Published January 12, 2014
A state university in Alabama is raising eyebrows with an unusual -- and perhaps even first-of-its-kind -- provision the school’s board of trustees included in the new university president's contract.
The Birmingham News reports that buried amidst the legalese in Gwendolyn Boyd’s contract to run Alabama State University is a caveat she not only must live in the president’s on-campus residence for purposes of embodying school spirit -- but refrain from sharing that home with a love-interest so long as she remains a single woman.
“For so long as Dr. Boyd is President and a single person, she shall not be allowed to cohabitate in the President’s residence with any person with whom she has a romantic relation,” the contract reportedly states.
Boyd – an Alabama State University alumna and Yale-educated engineer – signed the contract with the Montgomery-based institution on Jan. 2 and will begin working there on Feb. 1, according to the Birmingham News. She will be paid $300,000 a year, not including cost-of-living increases and bonuses to be determined by the board.
In the aftermath, Boyd told Inside Higher Ed, “I do live alone, so it was not problematic for me.”
Reportedly added Kenneth Mullinax, a university spokesman: “The contract was negotiated between Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd and the Alabama State University Board of Trustees and both parties agreed to it and have no problem with it.”
But one Washington, D.C., lawyer who is a veteran of numerous such contracts told Inside Higher Ed said he’s never seen such a stipulation for a university president.
“I don’t know of any state that has the right to invade someone’s residence even if the state owns that residence,” Raymond D. Cotton told the publication. “To convey that residence and dictate what kind of romantic relationship you can have in that facility – I mean, she’s not in prison.
“No board that I know of, certainly that I would advise, would have anything to do with a clause like this. How would you enforce it? Would you go marching into a president’s home and say, ‘Stop that, get your hands off him or her!’”