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Jobs, new names, parking, housing: concerns aired at ASU and GHSU forums

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The presidents of Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities on Monday denied rampant speculation that jobs will be cut during the consolidation of the two institutions, citing already-lean budget and staffing operations.

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Wilma Sykes Brown asks a question during one of two forums Monday on the consolidation of the universities.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Wilma Sykes Brown asks a question during one of two forums Monday on the consolidation of the universities.

At forums held at each school, they acknowledged the need to address parking, housing and tuition.

GHSU President Ricardo Azziz said merging the universities does not mean losing positions because the same number of people will still need to be served. Organizational structures and, in some cases, job responsibilities, will change, however.

“At the end of the day, we have not found a lot of spare parts that we really didn’t need, as far as we can tell,” Azziz said.

ASU President William Bloodworth added that offices aren’t overstaffed and that the risk of layoffs is low.

“I can’t say, ‘Don’t be anxious,’ but I think I can say your job security is probably as good going into consolidation as it would have been had we not gone into consolidation,” Bloodworth said.

It will mean joining two different missions and cultures, said Dr. Paul Dainer, an associate professor of medicine at GHSU. Augusta State “is not a statewide institution” like GHSU, Dainer said.

“It meets the needs of our community,” he said.

The newly merged university will have a bigger mission, Azziz said.

“It will have a statewide and national presence,” he said, though merging cultures might be difficult at first.

Retired ASU faculty mem­­ber Michelle Benedict feared that the campus atmosphere she loved there might be lost.

“What are we going to do to preserve the climate of happiness and bring that (to GHSU)?” she asked.

Bloodworth assured her, “We’ll get the best of both worlds.”

The subject of parking has come up at every meeting, and Azziz said it is something that might not be addressed with surface parking.

“We may have to begin to think about parking decks,” he said.

After the merger, tuition at ASU, which is considered a state university in the University System of Georgia, will have to move up to the research university level, something that will be decided by the Board of Regents, Azziz said. The intent of leadership is to try to “hold harmless” current students at the present level and then bring tuition up gradually, with an idea of trying to keep tuition affordable, he said.

The aim is to grow and to attract students not only statewide but also from other states. To do that, the new university will need student housing, including some on campus so that parents feel safer sending their children there, Azziz said.

“We need it, at least for freshmen,” he said.

“That’s obviously in the future,” Bloodworth said.

Benedict said many of the complaints she has heard from the ASU side concern uncertainty about positions and the feeling that if two positions on both campuses are equal, the GHSU person will take precedence. Azziz said there won’t be parallel institutions or a mishmash.

“We will not be two universities stuck together with duct tape,” he said. “We will be one university.”

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/24/12 - 04:49 am
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This is a fantastic

This is a fantastic opportunity to bring ASU up to the status of a coveted institution. It's come a long way since it's junior college days.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/24/12 - 04:57 am
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I suggest another step to

I suggest another step to build the name and stature of the university is to go D-1 in basketball. The city is big enough to support it and the facilities are great. It's time to move up.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/24/12 - 10:19 am
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If Azziz does not use this

If Azziz does not use this opportunity to eliminate positions and get rid of dead wood, he is not worthy to be a college president.

You cannot tell me that there is not a single person on the payroll that could not be let go right now, much less after consolidation.

The whole idea of consolidation is to become more efficient. You need to eliminate duplicate positions at the two schools when they become one. One President, one dean of students, etc.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/24/12 - 10:23 am
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From the article: Retired ASU

From the article:

Retired ASU faculty mem­­ber Michelle Benedict feared that the campus atmosphere she loved there might be lost. “What are we going to do to preserve the climate of happiness and bring that (to GHSU)?” she asked.

Who in the world let her into the forum? She has no more stake in the matter. Quit meddling, Michelle.

Insider Information
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Insider Information 04/24/12 - 10:56 am
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Parents, get ready to ship

Parents, get ready to ship your kids off to a school out of town.

The Hill, get ready to live in the shadow of a parking deck.

Dr. Cool, get ready for a really big pay raise.

Insider Information
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Insider Information 04/24/12 - 10:59 am
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I've said it before, but I

I've said it before, but I will say it again. This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard of.

Combining ASU and MCG is like combining tuna fish and a car battery. One has nothing to do with the other.

freespeach
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freespeach 04/24/12 - 11:09 am
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As stated in the article,
Unpublished

As stated in the article, there will be higher tuition as a direct result of the takeover.
Also, there will be less students attending from the Augusta area because they want to make it more statewide and national.

Are you hearing this Augusta? Your kids will have a harder time getting in. Increased emphasis will be placed on enrolling kids outside the area. Those that do get in will pay higher tuition.

Building up GHSU and Dr. Azziz resume is taking priority over serving future college students from this area.

comet2u
28
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comet2u 04/24/12 - 11:10 am
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Insider - Azziz got a

Insider - Azziz got a $300,000 pay raise pushing his salary over $800,000. The AC should repeat their coverage of a few years ago where they question the salaries and raises of all the administrators, just this time wait till after the completed merger

my.voice
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my.voice 04/24/12 - 12:50 pm
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...concerns aired at ASU and

...concerns aired at ASU and GHSU forums

TRANSLATION:

...concerns dismissed at ASU and GHSU forums.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/24/12 - 01:01 pm
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:-)

:-)

CarlA
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CarlA 04/24/12 - 01:39 pm
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Here we go raising tuition

Here we go raising tuition again. I thought this whole idea of a merger was to take advantage of economies of scale. I don't think Azziz is being truthful when he says people shouldn't worry about their jobs.

Sweet son
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Sweet son 04/24/12 - 04:53 pm
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Axxix shoould spend more time

Axxix shoould spend more time trying to improve the educational process. Seems that his only goal is to continue to build his empire. And why in the world would merging the two make the ASU students have to pay more. Axxix doesn't have a clue! Wonder if he reads any of our comments or is just flipant (sp) enough to not care!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/24/12 - 05:01 pm
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Look, guys, Azziz came here

Look, guys, Azziz came here before the merger of ASU and GHSU was even a gleam in the eye of the lowest employee of either school. Give him a break.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/24/12 - 05:02 pm
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College costs have increased

College costs have increased in public colleges all over the state. Where have y'all been?

corgimom
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corgimom 04/24/12 - 08:28 pm
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Riverman, not true. The

Riverman, not true. The merger has been discussed for YEARS.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/25/12 - 01:07 am
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Corgimom, I try to stay up on

Corgimom, I try to stay up on things in the CSRA. Plus, I've been credentialed at 4 different hospitals, one of them MCG, in the area during my career which is still going on. Yet, I have never heard a discussion that ASU and MCG would merge. I'm not saying you are incorrect, but it certainly wasn't a discussion of any magnitude. Do you have any news story or published comments about a proposed merger from ANY time in the past? I would like to see them if you do.

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