Assistant Michigan attorney general Andrew Shirvell was fired for waging a campaign against the University of Michigan’s openly gay student president. Shirvell kept a critical blog and even picketed against Chris Armstrong.
The cause for this firing according to Attorney General Mike Cox is “the cumulative effects of his use of state resources, harassing conduct that is not protected by the First Amendment and his lies during the disciplinary conference all demonstrate adequate evidence of conduct unbecoming a state employee. Ultimately, Mr. Shirvell’s conduct has brought his termination from state service.”
Shirvell’s attorney has said that he is considering a civil service appeal of his termination or a lawsuit for wrongful termination. “He has worked at that agency approximately four years, he has gotten excellent ratings and reviews each of his four years. His supervisors were aware of the blog as early as April or May, not that they condoned the content of it or that they condemned it. I just feel my client’s constitutional First Amendment rights were in play here. Attorney General Mike Cox at first said the same thing and now, all of a sudden this happens.”
Shirvell is a University of Michigan alum and created the blog last spring to crusade against the student assembly president he called “a radical homosexual activist, racist, elitist and liar.” The victim of this crusade, Chris Armstrong has said that Shirvell contacted his friends, showed up at his public appearances and insulted family and friends on the blog. Harassment claims actually resulted in Shirvell being banned from the Ann Arbor campus briefly.
The wrongfulness of Shirvell’s actions may be covered under his First Amendment rights, but the fact that he has continued harassing behavior, discrimination and even slander while working in a position for the state and using the state resources to run his hate campaign are very nearly, criminal activities, and certainly cause for termination.