Saturday 10 March 2012

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Chris Armstrong Scholarship Fund: Former U-M Student President Sets Up Scholarship For Bullied Youth

Former University of Michigan student body president Chris Armstrong has set up scholarship fund in his name to help teenagers who face bullying attend the university. Armstrong, U-M’s first openly gay student body leader, made national headlines last year when Michigan’s then Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shrivell publicly rebuked him for his sexuality.

Armstrong’s announcement came in a YouTube video that is part of an online campaign called the “It Gets Better Project” designed to help LGBT youth get through their teen years.

“When the bullying began, the university was there to support me with all of its resources,” Armstrong said.

“Michigan alumni rushed to help me deal with this situation. And professors, students and staff all stood by me in one of my darkest times. Because of this we were able to turn it around. My attacker lost his job, I finished my term and a message that this kind of behavior is unacceptable was sent throughout the nation.”

Shrivell lost his job for posting a blog on his work computer criticizing Armstrong for pursuing a “radical homosexual agenda” at the University that included gender-neutral housing.

Shirvell called the video defamatory for falsely accusing him of bullying and stalking Armstrong.

“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,” he said in a Detroit Free Press report.

“There was no ‘bullying’ and no stalking. Last October, 2010, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office refused to file charges against me, finding that my activity constituted constitutionally protected speech.”

Shirvell later sued Armstrong’s attorney for getting him fired.

The Detroit Free Press reports the timing of the Chris Armstrong Scholarship Fund announcement corresponds with the 40th anniversary of U-M’s Spectrum Center, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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