Roy Exum: Paramours Not Allowed

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Alabama State University, a storied predominately black university that was founded by nine freed slaves called “The Marion Nine,” will welcome Gwendolyn Boyd as its new president on Feb. 1 and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley affirms the former ASU student is an “excellent choice.” She became the first African-American woman to earn a master's degree in engineering at Yale before becoming an executive at Johns Hopkins for the last 33 years.

But her contract is raising some eyebrows in higher education circles. It states she must live in the Presidential Residence on the beautiful campus in Montgomery but then there is this clause: “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.”

Dr. Boyd, evermore a lady, is downplaying the unusual requirement, saying, “I do live alone, so it was not problematic for me,” but Raymond Cotton, a lawyer, told “Inside Higher Ed” such a demand may 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,” he 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.”

Alabama State spokesman Kenneth Mullinax explained the stipulation. “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,” he wrote in an email to the Montgomery Advertiser. “The contract was negotiated between Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd and the Alabama State University Board of Trustees and both parties agreed to it and have no problem with it.”

The lawyer Cotton still doesn’t get it. “No board that I know of, certainly that I would advise, would have anything to do with a clause like this.”

* * *

SPEAKING OF THE Montgomery Advertiser, the grand ole newspaper had an innocent headline after Auburn was beaten by Florida State in the national championship football game that went viral when many misread it. In huge letters were the words, “AU SHUCKS,” but in an age of tender feelings, a lot of people read it differently.

Tom Clifford explained in a column, “The headline said: “AU SHUCKS” — as in: “Oh shucks (we came so close to winning that one).”

“The homophone-style headline, playing off the school’s initials, was similar to play-on-word headlines we used to mark Auburn’s remarkable run at the championship — first after the Tigers’ beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl (“SHOCK AND AU!”) and then when they won the SEC title game (“AU YEAH!” )

“AU” as in “awe” and “oh.” What our Tuesday headline most decidedly did not say, hint at or imply in any fashion was “Auburn sucks.” But that’s what several readers erroneously believed was our intent.”

Oh, these times we live it.

* * *

WHEN ALABAMA football players resumed classes, they found pretty intense motivational posters taped up in each locker of the dressing room. At the top were the scores of the last two games (Auburn 34 - Alabama 28 in the Iron Bowl and  Oklahoma 45 – Alabama 31 in the Sugar Bowl) and then the words, “If you continue to do the same thing you have always done, you will get the same result. Guaranteed. 0-2.”

* * *

A $430,000 federal grant will help the state of Colorado launch a “Don’t Drive Stoned” campaign after it became legal to buy marijuana last week. According to Transportation Safety spokesman Darrell Lingk, "There are some who do not feel that marijuana can impair driving but it does," he said. "Marijuana affects reaction time, short-term memory, hand-eye coordination, concentration and perception of time and distance."

According to new state laws, blood levels over a 5-nanogram per-milliliter threshold for tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive property in marijuana, are illegal.

* * *

TWELVE YEARS AGO Charlie Todd came up with the idea of “No Pants Subway Ride” Day. "It is just about fun, and providing a laugh and a smile," he said after the 13th Annual event on Monday. “Just act normal Keep a straight face,” is the way it works and this year about 4,000 took part in New York, wearing just their underpants. The fad was also reported in 60 other cities.

* * *

DAN WOLKEN, a college football reporter for USA Today, claimed that the pending rape trial involving four Vanderbilt football players was the reason James Franklin (later hired by Penn State) was not considered as a candidate at Southern Cal. “It's one reason why, frankly, I was surprised this went down," Wolken said.  "I know for a fact that that is the reason that he was not in the mix at Southern Cal.  They took a look at that situation, they knew about that situation, and he was not in the mix at all for that job primarily because of that."

The Alabama football team found a copy of this posted taped inside every player's locker this week
The Alabama football team found a copy of this posted taped inside every player's locker this week

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