Gwendolyn Boyd, Alabama State University’s president, is ready to lead the historically Black college to greater heights. As the school’s newest president she will have all of the resources of the institution at her disposal—$300,000 a year salary, a car, and the presidential residence—but with one caveat: Boyd, who is single, is forbidden from letting romantic partners spend the night.
The unusual clause is outlined in Boyd’s contract and stipulates that “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.”
Raymond Cotton, a lawyer who handles higher education presidential contracts, and he said that the clause would be hard to enforce, and may even be illegal.
“I don’t know of any state that has the right to invade someone’s residence even if the state owns that residence. To convey that residence and dictate what kind of romantic relationship you can have in that facility – I mean, she’s not in prison.”
Cotton continued: “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!”
Dr. Boyd, who studied at Alabama State University before receiving a mater’s degree at Yale, said she did not have a lawyer review the contract before signing it, but would have no problem complying with the strange request.
ASU has been mired in scandal for years. The previous president was paid $685,000 to resign just three months after taking office allegedly because he questioned the university’s dealings, and a recent audit raised serious questions about the university’s finances.
With so much on her plate Dr. Boyd may not even have time for romantic rendezvous, but we can’t help but wonder if the same rule would apply if the president were a single man.