Sometimes it’s not the person, it’s the principle. You all remember Andrew Shirvell. He’s the former assistant in the Michigan’s Attorney General’s Office who started a hate blog directed at Chris Armstrong, a Michigan student body president who happens to be gay.
As Shirvell’s actions came to light, he was banned from Michigan’s campus (he had been going there to harass Armstrong). It seemed like the smart thing to do, not just for protection of gays and lesbians at Michigan, but hey, one less tool hanging around campus can’t be a bad thing.
But not according to the Michigan student chapter of the ACLU. The organization is using the Shirvell case to condemn the school’s trespass policy…
If you think liberals only care about rights when there’s a person saying something they disagree with, think again. One would imagine that stopping gay bashing would be high up on the ACLU’s list of things they’d like to do. But at least at Michigan, the students see a larger issue. From The Michigan Daily:
The University’s undergraduate chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union condemned the Department of Public Safety for its trespass order against Andrew Shirvell…
In a press release issued yesterday, ACLU-UM officials stated that they believe DPS’s current trespass policy allows the director “wide discretion in issuing trespass bans.” The release also calls the trespass policy unconstitutional.
Mallory Jones, chair of the University’s undergraduate chapter of the ACLU, said in an interview that she believes the trespass warning placed on Shirvell demonstrates a fundamental problem with the policy.
Today, it’s a gay bashing state attorney getting a trespass ban, tomorrow it could be you.
Not that I agree with the UM-ACLU here. Obviously, we don’t want a world where state universities are arbitrarily preventing people for coming onto campus and talking to students. If the University of Michigan can ban every gay-basher who comes to campus, the University of Georgia could probably try to ban Barack Obama.
But Shirvell wasn’t showing up to Michigan to speak to students about the important anti-gay issues of the day. He was on campus to harass and intimidate one particular kid. The hate he felt for an entire group of people was focused on one person. I don’t have a problem with Michigan banning him. I’d be like if I hunted down one particular commenter and then sat outside his dorm room yelling “John Bogglebums lacks the courage of his convictions!”
So I think the Michigan student ACLU chapter is wrong here. But I admire the spirit.
ACLU-UM slams DPS for banning Shirvell from campus [The Michigan Daily]