'Love Clause' Appears in Contract of College President

Gwendolyn Boyd has an unusual restriction on her love life.

January 10, 2014, 5:53 PM
PHOTO: In this file photo, Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, right, greets Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, left, after the Alabama State University Board of Trustees offered her the presidency of the university on Dec. 20, 2013 at the ASU campus in Montgomery, Ala.
In this file photo, Gwendolyn Boyd, right, greets Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, left, after the Alabama State University Board of Trustees offered her the presidency of the university on Dec. 20, 2013, at the ASU campus in Montgomery, Ala.
Mickey Welsh/AP Images

Jan. 10, 2014 -- A new college president's contract comes with an unusual restriction on her love life.

Gwendolyn Boyd, 58, begins her term as the first female president of Alabama State University next month, and the $300,000 a year employment contract she recently signed stipulates that as long as Boyd is single and president of the university -- and residing in the president's house on campus -- she cannot "cohabitate with any person with whom she has a romantic relation."

Boyd, a reverend and alum of the state university, said in a statement to ABC News that she was not bothered by the language.

"I can read; I read my contract thoroughly. I knew what I was signing, and I have no issue with it at all," Boyd said.

A Washington, D.C., attorney who specializes in university contracts, however, called the clause an "outrage" and believes it is in direct breach of Boyd's right to privacy.

"The state is trying to interfere with this woman's personal life," said Raymond D. Cotton, who said he's negotiated more than 300 contracts for university presidents.

"Let's say she has someone stay overnight. How are they going to determine whether they are cohabitating or not, or whether or not she has a romantic relationship with that person?" he told ABC News.

The university would not say whether the restriction always existed in its presidents' contracts, or if it was new with Boyd. Alabama State did issue a statement confirming both parties had agreed to the contract and had no problem with it.

"This clause in our university's contract has nothing to do with Dr. Boyd and everything to do with the increasing scrutiny that university presidents face as the top image-makers of their respective universities, and as some would say, the 'living brand' of the schools that employ them," the university said in a statement.

Boyd, according to Inside Higher Ed, did not use a lawyer to negotiate her contract. The university did confirm that while Boyd was its first female president, she wasn't its first single president.

"If she wanted to change the contract, she could have," said Elton Dean, chairman of the Board of Trustees at Alabama State University.

"We are too excited about the opportunities ahead of the new president to address matters like this," said Judge Marvin Wayne Wiggins, a member of the board of trustees.

Boyd is assuming the position as the school undergoes an ongoing audit, commissioned in December 2012 by Gov. Robert Bentley.

In response, the university launched a lawsuit against the audit company taken on by the governor in December 2013, according to documents obtained by ABC News.

The Montgomery-based university, whose alumni includes Rosa Parks, is the oldest institution for higher learning founded for black Americans.

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