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William S. Morris III resigns from GHSU board over Georgia Regents name

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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.

William S. Morris III  FILE
FILE
William S. Morris III

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.

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pwburt
34
Points
pwburt 08/11/12 - 11:45 pm
13
2
Good Job, Mr. Morris, Also,

Good Job, Mr. Morris, Also, please pull all of your business support and donations to any causes at the new GRU until the naming issue is revisited. Please suggest to all of your friends and business associates to do the same.

specsta
6730
Points
specsta 08/12/12 - 12:58 am
8
34
Let's Clean House

Maybe if more of these old, tired-idea folks would resign their positions, Augusta could actually come out of the dark Ages and join the 21st century.

People hate on Azziz because he is a man with a vision. That rattles a lot of people around Augusta - people who cling to old traditions and embrace the same old mess that dictates that this city's goal is to strive for mediocrity.

It's pretty obvious that the brand "Augusta" is limiting - I salute Azziz for his forward thinking, expanding beyond the small-minded tripe that chokes this city.

I can only imagine how this city would grow up if a real visionary, with deep pockets, took this city under his/her wing. The wrecked houses that make this city look like a trash pile would be cleaned up, tourist attractions would be built and cultural arts would be expanded and funded.

Look at all of this silliness over a name change. If folks would get just as upset about the mediocrity that rules this city, Augusta might have a chance to become a place that people would actually want to move to and live.

Trouble
2506
Points
Trouble 08/12/12 - 02:49 am
14
3
way to go mr morris

now, if others will just follow his example, maybe just maybe mr azziz will get the message.

RoadkiII
6807
Points
RoadkiII 08/12/12 - 03:39 am
14
4
I can only imagine how this

I can only imagine how this city would grow up if a real visionary, with deep pockets, took this city under his/her wing.

Problem is the "deep pockets" are the tax payers pockets. I salute Mr Morris for being a man of integrity on this issue.

seenitB4
93601
Points
seenitB4 08/12/12 - 05:11 am
15
2
Thank you

Thank you Mr Morris......I'm clapping.:)

jamesnewsome
38
Points
jamesnewsome 08/12/12 - 06:04 am
14
2
Well Said Mr. Morris

It is good to hear someone with clout state the obvious about the name change of ASU and MCG. Now if the Mayor would change his position, and if Augusta's legislative delegation would unite and force the issue perhaps the Governor would take action. If is now obvious that Azziz is far more concerned about his legacy than Augusta's future.

Riverman1
90427
Points
Riverman1 08/12/12 - 06:14 am
16
0
Riverman is happy SOMEONE in

Riverman is happy SOMEONE in the community has called out Dr. Azziz on this ill advised renaming. Officials and others in charge of our local institutions should follow the example. Thank you, Mr. Morris.

To Dr. Azziz, there is a way out of this. Keep the names of the two schools as they are and use Ga Regents U. as an umbrella name of sorts. Sir, I do hope you realize by now how tremendously important the name is to our area.

NrthAugustaSam
504
Points
NrthAugustaSam 08/12/12 - 06:28 am
12
1
Bravo Mr. Morris!

Perhaps there are others in Augusta to follow your lead. Let's keep this front page.

Beachgal
395
Points
Beachgal 08/12/12 - 06:52 am
16
0
Spectsa

I do agree with Spectsa's points about Dr. Azziz bringing vision and change to Augusta. People (as a rule) don't like change, and many times it does take someone from the outside to shake things up and move us in a different direction. I am a proud graduate, and former employee of, MCG and MCG Health, Inc. I have watched change occur over the decades that I have been associated with the institution. For the most part, those changes have been very positive. My objection to this whole name change is the farce of staging a poll and the powers that be portraying that they actually cared that the people of Augusta had a voice in naming the combined institutions. We all know that Dr. Azziz and the BOR already knew what they were going to name the school. Just tell us what it is going to be without all the expense and charade. It's insulting.

Dixieman
16561
Points
Dixieman 08/12/12 - 07:07 am
14
1
Wow!

THANK YOU Mr. Morris! Maybe this will jump-start things.

MD2013
101
Points
MD2013 08/12/12 - 07:37 am
11
1
Well done sir! Couldn't have

Well done sir! Couldn't have said it better myself.

tinytuna
74
Points
tinytuna 08/12/12 - 07:49 am
13
2
Augusta

Thank you Mr. Morris. I am really weary of Dr. Azziz. Who is this man and why is he trying his best to rearrange my hometown? Is there anything that can actually be done? Help!

dwb619
100833
Points
dwb619 08/12/12 - 08:09 am
2
0
Laney Walker

Closing Laney Walker from Wrightsboro to 15th is next.

scoopdedoop64
2488
Points
scoopdedoop64 08/12/12 - 08:10 am
7
1
Well Said

Well said and well done Mr. Morris. As for Mr. Azziz it is clear that he doesn''t care and won't care unless forced to do so. Therefore, let everyone in this community withdraw support until this name change happens with Augusta in the name.

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 08/12/12 - 08:35 am
7
1
Well Done Mr. Morris

I am glad to see someone in this town that has some clout stand up to these people.

Dr. Azzis doesn't care about us, doesn't care what we think. He is not from here, when he leaves us and goes back to California all the mess he leaves us with will be long forgotten. He does not have to live with it nor does his family.

But at least he is "sad" that the community is upset. What an arrogant so and so. I guarantee he thinks Augusta is a backwards, socially inept, gap-toothed, hee-haw southern town..wait...we aren't are we?

Anyway, I am so glad to see this is one issue we seem to be united on in this town.

Brad Owens
4859
Points
Brad Owens 08/12/12 - 08:57 am
7
12
Hmmm

Well, Aziz did cut in on Billy's river front action by getting the old Golf and Gardens...conflicting visions for Augusta maybe?

lovingthesouth72
1399
Points
lovingthesouth72 08/12/12 - 09:13 am
7
1
And so the exodus begins.

And so the exodus begins. Good for Mr Morris. Does anyone know if this decision of naming GRU can be reversed or is it set in stone? University of August is sounding quite nice now.

Riverman1
90427
Points
Riverman1 08/12/12 - 09:14 am
15
2
Brad, Wrong Place and Time

We have to focus on the issue at hand. This is about the name change that has severely harmed our community. Mr. Morris has kicked things off with an open show of his dissatisfaction unlike most other influential people in our community.

Deke should have gotten off the beach soon as he heard the name and driven straight here pell-mell, smashing his car into Azziz's office wall like he was robbing a gunshop and telling him this would NOT fly.

KSL
140020
Points
KSL 08/12/12 - 09:14 am
10
3
Uncalled for, Brad.

Uncalled for, Brad.

KSL
140020
Points
KSL 08/12/12 - 09:19 am
6
2
Thanks, River.

Thanks, River.

Riverman1
90427
Points
Riverman1 08/12/12 - 09:20 am
3
2
Thank you, KSL. GMTA

Thank you, KSL. GMTA

Fiat_Lux
16241
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/12/12 - 09:52 am
8
0
Now, if only we hear from some other notables with clout...

...like the people we elected to represent us in Atlanta, for instance. Are they too busy kissing bu..., uh, babies to present our legitimate complaint to the governor and the legislature?

MrsNewsome
43
Points
MrsNewsome 08/12/12 - 09:40 am
8
0
well said

Well said Mr. Morris. Someone that gets it - completely ignoring the communities response will not work very well to aid in their goals....

ctchpln
336
Points
ctchpln 08/12/12 - 09:47 am
8
0
thank you

Thank you, Mr. Morris, for standing up for what is right and good. Perhaps more in the community who have influence with the higher learning powers that be will follow your lead.

Fiat_Lux
16241
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/12/12 - 09:48 am
10
2
Hey guys

GMT y'all River and KSL, and you're right about Brad's little gratuitousness.

The only way this will be rectified is by constant, steadily-increasing pressure punctuated with concrete acts of protest such as the esteemed Mr. Morris has modeled.

Deke had better step up to the plate on this, and start calling in his markers and button-holing friends. This is no time to be mealy-mouthed or to sit back and play Mr. Nice-Guy.

Fiat_Lux
16241
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/12/12 - 09:56 am
9
0
Is he gonna get it, you think?

You really have to wonder how a smart, visionary guy like Azziz didn't see this coming.

I wonder if he is now starting to understand the downside of forcing this overwhelmingly rejected name upon us, or the upside of giving in.

Unfortunately, now even giving in, he will be watched with a certain amount of wariness for a long time to come.

But then, he's really not from around here.

Riverman1
90427
Points
Riverman1 08/12/12 - 10:02 am
2
1
Barry Paschal ran a fantastic

Barry Paschal ran a fantastic editorial in the Columbia County News Times opposed to the name also.

Brad Owens
4859
Points
Brad Owens 08/12/12 - 10:03 am
4
10
Uncalled for?

Front page story about Billy resigning from some board days after the event, once public opinion has been shouted loud, is hardly called for. Aziz cut in on Billy's riverfront dominance and this will move a large power base from his cronies and businesses to someone else.

NrthAugustaSam
504
Points
NrthAugustaSam 08/12/12 - 10:08 am
8
1
Deke? Are you listening?

You are either "for" us or "against" us. You cannot be John Kerry an be for it before you were against it. Get on board or you risk going out with the rest of the trash. Dr Azziz has already lost any respect, trust, and credibility he could have hoped to have. Are you planning to move back to California with him?

Brad Owens
4859
Points
Brad Owens 08/12/12 - 10:14 am
4
1
A projected 10,000 students more?

The name is terrible, it can be changed. The future of the university is the question, and from what I have seen, Aziz has some amazing vision. I will withhold judgement on Aziz till the fat lady sings. The name can be changed.

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