Gwendolyn Boyd is coming back to her alma mater from Johns Hopkins University to shepherd Alabama State through a rough patch involving a damning audit aimed at the university. Boyd’s new contract is pretty standard — $300,000 a year, a car and the presidential residence – except she can’t have lovers staying overnight for an extended period of time.
Boyd, who is single, said she didn’t have a lawyer when she signed the contract but has no problem with the language.
“I do live alone, so it was not problematic for me,” she said.
But the phrasing may be illegal nonetheless, said Raymond Cotton, a Washington lawyer who has negotiated several hundred presidential contracts. Cotton, who represents boards and presidents alike, said he’s never seen such language in any public or private college president’s contract.
The Alabama State contract, finalized late last week, says, “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 [pdf] was obtained and posted online by The Birmingham News.
Cotton said Supreme Court cases prevent government, including Alabama’s, from interfering in personal lives this way.
“I don’t know of any state that has the right to invade someone’s residence even if the state owns that residence,” Cotton said. “To convey that residence and dictate what kind of romantic relationship you can have in that facility – I mean, she’s not in prison.”
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