Nothing in recent memory has riled folks up as much as the Board of Regents naming Augusta’s consolidated universities Georgia Regents University, or GRU.
To add insult to injury, there’s evidence of what we’ve been suspecting since last week’s vote, which is that the surveys and public polls to come up with the best name were just part of a long drawn-out charade, a $45,500 one at that.
Staff Writer Tom Corwin’s article in Saturday’s edition of The Augusta Chronicle showed the survey results didn’t mean a thing when the regents voted. If they had, they’d have voted for the highest ranking name: the University of Augusta.
In fact, they might not have even seen the poll results considering Regent Neil L. Pruitt Jr.’s comment after the vote. Pruitt told Morris News Service reporter Walter Jones that he was relying on the fact that the names were tested nationally by a marketing survey firm.
But in every poll and survey taken – national, state and local – the University of Augusta was the top vote-getter, and Georgia Regents University never ranked higher than fourth.
Records obtained by The Chronicle also indicate that GHSU President Ricardo Azziz or his designees met with regents and other state and local leaders after the branding team submitted its six finalists and the Consolidation Working Group sent three finalists to the Board of Regents.
That was not cool.
An online petition to change the name to University of Augusta has received thousands of signatures, and a protest at ASU has been scheduled for Aug. 20. People have been encouraged to contact Gov. Nathan Deal and ask him to rescind the decision, but I think it’s a done deal.
The power structure’s reasoning is that the schools belong to the state and not to Augusta, so why should they worry about putting Augusta in the name? Anyway, they don’t even like Augusta except for one week a year.
THE MUSICAL M.D.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
ACT I, SCENE I
(The ER at MCG, GHSU and soon to be GRU)
Nurse: Wake up, doctor. The campus police picked up one of the students wandering around in the student center parking lot muttering he was lost.
Doctor: The nurse tells me you’re having some confusion about where you are.
Student: Yes, I have a feeling I’m lost.
Doctor: How long have you had this feeling?
Student: Since they changed the name of the university again. I think it was last week. When I enrolled four years ago, it was MCG. Then the new president changed it to Georgia Health Sciences University. It took me two years to learn to say Georgia Health Sciences University. And now it’s Georgia Regents University, so I don’t know where I am anymore.
Doctor: Hmmm. What I think you have, young man, is Matriculation Disorientation, a disorder you developed because you thought your diploma would say you graduated from MCG, and you had to adjust to GHSU, and now you have to get used to the idea of having it say GRU. Currently, there is no remedy for Matriculation Disorientation except to buck up and face the fact nobody cares what it says on your diploma. You have to look on the bright side. Georgia Arts and Sciences University made the short list. They could have named it that, and everybody would have called it GASU. So the only thing for you to do is …
(Sings) Accent-tu-ate the positive,
E-lim-inate the negative,
And latch on
To the affirmative
Don’t mess with mister in-between!
You gotta spread joy up to the maximum,
Bring gloom down to the minimum,
And have faith (amen!)
Liable to walk upon the scene!
Student: I feel better already.
Nurse: Doctor, you’d better get in here as fast as you can.
Doctor: What is it this time, nurse?
Nurse: It’s a vice president of administration who’s being forced to pretend he likes the name GRU.
Doctor: What seems to be the trouble, sir?
VP: I’m depressed. I hate the name GRU, but I’ve got to pretend I like it because I have to keep my job.
Doctor: I understand.
VP: No you don’t. No matter how many times I say, ‘I love GRU,’ my real feelings keep coming out at the worst times possible. Just yesterday in a meeting with the vice presidents, Dr. ZZZZZ asked us how long we thought it would take for the controversy over the name GRU to blow over. Butterupper said, ‘Oh, about two weeks.’ Brownenoser said she thought it would take a little longer, six months. When he came around to me, I blurted out, ‘Until hell freezes over.’ There was dead silence, and everybody just stared at me. Finally, Dr. ZZZZZ said, “Thank you for your honesty,” but it felt like the kiss of death.
Doctor: Hmmmm. This is a pretty easy diagnosis. It’s evident you have Glenlivet’s Disease.
VP: Glenlivet’s Disease?
Doctor: Yes. Unfortunately it’s often misdiagnosed as Jack Danielitis or Absolutitis. But Glenlivet’s Disease affects people of Scottish descent more than the other ethnicities. Therefore, I recommend you take the bottle you currently have in your desk and flush it and switch to Wild Turkey.
VP: I’m going to do it right now, Doc. (Leaves singing)
Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapor trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night
There’s no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss
IF ACCUSATIONS ARE TRUE, EITHER MAN WOULD FIT RIGHT IN: The Republican runoff in the 12th Congressional District is getting nastier by the day. I’ve heard of slinging mud. But manure?
That’s what I saw splattering on a photo of candidate Rick Allen’s face on TV last night. It was coming from a manure spreader. I was so struck by the image I didn’t hear what the accusations were. But e-mails from Lee Anderson’s camp accuse Allen of lying about his votes in the Legislature.
E-mails from Allen’s camp accuse Anderson of voting for tax increases, supporting TSPLOST, refusing to debate and lying.
“Lee, my message is simple: it’s time to put up or shut up,” Allen said in his latest missive. “You’ve been telling lies about me and my campaign for several weeks now; all I’m asking is for you to stand before the voters and defend these lies. You name the times and places.”
CALM AFTER THE PRIMARY STORM: In comparison, the Richmond County sheriff’s race has been a snooze.
Democratic runoff candidates Scott Peebles and Richard Roundtree appeared at a forum at Moses Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday, and the only fireworks were those going off in the stormy sky outside.
As usual, the topic of race relations between the sheriff’s office and the community came up, as well as the disparity of black officers. Both candidates promised to implement recruitment programs in the black community.
HAS IT REALLY BEEN THAT LONG? Dave and Debbie Barbee are celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary this weekend. The couple met in a Belk store in Concord, N.C., in 1967. He worked in the men’s department; she in the babies department. He came over one evening, introduced himself and said, “Let’s go have pizza after work.” And the rest is history.
City Ink thanks Johnny Mercer and Pink Floyd for their contributions to this week’s column.