armstrong said in the video. “This is a scholarship for anyone who’s experienced bullying or other adversity and gives them the opportunity to come the University of Michigan — a far better place to be who you are and to express everything you want to be able to express.”
When Armstrong was MSA president last year, Andrew Shirvell, who was serving as an assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan at the time, wrote about Armstrong on his blog, Chris Armstrong Watch. Shirvell criticized Armstrong for pushing a “radical homosexual agenda.”
Shirvell was fired last November for reasons related to his actions toward Armstrong. Shirvell responded to Armstrong’s video yesterday and wrote in a press release that it is “defamatory.”
“The public protests that I engaged in during 2010, as well as my former blog, are protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Shirvell wrote. “There was no ‘bullying’ and no stalking.”
Shirvell also wrote in the press release that he filed a motion seeking to prevent Deborah Gordon, Armstrong’s attorney, from acting as Armstrong’s lawyer.
“Deborah Gordon has a severe conflict of interest and cannot continue to represent Chris Armstrong in Armstrong v. Shirvell, as a result of the new lawsuit that I have filed against Gordon (Shirvell v. Gordon),” Shirvell wrote.
Shirvell claims Gordon influenced Mike Ondejko — the investigator for his case — by attempting to get him fired from his position in the Attorney General’s office and intimidating him.
“Ms. Gordon used her prior relationship with the investigator Mike Ondejko to basically … get me fired,” Shirvell said in an interview with The Michigan Daily last month.
Gordon and Armstrong have filed grievances with the state. Armstrong initially filed a civil suit against Shirvell in April — intending for Shirvell to retract the statements made against him.
Armstrong’s scholarship announcement comes while the Spectrum Center is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Tonight, the center will honor Jim Toy, who co-founded the Lesbian-Gay Male Programs Office at the University in 1971 — a precursor to the Spectrum Center — and Armstrong will formally announce his scholarship, according to Spectrum Center director Jackie Simpson.