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Records show University of Augusta was most preferred

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Had they gone with the results of the market research and surveys, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents would have voted for University of Augusta as the new name for the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities, according to records obtained by The Augusta Chronicle.

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In the only time it was included in the survey, the name the regents selected – Georgia Regents University – did not even rank in the top 3.

In the national and Georgia telephone surveys, among internal polls of faculty members, staffers, students, and among people in the Augusta community, the University of Augusta was the top vote-getter every time, according to research conducted for committees working on the consolidation. The Chronicle obtained the records through a Georgia Open Records Act request.

GHSU paid $45,500 to Kennesaw State University’s A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service to conduct a phone survey of 800 people nationally and 400 people in Georgia, and an Internet survey of 200 faculty members at other institutions.

Those polled were told they were being asked about “potential names for a new comprehensive research university,” to rank how much they liked or disliked the name, and which names they associated with the concepts of “prestige, excellence and innovation,” according to a proposal for the research.

In the first wave, when respondents were asked to rate the names from 1 to 5, with 5 being “like very much,” University of Augusta was the top vote-getter, earning a 4 or 5 from 68.5 percent of the people in Georgia and 55.9 percent nationally.

MIDWAY THROUGH THE tel­e­phone surveys, and apparently after the initial six finalists got a tepid reception, the potential names in the national survey changed.

University of Augusta and Bartram University were kept and five names with “Georgia” in the title were added, including Georgia Regents.

In the national survey of 199 people, University of Augusta was still tops, with 57 percent giving it a 4 or 5, followed by Georgia National University and Georgia Eastern University.

Georgia Regents was a distant fourth, getting favorable marks from less than one-third of those polled.

The survey also asked people about Augusta, including in which state it was located, and gave them the option to choose more than one. In Georgia, 96 percent said it was in Georgia; 74 percent nationally said it was in Georgia and 6.4 percent said Maine.

There was a third wave of 241 people nationally that was labeled “Final Results for the Last Set of Names,” but it does not say when it was performed.

It appears similar to a final recommended list given to the Consolidation Working Group by the Branding Work Team, but that survey does not contain the name Georgia Regents University.

Once again, University of Augusta had the most favorable marks, at 47.9 percent. Those polled were asked how the word “Augusta” made them feel. Most, 45.8 percent, said “no feeling either way,” while 44.2 percent said it gave them a positive feeling and only 2.7 percent said negative.

In the faculty survey, University of Augusta also received the most favorable ratings, 68.3 percent, and was the one most associated with “prestige,” “excellence,” “innovation” and even “national.”

When asked what they most associated “Augusta” with, many said golf, the Masters Tournament, the South and, being academics, some brought up Roman emperor Caesar Augustus.

The Chronicle asked for documents related to travel in connection with the naming process but was not given any travel documents.

IN A REPORT titled “Nam­ing Timeline,” however, it appears GHSU President Ricardo Azziz or perhaps his designates did approach state leaders and regents. In a section of the timeline titled, “Meet with Leaders,” it reads, “Dr. Azziz to meet with Regents and other state/local leaders” from June 28, after the branding team gave its six finalists, to July 17, when the Consoli­da­tion Working Group picked three finalists and sent them to the Board of Regents.

Asked to outline the process before the regents voted, Azziz said that three rounds of surveys had been done and that “that data” helped determine the three finalists, which included Georgia Regents, University of Augusta and Georgia Arts & Sciences University.

“It’s a little bit more extensive and certainly a bit more costly than previously, but we did feel that the name should have a statewide and national and eventually global impact, as would our university,” he said.

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Think Deeper
46
Points
Think Deeper 08/11/12 - 10:49 am
0
4
What about those ladies?

Okay I think most of us are forgetting that there were a few ladies who initially sent the 3 prospective names to BOR. Remember most of the people wanted Georgia A&M University and they [(those ladies) and King Azziz diddn't want medicine included] didn't listen to the people at the initial level and include that option. Nevertheless, we get screwed in this process and are now saddled with Georgia Regents University. Another thing with a projected student population of 10,000 to 12,000 we are certainly to get a football team. Who the heck would we frighten with a name like Georgia Regents. We would never get invited into the ACC, SEC or Southern Conference with a name like that but a name like Georgia A&M look out!

I agree that the name should reflect the state of Georgia and beyond so maybe having the Georgia name included is fine without having Augusta mentioned but lets not make it personal either. I believe those ladies who made sent the names over to BOR without fully embracing the offered names back in May and June really caused the problem. I don't believe they even had any GHSU or ASU students on that committee. I actually think University of Augusta is better than GRU but I am not convinced that UofA is a good name either. I like Georgia International University but that doesn't sound frightening either lol. But as a graduate of AC (remember that?) GRU has to go because there is no way we can study under that banner and be taken seriously around the country.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/11/12 - 10:57 am
4
1
I would think deeper,
Unpublished

I would think deeper, thinkdeeper. Do you really want to lay the blame on "those ladies" that sent the names to the BOR?? Have you been following this charade???

Fiat_Lux
15146
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/11/12 - 11:19 am
3
0
For such high-energy hype, what a disappointment

You know, I really wanted this guy to succeed here. He's smart and forward-looking and has looked promising enough to be given wide latitude to prove himself by GHSU and the rest of Augusta, and to some extent by the state. We have gamely tolerated the uproar and headaches that big change to a big institution inevitably brings. We've put up with more dislocations and rearrangements and total transformations during this guy's short tenure at the helm than I've experienced in 30 years at MCG. And in some ways, he's made the presidents since Moretz look like pikers.

Azziz has been here for two years now, but apparently still doesn't have the first clue who we are. He's trying to work around us, mostly pulling in people from all over elsewhere to help implement his vision -- which isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, an alarming number of them operate with the same out-dated stereotypes of us that Azziz, himself, seems to harbor behind that winning smile.

It's almost as though we've been designated an academic mission field (if only), but more likely, some academic third world territory that is ripe for conquest and exploitation.

There is no reason Azziz can't have what he envisions here, but he is shooting off his own foot with his current tactics. Augusta's people are quite adept at smiling pleasantly while grinding things to a standstill and just waiting him out.

Get this name thing right, Dr. Azziz. This is more important than you realize, and it is a lot more important than your time line for anything else, including accreditation. It is important that you pay attention to this reaction and stop trying to blow us off so that you can move on to your next big adventure.

lynxhockey
9
Points
lynxhockey 08/11/12 - 11:17 am
3
0
Azziz

has now made himself the most hated man in Augusta and CSRA. I don't know how he thinks this is going to help him. He is public enemy No.1 and everyone will think long and hard before being associated with any of his ideas in the future. He has really set himself back big time.

Fiat_Lux
15146
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/11/12 - 11:34 am
2
2
@LynxHockey

I think that is a little over the top. Azziz is not public enemy #1 in Augusta, nor is he hated. People are angry, even outraged at him because of this boneheaded, almost disdainful move on renaming MCG again.

He still is one of the very best things to hit MCG in 50 years, a fact that must be remembered while we are bashing him for being stupefyingly thick in the renaming fiasco.

I sincerely hope he comes around and survives this gigantic misstep. I work there and I see everyday the positives of his vision. (I also see some of the awful people and treachery that have crept into places and been allowed to flourish where it never was before.)

On balance, he was a good choice--if he can adapt his strategy to work with the people and the place where he is, instead of steamrolling over everything and everybody that doesn't jibe with his vision.

townsends
185
Points
townsends 08/11/12 - 11:49 am
1
0
Just thinking

Wasn't Paine College broken into a few months back? To add, aren't they having some money problems that were brought on by incompetence? I wonder if the person responsible for mismanaging student financial aid and inaccurately reporting enrollment and financial data to the government at Paine has any ties to Azziz?

NrthAugustaSam
473
Points
NrthAugustaSam 08/11/12 - 12:00 pm
2
0
Exit Strategy

Assiz has to leave! You cannot lead if you are not respected. He dug this hole himself.

noxiousfumes
430
Points
noxiousfumes 08/11/12 - 12:20 pm
3
0
Found something interesting about ZZZZ. . .

He's been hiding his greatest gift. . . bizarre art. . . explains a lot.

http://razzizstudio.com/#/537_Home

townsends
185
Points
townsends 08/11/12 - 01:11 pm
1
0
BTW

I suppose not allowing the foundation to buy the Augusta Public Transit property was a bad move.

Fiat_Lux
15146
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/11/12 - 01:22 pm
2
0
Wow.

Good to know. Hat tip noxiousfumes.

Sweet son
10114
Points
Sweet son 08/11/12 - 01:26 pm
2
0
@ Those who are Regulars! And Others Too!

Keep the pressure on! Hammer Dr. Clark Kent Cool every chance you get! Slam him at every misstep!

Let's at least make it uncomfortalbe for him! You know he is not leaving until he is ready but we certainly don't want him to be able to smile too much about the "Azziz Dynasty."

countyman
19745
Points
countyman 08/11/12 - 02:52 pm
0
2
I don't think the local

I don't think the local community here in metro Augusta can have it both ways... Several people tend to bash Augusta daily, and then got mad when Dr. Azziz said Augusta wasn't cool... I did agreed with his statement(Knoxville, Charleston, etc) when you compare Augusta versus some of it's peers. Downtown and the urban core are the main places who create the local scene... Local shops, festivals, restaurants, musicians, artist, parades, etc...

You have certain people who continue to say Richmond County is 60% black, exaggerate in terms of the crime rate, etc but you expect the people in Georgia living outside of metro Augusta to know what's going on here.. Some people living in our area don't even know the true facts of the main county.. Then we had several other locals tell us outside of the southeast Augusta, Maine is the 'Augusta' who comes to mind first... The community shouldn't have to wait outsiders to come here, and then want to show the community pride...

United we stand and divided we fall.. This exactly why companies are moving here instead of flocking here(no regional brand/identity)...

noway
201
Points
noway 08/11/12 - 02:56 pm
1
0
tax payer money

So Azziz used taxpayer money to do a survey, which was totally overpriced, and ignored the results. Why do the survey in the first place? $45,500 could have paid for a new faculty member that ASU needs. AND everyone knows he lied in front of the board of regents, and it's ok? If I wasted that much money and then lied to my bosses, I guarantee that I'd be fired. Why does Azziz get carte blanche? This is a travesty of epic proportions. Just blatantly wasting money is unacceptable. And the employees haven't gotten raises and things can't be fixed because there isn't any money? But he can WASTE $45,500? My blood is boiling.... Thank you AC for uncovering and exposing this disgust.

Fiat_Lux
15146
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/11/12 - 03:05 pm
2
0
Well, countyman

Then perhaps having a world-class institution with Augusta in its name will help the flocking begin, eh?

BTW, we do have all the problems that people cite on a regular basis, but pointing out problems isn't quite the same thing as being disloyal citizens. It is more about trying to stir people off their duffs to do something about their thieving and murderous brats, about pointing fingers at corruption and ridiculing pretension and cronyism than about disloyalty.

It's about loving our city and its long history and being dismayed and outraged at what low-lifes and other objectionable people are doing to it.

That covers a lot of territory, but don't accuse us of wanting to "have it both ways".

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 08/11/12 - 03:16 pm
1
0
People "in charge" don't care

As an alumnus of the old Augusta College I resented combining it with what used to be The Medical College of Georgia anyway. Perhaps ONLY alumni and present students should have been allowed to choose the name of a new institution forced upon the community. Once again this man proves the fact that those elected or otherwise chosen to oversee government, be it a university or other government, care not about what the alumni nor students want - so why was all that money spent on choosing a name when that name was NEVER in serious consideration? WE see this same disregard for we the people in local government and particularly in our federal government now. The president of the University of Georgia did the same - he totally disregarded what the school wanted or needed in some instances in order to further his own agenda a "Father Knows Best" mentality which seems to be the case with the President of Whatever University in Augusta, Georgia. The whole idea came out like a blast and was done before any serious discussion or determinations for the best interest of all could be given consideration. So what IS the legal name for the school now? Does anyone even know?

IHawkI
4
Points
IHawkI 08/11/12 - 03:20 pm
2
0
I think if alumni withdraw

I think if alumni withdraw their financial support, you will see changes made. It's (always) all about the money.

noway
201
Points
noway 08/11/12 - 03:23 pm
3
0
in addition

The upper administration at both universities are making people keep their mouths shut about their opinions about the name change. Some have even received "talking points" about the name. What to say to the public in support of the change. Seriously? People are afraid to say anything in fear of losing their jobs. It is horrible. No one should work in fear like that. What's right and just is being squashed. It's all so sad.

countyman
19745
Points
countyman 08/11/12 - 03:54 pm
0
1
Fiat Lux...There's an major

Fiat Lux...

There's an major difference between legitimate concerns, and bashing the city of Augusta..

Commenting how Augusta needs to improve the crime rate to attract more businesses/industry is understandable.. Comparing the crime rate of Augusta with Detroit are the kind of statements I'm referring too.

How many times do we constantly hear Augusta is so poor and uneducated? When the facts clearly show Augusta is richer and more educated than alot of it's peers...

lynxhockey
9
Points
lynxhockey 08/11/12 - 03:54 pm
2
0
Yes, probably not most hated

yet GRU will always = Azziz. Not many things around Augusta has a FB page (Say no to GRU) that pops up and has nearly 4000 "likes" in two days. The naming fiasco is going to be a ball-and-chain and hamper many good ideas he has. He may be the best thing for MCG but he is not helping himself or the school, as someone stated earlier, by "steam rolling" over public opinion. He will never be able to distance himself from this in the CSRA or if he does it will be a long time. And that is sad for someone who obviously must be very intellegent (other than picking out names).

Of course neither he nor the BOR can admit they messed up. If anything I believe that this is just making them all more determined to never consider a change - they can not admit they were wrong.

Looks like we will have to live with it for a few years and then after Azziz leaves and the BOR has turned over, spend many millions to rename the school again. I don't see GRU name sticking around for many years. Why not fix now, before spending the millions on ads, new signs, letterhead, etc? But everyone's ego won't let them admit fault.

Riverman1
82450
Points
Riverman1 08/11/12 - 03:56 pm
2
0
Countyman said, "Downtown and

Countyman said, "Downtown and the urban core are the main places who create the local scene... "

Local scene can mean whatever you want it to mean. Every facet of the CSRA has something to offer.

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/11/12 - 04:07 pm
0
1
Augusta mall
Unpublished

has more businesses than downtown Augusta. Get over this idea that downtown is the "central business district". It isn't It hasn't been since the 1970s.

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/11/12 - 04:09 pm
0
2
btw
Unpublished

naming the university after the most corrupt city in the nation would do nothing to bolster its prestige.

countyman
19745
Points
countyman 08/11/12 - 04:35 pm
0
0
The Central Business District

The Central Business District has more businesses compared to the Augusta mall... I'm positive there's over 300 businesses in the CBD alone, and growing.. There's also no cluster of high paying jobs at the Augusta mall... The headquarters of ESI, Wachovia building, Rural Sourcing, etc are located in the CBD..

Nobody said the entire CSRA didn't have things to offer.. The fact still remains chain restaurants, retail, etc usually open in the suburbs, and not the downtown area... There's alot more local businesses, diversity, live music, parades, entertainment, festivals, art galleries, sense of community, etc clustered together in the urban core versus the entire CSRA...

GQ magazine went to the Frog Hollow restaurant downtown, and not the Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Buffalo Wild Wings, etc in West Augusta..

I've talked to many visitors who've stayed at both the Marriott's downtown, and Sheraton in West Augusta... They always bring up the Riverwalk, and the proximity of amenities on Broad street... While most agree Washington rd is similar to several strips located in the suburbs..

Fiat_Lux
15146
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/11/12 - 04:44 pm
1
0
Haven't traveled much or very far, have you

Shellman?

Augusta is a peach of a place by comparison to places like Birmingham, a place that I really like as cities go. I think you simply don't like Augusta, period, and, unfortunately, that skews your assessment into unreliable realms.

Too bad.

Fiat_Lux
15146
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/11/12 - 04:45 pm
1
0
@ countyman

Please try to stay on topic. Refer to title of article if necessary.

r
400
Points
r 08/11/12 - 05:34 pm
1
0
Brain behind the name!!!

Of course the brain behind this name is the same brain a behind the cost of the MCG name change, the blue cross contract!!! Thank you those who brought him here!!! All of the hospitals and colleges will be known by no one and bankrupt by the time he leaves!!!

KSL
126955
Points
KSL 08/11/12 - 05:49 pm
0
0
Augusta, ME? A town with a

Augusta, ME? A town with a population in 2009 of less than 20,000?

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/11/12 - 06:52 pm
0
0
Oh yes downtown
Unpublished

is where everyone goes to buy their back to school clothes.. downtown has all of the department stores. Downtown has all of the most popular restaurants like Cheddars. Downtown is where you go to see the latest movie. Downtown has many fine businesses... but it is hardly the center for commerce in the Augusta area.. that shifted west decades ago.

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/11/12 - 06:55 pm
1
0
but hey
Unpublished

you can go downtown to buy a wig, a zoot suit, pawn your wedding ring and get a lap dance from a meth addicted prostitute. Cue the Petula Clark!

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 08/11/12 - 07:15 pm
0
0
Shellman, add to your list; a

Shellman, add to your list; a green egg, some old furniture and lots of tattoos:)

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