Embattled Alabama State University is trying to clean up its image by hiring a new President. Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd has accepted a contract to become the university’s President, but under some conditions imposed by the University. One of the rules (in section 5.4 of her contract) 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.
Boyd signed the contract and has no issue with the clause. However, Washington DC based attorney, Raymond Cotton, who has worked on over three hundred college President contracts, believes the wording to be unconstitutional. Cotton argues that the contract violates the President’s right to privacy. He argues:
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 is not clear whether the University has ever required a male President to abide by a similar clause or whether this is an example of Alabama State University officials trying to impose a different standard for single women than it would for men. Regardless of the motive behind the clause it is an unusual level of interference in the personal life of any individual, much less a university President hired to improve the school’s image.
The attempt to control the private lives of women needs to stop. This applies whether it involves lawmakers requiring women to undergo trans-vaginal ultrasounds to obtain an abortion, media personalities and police officers subjecting women to victim blaming when they are raped, or a public university dictating who a single woman can share her bed with at her own residence. Alabama State University officials should reevaluate the “no sleeping with anybody in your home” clause and recognize that it has no place in their employment contract.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.