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Single university president signs school contract restricting her love life

( Gwendolyn Boyd (

How’s this for an unusual agreement between a school and its president?

Gwendolyn Boyd, the new president of Alabama State University, signed a contract with the school’s trustees that forbids her from allowing a lover to “cohabitate” with her in the presidential home being provided to her by the historically black university in Montgomery.

The contract, signed Jan. 2, 2014, was obtained by The Birmingham News and posted here. It provides Boyd with an annual salary of $300,000, starting Feb. 1, 2014, plus a number of standard fringe benefits such as insurance. It says that Boyd, an engineer, must provide her own car but will receive a car allowance of $1,000 a month. And it requires that Boyd live in the school-provided presidential house located on campus and equipped with things such as a toll-free phone line, cable television, computer equipment and more.

It also 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.

 Inside Higher Ed quoted lawyer Raymond Cotton, an expert on contracts,  said he has never seen such a proviso written into a contract for a university president. He said:

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.

It also quoted Boyd as saying she was not bothered by the language in the contract. And it quoted a school spokesman as saying that both parties to the contract were fine with the provision.

Boyd was born and raised in Montgomery and earned a bachelor’s degree from Alabama State. She then went to Yale University where she earned a master’s in mechanical engineering and worked for years at Johns Hopkins University. She was appointed by President Obama to serve  on the Board of Trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.



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Valerie Strauss · January 10, 2014

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