An assistant Michigan attorney general who caused a national stir by waging a campaign against the University of Michigan's openly gay student president was fired today.
Andrew Shirvell, who kept a critical blog and picketed against Chris Armstrong, was told he is fired today in a brief meeting in Lansing.
"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," Attorney General Mike Cox said in a statement issued by his office today. "Ultimately, Mr. Shirvell's conduct has brought his termination from state service."
Shirvell is considering a civil service appeal of his termination or lawsuit for wrongful discharge, according to his lawyer Philip Thomas.
"I feel terrible for Andrew," Thomas said. "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, 30 and a U-M alum, created a blog last spring to launch a crusade against the 21-year-old student assembly president he called, "a radical homosexual activist, racist, elitist and liar."
Armstrong has said Shirvell contacted his friends, showed up at his public appearances and insulted his family and friends on the blog. Shirvell was briefly banned from the Ann Arbor campus on harassment claims, but the order was lifted earlier this week by the university.
Shirvell's campaign attracted national attention when Shirvell appeared last month after giving an interview to CNN news personality Anderson Cooper. Shirvell took a personal leave of absence after appearing on the national broadcast. Last week, Comedy Central's news parody "The Daily Show" aired a lampooned interview that Shirvell's lawyer said he also gave near the end of September.
Armstrong's lawyer, who has said has asked the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission to disbar Shirvell, said today Cox made the right decision.
Part of me feels guilty for being happy that someone has lost their job, but this was long overdue.