Protesting the new Georgia Regents University name for two combined Augusta universities, Augusta Chronicle Publisher William S. Morris III, a former chairman of the state’s Board of Regents, has resigned from a board at Georgia Health Sciences University, expressing his disappointment with GHSU President Ricardo Azziz and calling for the school to be renamed with Augusta in the title.
In a letter to Azziz, Morris said he regretted the move because of his and his family’s long association with higher education in Georgia. Morris served on the Board of Regents from 1967 to 1974, including a term as chairman, and his father, William S. Morris, served on the board from 1941 to 1951.
Morris said he was resigning from the GHSU Board of Visitors, to which Azziz appointed him in 2011, because of the affront the new name represents to the city of Augusta and its ties to GHSU and Augusta State University.
The regents voted Tuesday to name the combined schools Georgia Regents University.
“I object to your ambivalence to the voice of this community,” Morris wrote. “The naming convention you have advocated, and now gained endorsement from the Georgia regents, lacks sensitivity to the enormous community good will that has been cultivated over the years. It also has no regard for the voices of both your alumni and current student body, nor the longstanding relationship with Georgia Health Sciences University (formerly the Medical College of Georgia) and Augusta State University. You seem oblivious to these concerns.”
Citing Azziz’s stated “bold vision” for GHSU, Morris wrote, “It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for you to carry out your mission and vision without the united support from the city of Augusta and ALL of its citizens.
“I find I am unable to support you in this recent announcement of ‘Georgia Regents University’ until you acknowledge, in a profound way, a willingness to listen and accept the broader historical and communal
alignment of the legacy you’ve inherited. This must include a movement by you to rename the school, including the name ‘Augusta’ in its title.”
The resignation from the board, created last year to give state and national leaders a greater advisory role to the university’s leadership, was to take effect immediately.