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Opponents denounce Georgia Regents University name

Wednesday, Aug 8, 2012 2:11 PM
Last updated Thursday, Aug 9, 2012 1:42 AM
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The reaction to the name Georgia Regents University in Augusta was visceral and immediate, and protest efforts continued Wednesday against the name for the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities.

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Chris Blanco (left) and Chris Nabholz oppose Georgia Regents as the name for the merged Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Chris Blanco (left) and Chris Nabholz oppose Georgia Regents as the name for the merged Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities.

To a GHSU official, the response shows concern and passion about the universities, which can become a good thing.

A Facebook page titled “Everyone Against ‘Georgia Re­gents University’ Sound Off,” started by Chris Blanco, had been “liked” more than 2,700 times. His friend Chris Nabholz had similar success with a Facebook page protesting the name before the vote.

“I honestly thought that would change things before the vote,” said Nabholz, a junior at ASU. “The Board of Regents just kind of brushed us off their shoulders.”

With the continued reaction, however, the two men are trying to bring together a community that seems to have coalesced around near-universal rejection of the name.

“I just feel like no one in Au­gusta had a say,” said Blanco, a 2010 graduate of ASU.

His Facebook page is urging people to contact GHSU President Ricardo Azziz, the Univesity System of Georgia Board of Regents and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.

“(GHSU has received) both positive and negative feedback and thoughts, and we appreciate the enthusiasm of all of these constituents,” said David L. Brond, the school’s senior vice president for communications and marketing. “Passion is good, and we hope to drive energy off of that and to make this a positive.”

“The most vocal are the people who are going to be either very positive or very negative,” Brond said. “Our real work now is in coming together as a community to make this the best decision, the best choice. We are listening to the reaction, and we are really beginning the work of moving forward in a positive direction to create some enthusiasm in the community.”

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the governor, who did not have a vote in the naming decision, received eight to 10 e-mails and an equal number of calls on the matter.

Robinson said Deal is committed to “making the university one of the top 50 health sciences institutions in the nation, and he’s backing that up by putting the necessary resources into the Augusta campus,” including a proposed $50 million in capital projects approved by the regents Tuesday.

The university system has gotten comments through its Web site and e-mails, but spokesman John Millsaps said he has been in meetings and has not reviewed them.

An online petition to change the name to the University of Augusta, one of the other three finalists the regents were to consider, had gained nearly 800 signatures in just more than a day.

Many people were speaking out, and the phrase “slap in the face” was used often.

“Georgia Regents University is an absolute slap in the face and abomination to not only the residents of Augusta, but also the students and employees ... who work hard to make MCG/GHSU into what it is today,” said Adam Kleba, a dietary services employee at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics.

To Becky McCulley, who worked at the university for more than 23 years as a secretary, it was “a true slap in the face to the citizens of Augusta.” She said it is just the start of a downhill slide in the university’s relationship with the community.

“It’s just slowly disassociating itself from the city of Augusta,” McCulley said. “It won’t be long before it’s gone.”

To Jennifer Taylor, the name “sounds depressing,” and it wouldn’t take much rearranging to make it “Georgia Rejects.”

Without “Augusta” in the name, Giovanna Morrison said, she is losing interest in getting her master’s degree in nursing from the university.

“It has really changed my mind about where I’m going to go to graduate school,” she said.

Much of the criticism was leveled personally at Azziz, who will head the school. McCulley said a newspaper photo of Azziz “left out his crown.”

Catherine Collingsworth graduated from ASU in May with a degree in communications, and she lovingly referred to the school as “Harvard on the Hill.” The new name misses the boat and doesn’t reflect anything about the two schools, Collingsworth said.

The name should “allow both to retain their identities,” she said.

FORUMS SET

Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz and Dr. Shirley Strum Kenny, Augusta State University’s interim president, will hold two open forums on the merger of the schools on Aug. 16: one at noon at ASU’s Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre, the other at 3 p.m. in the Lee Auditorium at GHSU.

SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSE

Opponents of the name Georgia Regents University have turned to the Web to have their voices heard:

• Facebook pages have cropped up in opposition to the name. “Everyone Against ‘Georgia Regents University’ Sound Off” got about 2,500 “likes” within 24 hours of being created.

• On Twitter, dozens tweeted their opposition to Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz. Butch Holley
(@jwbholley) tweeted: “Hate the name Georgia Regents University? Tell @ricardoazziz. Maybe a few 100 tweets each day until he leaves town would be in order. ...”

• Andrew John Tarr (@AugustaDrew) uaged people to go straight to Gov. Nathan Deal: “The @BORUSG Board of Regents is appointed by the Governor. Express your displeasure to Gov Deal.”

• Several petitions were also posted to change.org. Meredith Berce, of Augusta, created “Change Georgia Regents to University of Augusta!: Stop this horrible university name Georgia Regents University from standing.” It received more than 800 signatures in 24 hours.

– From staff reports

Comments (61) Add comment
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csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 08/08/12 - 02:42 pm
7
0
Overpaid and undersmart

Ricardo Azziz is out of touch with the community, and out of touch with reality. The college has lost the community, and that spells trouble in the long run. It's hard for someone in that pay range to stay in focus.

http://www.open.georgia.gov/sta/search.aud

Riverman1
79510
Points
Riverman1 08/08/12 - 03:13 pm
8
0
Never seen such an uproar

I have never seen such an uproar with an almost unanimous opinion that the schools and community have been seriously wronged.

galaxygrl
1165
Points
galaxygrl 08/08/12 - 03:19 pm
6
1
Contact the Members of the Board of Regents

http://www.regents.ac.uk/home/about_regents_college.aspx

I have spent time today calling each member and leaving messages. The number for Ellis has someone else's name on the message.
I also believe we should be contacting our legislators for our districts and get a bill introduced to change the name. Dixieman suggested this in another article and it holds merit.

Eppie
10
Points
Eppie 08/08/12 - 03:18 pm
6
0
Grammar check

If the word "regents" is being used as noun, an apostrophe should be used because it is a possessive noun. If the word is being used as an adjective, as indicated by Dr. Aziz, then the "s" should be dropped. Using "regents" in the plural form implies they are using the word as a noun. This is elementary school grammar. Someone in the English Department at ASU correct me if I'm wrong.

Staler172
282
Points
Staler172 08/08/12 - 03:27 pm
2
10
HAHAHA, did you see the quote

HAHAHA, did you see the quote about ASU as being Harvard on the Hill...

Really people, let's move on. Do ASU students really understand the true breadth of this NEW University OUTSIDE of Augusta? We have satellite campuses in Rome, Savannah, and so forth. This is the reason they chose not to have AUGUSTA in the name. Read what the BOR said. When people drive up to the medical clinic in Rome it would be dumb to say University of Augusta at Rome...

Riverman1
79510
Points
Riverman1 08/08/12 - 03:28 pm
2
1
Eppie, I noted that

Eppie, I noted that yesterday. There should be one there. It also shows they own it...heh.

kiwiinamerica
924
Points
kiwiinamerica 08/08/12 - 03:36 pm
1
0
There's only one name worse
Unpublished

There's only one name worse than Georgia Regents University and that's the University of Augusta.

Sorry but "Augusta" is oh-yu-tee.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 08/08/12 - 03:38 pm
5
0
hardie davis is not

hardie davis is not interested, riverman. :(

Riverman1
79510
Points
Riverman1 08/08/12 - 03:43 pm
5
0
Omnomnom

I'm glad you reported that, but he's only one of the delegation. Maybe there's still hope with the others.

Riverman1
79510
Points
Riverman1 08/08/12 - 04:08 pm
3
2
There is a way out of this for Dr. Azziz

He could say the Regents name will be for the conglomerate of both schools, plus satellite med school campuses while ASU and GHSU would keep their individual names. He could even place Georgia Regents U above both names.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 08/08/12 - 04:11 pm
3
0
riverman

Rep. Earnest Smith also says "eat it". insomanywords

Riverman1
79510
Points
Riverman1 08/08/12 - 04:25 pm
2
1
Those two I wouldn't doubt

Those two I wouldn't doubt don't get it enough to fight, but I hope I'm wrong.

Riverman1
79510
Points
Riverman1 08/08/12 - 04:42 pm
3
0
I think Regents in VA has

I think Regents in VA has asked for a cease and desist order here against the name change.

Jake
31681
Points
Jake 08/08/12 - 05:12 pm
4
6
Outrage

I haven't seen this much outrage in the Augusta since the passing of the Civil Rights Act.
Let's everyone go to Chick-Fil-A tomorrow and stuff our gut in protest.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 08/08/12 - 05:24 pm
4
0
The governor's office

The governor's office fowarded my concerns about the name change to the board of regents....

townsends
185
Points
townsends 08/08/12 - 05:30 pm
3
0
Not affiliated

I'm glad I'm a Phoenix!

prov227
2924
Points
prov227 08/09/12 - 10:15 pm
2
0
It might work ...

Georgia Regents University ... Augusta Arsenal Campus
Georgia Regents University ... Medical College of Georgia Campus
Georgia Regents University ... MCG Rome Campus
Georgia Regents University ... MCG Savannah Campus
(I'm assuming that the Rome and Savannah locations have only ties to MCG programs)

Drain Bamage
41
Points
Drain Bamage 08/08/12 - 05:40 pm
3
0
GRU

I agree the name is depressing...If I were selecting a school to attend the name alone would help make my decision...Call me shallow or whatever else you want to.....Where do you go to school? I attend the University of Georgia...How about you? I attend Georgia Regents University...Huh...Thats a joke right...See what I mean...The name sucks

star
643
Points
star 08/08/12 - 05:56 pm
5
0
Lost respect

Azziz has lost all respect - he LIED TO ALL OF US and DECEIVED US into thinking we had a part in the name!!! LIER, LIER, PANTS ON FIRE! I for one ( and maybe the only one) thought at the beginning of his employment he would be good for MCG - looking at ways to make it internationally more recognized...well he has certainly made the institution more recognizable by this name change; however, not in a positive way. Since the BOR answers to NO ONE ON EARTH they don't care what Augusta thinks and we can just suck it up.

grinder48
1760
Points
grinder48 08/08/12 - 06:01 pm
0
1
Who is stronger?
Unpublished

Who's stronger, the people of the CSRA or ricardo azziz? Surely we can run this charlatan out of town.

XGROUCH
8
Points
XGROUCH 08/08/12 - 06:41 pm
6
0
Disgraced Former Alumni

The fact that two schools merge is not an issue. The fact that virtually no consideration was taken concerning the community the school is located or all the former alumni who dedicated time and money to the school in return for an education shows the ill will of the board of regents. As I look up at both my undergraduate degree and Masters degree on the wall, I see virtually no value as the school will move forward with a new name. One that no one in the community really identifies with. I strongly urge all who care to write the board of regents for a reconsideration.

Sweet son
9713
Points
Sweet son 08/08/12 - 07:13 pm
5
0
Who is to Blame??

The Board of Regents, Axxix or both? The Board of Regents don't live here and Axxix is just a "power monger" who knows nothing about the rich history or the Medical College of Georgia and Augusta State University aka Augusta College. My little diploma says Augusta College and it always will. Many health care professionals' diplomas say the Medical College of Georgia. I hope that all of us are proud to fly the banner of our institutions of higher learning and that most of us are dismayed by the choice of a name for the combined universities. Gov. Deal is saying that he will support the institutions with money but he needs to get on the phone and tell the BOR members that they might need to reconsider their choice. If not then the Georgia CSRA voters should let him know that he will not be their choice in the next election. I really don't like the name University of Augusta and don't have a clear choice for a name for the combined Universities but GRU is pretty lame. Sounds like the Regents are taking credit for what is going on in Augusta and all of us know that they aren't. Secondly, Axxix needs to be gone. He came in the door building his little Clark Kent Superman empire and has not been slowed down with any of his "kingdom" projects. The little man just does not have his heart in what should be his major objective and that is providing a quality education for our college aged children. He is on and has been on an ego trip ever since he hit town and someone or some group needs to stop him.

I hope all of the big givers will rethink their contributions to each of the two schools until this guy is gone. I know that contributions make programs run effectively but I think drastic measures must be taken until this little problematic fellow is gone!

Enough: You get my point!

csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 08/08/12 - 07:18 pm
3
0
The Board of Regents does

The Board of Regents does understand money. Keep your wallets closed when Georgia Regents University looks for community support. Azziz will then understand loud and clear!

KSL
121842
Points
KSL 08/08/12 - 07:18 pm
2
1
Great comments, sweet son.

Great comments, sweet son.

JitSingh
17
Points
JitSingh 08/08/12 - 08:07 pm
4
0
Ship him back

Did the shipping container bearing Ricardo Azziz have a return label? Send him back to Hollywood where he can play Dr. Carolus Linnaeus (father of binomial nomenclature) all he wants. C'mon Azziz, enough of your over the top 'visionary' tweets, time to put on the blue overalls and show some respect to the wishes of the citizenry.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/08/12 - 08:10 pm
3
0
Augusta needs gubna Deal to

Augusta needs gubna Deal to speak or it's outski starting at the top. The BoR are untouchable for the moment. Consolidating the schools around the state equates to less overhead. The proposed state budget cuts 3% off UGA funding (54 M). Schools are experiencing lower enrollment due to HOPE and PELL prerequisites in English. This seems to result in a net gain of nothing. The State didn't do this to increase vision and broaden its horizons. It was rolled out to allocate money in a different direction. In the process they disrespected some kindly proud citizens and that's why I ask for accountability from all of them, starting with the head, ahem Governor.

done railing

KSL
121842
Points
KSL 08/08/12 - 08:17 pm
2
1
GT and alumni weren't too

GT and alumni weren't too happy about Adams' grab for engineering funds. Watch out for the grab for the former MCG.

KSL
121842
Points
KSL 08/08/12 - 08:19 pm
2
1
Hard for smaller BOR schools

Hard for smaller BOR schools to compete with the great big greedy UGA.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/08/12 - 08:38 pm
4
0
Azziz's leadership

Are you really a leader if no one is following you?

KSL
121842
Points
KSL 08/08/12 - 08:41 pm
2
1
Careful, sweet son. In a post

Careful, sweet son. In a post I accidentally hit the s key with my stylus and not the z key which is just below it. I got zapped. I can assure you it was not intentionally a mispelling of Azziz's name unless my subconscious is taking over my conscious. I see similarities in your mispelling and mine, if that is the case. :-)

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