Christopher Armstrong papers: 2008-2015
Summary Information
Title: Christopher Armstrong papers
Creator: Armstrong, Christopher H.
Inclusive dates: 2008-2015
Extent: 1 linear foot (1 box)
Extent: 18.2 GB
Abstract:
Christopher H. Armstrong was the first openly gay student body president of the Michigan Student Assembly at the University of Michigan. This collection documents his undergraduate experience, speaking engagements, and the lawsuit Christopher Armstrong v. Andrew Shirvell in which Armstrong was represented by attorney Deborah Gordon. Materials include court documents, news articles, television news coverage including interviews with Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, speeches, notes, and correspondence.
Call number: 2014124 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Lilly Carrel, August 2017.

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated by Christopher Armstrong (donor no. 10624), with additions from Steven and Cynthia Armstrong, in multiple accessions between 2011 and 2015.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

Access to some online material is restricted to the Bentley Historical Library Reading Room.

Access Restrictions for University of Michigan Records

University records are public records and once fully processed are generally open to research use. Records that contain personally identifiable information will be restricted in order to protect individual privacy. Certain administrative records are restricted in accordance with university policy as outlined below. The restriction of university records is subject to compliance with applicable laws, including the Freedom of Information Act.

Categories of Restricted Records:

  • Personnel related files , including search, review, promotion, and tenure files, are restricted for thirty years from date of creation.
  • Student educational records are restricted for seventy-five years from date of creation.
  • Patient/client records are restricted for one-hundred years from date of creation.
  • Executive Officers, Deans and Directors files . By university records policy in effect as of January 1, 2001, University records generated by the university's Executive Officers, Deans, Directors and their support offices are restricted for a period of twenty years from their date of accession by the Bentley Historical Library. The restriction is subject to applicable law, most notably the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
    • Files restricted for 10 years -- records added to a record group in this category prior to January 1, 2001 are restricted for a period of ten years from the date of creation
    • Files restricted for 20 years -- records added to a record group in this category after January 1, 2001 are restricted for a period of 20 years from the date they were added to the record group.

Restricted files are indicated in the contents list with a restriction note indicating the restriction type and the date of expiration.

  • CR (Client/Patient records, 100 years from date of creation)
  • PR (Personnel related records, 30 years from date of creation)
  • SR (Student educational records, 75 years from date of creation)
  • ER (Executive Officers, Deans and Directors records, 20 years from the date the material added to the record group)

For further information on the restriction policy and placing FOIA requests for restricted material, consult the reference archivist at the Bentley Historical Library or the University of Michigan Freedom of Information Office website at: http://www.umich.edu/~urel/foia.html

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Donor has transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Christopher Armstrong papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

[item], [URL], Christopher Armstrong papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.


Arrangement

The collection is arranged into three series: University of Michigan Activities, Christopher Armstrong v. Andrew Shirvell, and Speaking Engagements. The Armstrong v. Shirvell series is further organized into the following three sub-series: Court Documents, Family Legal File, and Press and Media Coverage.


Biography

Christopher "Chris" Armstrong was born in 1989, the son Steven Holm and Cynthia Rex Armstrong. Chris attended Ridgefield High School, in Ridgefield Connecticut, and graduated in 2007. He attended the University of Michigan, where he became involved in Michigan's gay community.

In 2010, Armstrong was elected president of the Michigan Student Assembly, making him the first openly gay student body president of the University of Michigan. Armstrong ran as a part of MForward, a party he and vice president Jason Raymond helped found. During and after Armstrong's election, an assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan, Andrew Shirvell, engaged in an online and in-person "campaign" against Armstrong. Armstrong sued Shirvell for defamation, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and stalking. In 2015 the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision in favor of Armstrong.

Christopher H. Armstrong graduated from the University of Michigan in 2011 and currently lectures on topics such as cyberbullying and harassment.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection documents the experiences of Christopher Armstrong, the first openly gay student body president of the University of Michigan, during his tenure as an undergraduate student, president of the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA), and the lawsuit he brought against a Michigan's assistant attorney general, Andrew Shirvell. Materials include court documents, news articles, television news coverage, speeches, notes, correspondence, and student government material between 2008 and 2015.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • College student government -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Cyberbullying.
  • Gay college students -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Gay men -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Gay rights -- Michigan.
  • Gay rights -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Lawyers -- Michigan.
  • Online hate speech.
  • Court records.
  • Digital file formats.
  • Digital images.
  • Shirvell, Andrew.
  • Michigan Student Assembly.
  • Cox, Michael Anthony, 1961-
  • Gordon, Deborah L.
  • Armstrong, Christopher H.
  • University of Michigan -- Students.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
University of Michigan Activities 2008-2011 [series]

The University of Michigan Activities series (0.6 linear feet, 38.2 MB) includes a seven volume compilation of news articles on Chris complied by his mother, Cynthia, MForward election material from Chris' presidential campaign, letters from students and U-M administration in support of Chris, recordings announcing a scholarship named in Chris' honor to aid people who have experienced cyberbullying, and program and event materials.

Box   1  
"Chris Armstrong: A Narrative of his Experiences at the University of Michigan" 2008-2011 (7 folders)
  Online  
Chris Armstrong Scholarship announcement video undated [view items]
Box   1  
Chris Armstrong Scholarship Fund 2011
  Online  
Chris Armstrong Scholarship MSNBC interview undated [BHL Reading Room Access Only] [view items]
Box   1  
Correspondence 2010
Box   1  
Department of Sociology undergraduate honor symposium program April 29, 2011
Box   1  
"Expect Respect" campaign Fall 2010
Box   1  
Gender neutral housing proposal 2009
Box   1  
Involvement on the Margins: An Analysis of Student Involvement and Identity at the University of Michigan circa 2011

(Student senior thesis.)

Box   1  
Lavender graduation program April 28, 2011
Box   1  
Letters in support of Chris October-November 2010
Box   1  
MForward press kit and election materials Spring 2010
Box   1  
Michigan leadership awards, "outstanding new member" April 3, 2008
Box   1  
Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) meeting materials March-December 2010

(Includes congratulatory letter from Vice President for Student Affairs.)

Box   1  
Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference program 2011
Box   1  
Spectrum Center 40th anniversary celebration November-December 2011
Box   1  
Valor, Grace, Dignity: Honoring the Armstrong legacy at the University of Michigan circa 2011
 
Christopher Armstrong v. Andrew Shirvell 2010-2015 [series]

The Christopher Armstrong v. Andrew Shirvell series (0.3 linear feet, 17.7 GB) is comprised of the Armstrong family's personal legal file, press and media coverage of the lawsuit including interviews with Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, and court documents including trail exhibits, legal records, photographs, and recordings.

 
Court Documents [subseries]
  Online  
Andrew Shirvell v. Deborah Gordon 2011-2013

(Complaint and counter suit filed by Shirvell against Gordon)

[view items]
  Online  
Court of appeals appellate briefs April-July 2014 [view items]
  Online  
"Christopher Armstrong Watch" blog 2010-2012 [view items]
  Online  
Closing materials August 14, 2012 [view items]
  Online  
Counterclaims May 2011-August 2012 [view items]
  Online  
Deposition transcripts 2011-2012 [view items]
 
Exhibits
  Online  
Defense exhibits 2012, undated [view items]
  Online  
Plaintiff exhibits August 5, 2012 (1.5 GB (1 of 2)) [view items 1 of 2]
  Online  
Plaintiff exhibits August 2012, undated (352.2 MB (2 of 2)) [view items 2 of 2]
  Online  
Photographs of Shirvell undated [view items]
  Online  
Shirvell audio of police report September 5, 2010 [view items]
  Online  
Shirvell video footage outside Chris' home undated [BHL Reading Room Access Only] [view items]
  Online  
Jury documents August 2012-September 2013 [view items]
  Online  
Opinion and order February 2, 2015 [view items]
  Online  
Summary judgments February-October 2012 [view items]
  Online  
Westboro Baptist Church protest May 8, 2010

(Includes photographs and speech by Armstrong.)

[view items]
 
Family Legal File [subseries]

The arrangement of files in this subseries was kept in the order maintained by the Armstrong family.

Box   1  
"Chris Armstrong Watch" flyers undated
Box   1  
Narrative supplement reports June-September 2010
Box   1  
Personal protection order October 2010
Box   1  
Letters to Attorney Grievance Commission (AGC) October 2010
Box   1  
Press release October 2010
Box   1  
Attorney Deborah Gordon letter demanding retraction October 2011
Box   1  
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) response November 2010
Box   1  
Attorney General memorandum "Andrew Shirvell report" November 9, 2010
Box   1  
AGC "Reply to Andrew Shirvell's response to request for investigation" February 11, 2011
Box   1  
Complaint and jury demand March 24, 2011
Box   1  
Letter of "possible resolution" and Shirvell's response
Box   1  
"Chris Armstrong Watch" blog 2010 (2 folders)
  Online  
Deposition of Andrew Shirvell July 6, 2011 [BHL Reading Room Access Only] [view items]
Box   1  
Application for personal protection order September-October 2010
 
Press and Media Coverage [subseries]
 
Anderson Cooper 360
  Online  
Andrew Shirvell interview undated [BHL Reading Room Access Only] [view items]
  Online  
Attorney General Mike Cox interview September 28, 2010 [BHL Reading Room Access Only] [view items]
  Online  
Keeping Them Honest: Gone But Not Fired October 30, 2010 [BHL Reading Room Access Only]

(Segment on Andrew Shirvell featuring Jeffrey Toobin and Alma Wheeler Smith.)

[view items]
Box   1  
Question and answer briefing document October 2010
  Online  
The Daily Show with John Stewart: Look Who's Talking undated [BHL Reading Room Access Only]

(Satirical news segment featuring Andrew Shirvell)

[view items]
Box   1  
National publications November 2010-January 2011

(Armstrong featured in Out magazine's issue of "One Hundred Most Compelling People of 2010.")

  Online  
WWJ radio interview Attorney General Mike Cox November 22, 2011 [BHL Reading Room Access Only] [view items]
  Online  
WXYZ Channel 7 interview with Andrew Shirvell undated [BHL Reading Room Access Only] [view items]
 
Speaking Engagements 2008-2013 [series]

The Speaking Engagements series (0.1 linear feet, 399 MB) includes speeches, notes, and recordings of speeches Chris Armstrong gave about his experience as the first openly gay student body president of the University of Michigan and on cyberbullying.

Box   1  
Be More Courageous undated
Box   1  
Campbell Soup Company OPEN employee network event on bullying June 2011
Box   1  
Event programs 2008-2011
Box   1  
Frank Kameny Tribute May 5, 2012
 
TEDx U of M talk
Box   1  
Notes undated
  Online  
"Untapped Respect" video clip May 5, 2013 [view items]
Box   1  
Unidentified speeches undated
  Online  
Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch 2011 [BHL Reading Room Access Only] [view items]