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Regents didn't see results of name survey

Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012 6:20 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Aug 15, 2012 1:12 AM
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 ATLANTA — Members of the Board of Regents have no recollection of seeing marketing survey results before they voted last week on the name of a consolidated university in Augusta.

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Regents contacted Tuesday said they didn’t get the data compiled by Kennesaw State University that compared public perceptions of proposed names. At last week’s meeting, the board voted 17-1 to name the school Georgia Regents University after being told of the survey but hearing no details.

“We were not provided with all the data; however, we were briefed on a summary of what the data was,” Regent Dean Alford said.

He stressed that the survey was only one factor in the decision, but he also said a reporter’s inquiry would prompt him to seek more information.

Copies of survey results released by Georgia Health Sciences University show that the proposed name University of Augusta received a more favorable response when the survey asked whether the name suggested qualities such as excellence, integrity, national and innovative. The name Georgia Regents University elicited mostly neutral reaction, offering, in effect, a blank canvas.

The regents have said they are building on the strength of the combined schools but intend to propel it to national prominence without a name suggesting it was just a community or regional school.

The president of the combined institution, Dr. Ricardo Azziz, describes it as a “new, comprehensive university” and says the name Georgia Regents University recognizes that it is the first research university established by the Board of Regents.

Azziz posted a blog entry Monday saying the University of Augusta name proposal “carried the risk that the new university would be viewed only as a local and parochial concern and not the statewide entity that it needs to, and will, become.”

Of three names proposed to the board, the only vote was on the one with the staff recommendation. University System spokesman John Millsaps declined Tuesday to say who on the staff made the actual recommendation.

“There’s no person that is the recommender, so I don’t know that there is somebody you can talk to,” he said. “... In the end, it was the regents’ call.”

Regent Dink NeSmith, the only vote against Georgia Regents University, said Tuesday that his objection was based on comments from Augusta residents because he hadn’t seen the survey data.

“I know many Augustans are upset, but the naming decisions rest with the Board of Regents,” he said.

NeSmith said that during the three weeks between when the regents were given a list of three names to consider and their vote last week, Azziz met with individual members to discuss the final name. He said Azziz had a favorite.

“He was leaning toward the Georgia Regents name,” NeSmith said, “based on its national and international potential.”

Regent Larry Walker also said that he hadn’t seen the survey results and that its revelation could be enough to prompt the board to revisit its decision.

“I would not promote reconsideration, but I would not say I’m against it,” he said.

Most of the regents did not return phone messages seeking comment. One asked not to be quoted and suggested that Millsaps or Chairman Ben Tarbutton speak for the board. Millsaps said several regents had called him about the media inquiry.

The regents were vocal about their support for Azziz and their commitment to investing heavily in the school.

“The way I finally came down was trying to back up the man we put in charge there in Augusta,” Walker said.

NeSmith agreed.

“When Dr. Ricardo Azziz was hired, he was challenged, by the regents and the governor, to be a change agent,” he said. “The goal is to move the Medical College of Georgia into a top-tier, medical-research university. Dr. Azziz embraced that mission, and change is rarely easy.”

Did the board feel sandbagged by not seeing the survey?

“I have no reason to believe I’ve been misled,” Alford said.

Though the survey showed a generally positive reaction to the name University of Augusta, it also showed that people have definite views of “Augusta” that might not be in sync with the image the board is hoping for as a center of cutting-edge medical research.

In open-ended responses, many volunteered impressions of “Deep South,” “quaint Southern city,” “sleepy backwater” and golf.
Staff Writer Steve Crawford contributed to this article.

Comments (55) Add comment
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beboisme
425
Points
beboisme 08/15/12 - 09:00 am
3
1
Someone please just go ahead

Someone please just go ahead and crown Azziz as King!!!

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/15/12 - 09:06 am
0
2
Mr Mayor, your declaration of

Mr Mayor, your declaration of support is somewhat diluted based on the fact that we've already been going at this for a week now. Being a lame duck affords you the luxury of throwing your constituents under the bus to stay in favor with the big players. It is what it is and the good people of this town are left to live with it. But if that's where you want your legacy to go, then it's your red wagon sir.

'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold..."

So I was studying over some Dewar's last night and i came to a conclusion about how to "move on" as some here post. A compromise, a "Great Compromise". Could both parties be satisfied by calling the school:

Augusta Regents University

???
I can only think of one acronym that exists for ARU. It's the backup band that use to play for Col. Bruce Hampton, the Aquarium Rescue Unit. They are from Georgia, they are fine musicians. I hope the regents will reconsider and we can all get back to getting real things accomplished.

townsends
185
Points
townsends 08/15/12 - 09:07 am
2
0
Columbia County News-Times

For those who need a laugh shot this morning, check out today's Columbia County editorial cartoon.

http://newstimes.augusta.com/opinion/editorial-cartoons/2012-08-15/edito...

useful
628
Points
useful 08/15/12 - 09:11 am
3
0
Dr azziz PLEASE LEAVE,you

Dr azziz
PLEASE LEAVE,you are to smart to rule this city.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/15/12 - 09:21 am
0
2
Why is it that Azziz is so

Why is it that Azziz is so proud of the name, but hasn't spoken a peep to the media?

His only "words" came from a blog post and a press release, which other people were paid to write.

Is he too good to speak directly to the common folk?

bigclaude
331
Points
bigclaude 08/15/12 - 12:15 pm
2
0
Time to move on gang!!!!

GHSU employees are already being told that they can include "soon to be....Georgia Regents University" in their e-mail signatures.

The name will not be changed gang, no matter how much we complain about it. I appreciate and understand everyone's passion on this issue but it is a lost cause. We will be GRU no matter what we all do!!!

Fiat_Lux
14997
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/15/12 - 09:50 am
2
0
Say what?

“I know many Augustans are upset, but the naming decisions rest with the Board of Regents," he said.

The regents, to the man, should have known better that to say something that ill-advised. It is stunning arrogance that they would blow off Augusta's almost universal anger over their action with such a condescending response.

"Many Augustans"? Are you kidding? And "upset"? Are you guys paying any attention at all?

This is shameful and will almost certainly inspire the more connected among us to pursue having the BOR filled by election rather than as a political pay-off for contributions and favors to the governor or his party.

Even the BOR should be insightful and responsive to the people who are affected by their decisions.

tckr1983
360
Points
tckr1983 08/15/12 - 09:50 am
3
1
Mr. Mayor...

Today should be your last day in office, I've lost all confidence in you. The people that elected you have proclaimed in overwhelming numbers that they are dissatisfied with the process that this re-naming has turned into. To the point that even neighboring county governments are putting this issue on the agenda to show solidarity with the people that you SERVE as mayor, the people of Richmond County. If you can't take a stand on this issue, you should hand in your resignation immediately and a special election should be done asap to replace you... I recommend Billy Morris, that's what leadership looks like and quite frankly Mr. Copenhaver, you're a nice guy but clearly showing your colors... YELLOW.

Bizkit
30240
Points
Bizkit 08/15/12 - 10:06 am
4
1
Augusta State University has

Augusta State University has always been a community college but MCG did have international recognition (least before the early retirement fiasco) and has ranked well nationally. Now the medical college fades into obscurity. Azziz is a typical progressive with mindblindness (he only sees his way and doesn't appreciate other cultures and thought processes). A great leader learns to work with the assets he has and with the culture rather than chase trends and fields of dreams.

Bizkit
30240
Points
Bizkit 08/15/12 - 10:10 am
3
2
So the board spent a bunch of

So the board spent a bunch of taxpayer money on a questionaire that they didn't read. Which means they are either incompetent or lying-either way both are unacceptable. So we have a handfull of incompetents deciding Georgia's future. Frightening.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/15/12 - 10:13 am
1
1
From the "Move on" crowd

"I think it is a stroke of genius on Dr. Azziz's behalf to get them to buy into naming it after them," said local Urban Pro Weekly Publisher Ben Hasan.

What you mean is Dr Z sold us down the river and dooped the BoR. Some people, myself included, would characterize that as unscrupulous rather than genius, but to each their own dictionary.

Fiat_Lux
14997
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/15/12 - 10:13 am
3
1
Nevertheless, we absolutely DO NOT want to lose Azziz

Believe it or not, he really is the best thing to happen to MCG in more than 30 years. It would be unbelievably devastating to this institution if he left Augusta over this issue of the new name, and I'm not sure our school would ever recover.

And for all you who don't work here, what Dr. Azziz is doing here really is beyond anything I have seen in more than 30 years. It is stellar and really could take us to a totally new level, if he can accomplish what he would like.

That said, I offer input to Dr. Azziz that picking his battles carefully might lead him to concede this one for the sake of having the overwhelming support of the community in which he and our institution find themselves. If this really is, as stated in "Sculpting in Clay", one of the more minor decisions in the greater scheme of things, there is some wiggle room. I definitely would wiggle to get Augusta back on my side.

Dr. Azziz could not be expected to be genuinely sophisticated about the South or Southerners, regardless of what he thinks he knows or others believe he understands. That much is clear from the way all this has gone down. After all, how could he be?

Apart from being hired and charged to accomplish great things--which he totally can do, he had no real connection to this area, its culture, heritage, or its history. He doesn't know how we think about a lot of important things, or even why some of those things are important. Or perhaps he like so many others formed outside the South, looks and listens and draws the wrong conclusions. That's a very old story.

MCG already struggles with a huge burden of residual resentment from decades of thoughtless actions by people who underestimated solid features in the lay of the land.

There still is time to get back on an even keel with this community. I can't even express how dearly I hope and pray that will happen.

Little Lamb
44887
Points
Little Lamb 08/15/12 - 10:19 am
2
0
Term Limited

Copenhaver is in his last term as mayor. He's got to be thinking about his next career move. Getting involved on one side of a controversy is something he avoids and always has. There are no surprises here.

You would think that real estate development would be a likely fit for Copenhaver when he leaves office. But Dr. Azziz may have a cushy office job waiting for Copenhaver. You never know.

Dean of Students? Chancellor? Provost?

Fiat_Lux
14997
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/15/12 - 10:24 am
2
0
A point worth considering, LL

I think I would throw up if that happens.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/15/12 - 10:29 am
0
2
Fiat, the problem isn't an

Fiat, the problem isn't an unwillingness by the citizens to forgive and unify, it's the precedent set by Dr. Z that going forward, Augusta itself, down to the name, will be written out of the schools future. That is not acceptable and at the cost of losing Azziz, it is the city's call, not a small group of people with lots of funding.

And its not a refusal to compromise either, the ball is in their court at this point.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/15/12 - 10:44 am
3
0
Dear MoveOn.org folks

If MCG can become GHSU and GHSU can become GRU all in a matter of a few months, then GRU can become something - anything - else.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/15/12 - 10:48 am
1
2
Augusta Regents University

Augusta Regents University

rmwhitley
5536
Points
rmwhitley 08/15/12 - 10:50 am
0
0
Those poor
Unpublished

regents in their ivory towers don't have time to pay attention to their appointed "jobs" Give 'em a break! Leg!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/15/12 - 11:00 am
6
0
Looking into my crystal ball...

I see Copenhaver Field at the GRU Downtown Athletic Complex.

...point to ponder
743
Points
...point to ponder 08/15/12 - 11:21 am
1
0
Board of Visitors at MCG/GHSU

In additon to Mr. Morris(*thank you!)...who else is on the Board of Visitors...the link seems to be "not working" on the medical school's web site?

Fiat_Lux
14997
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/15/12 - 11:39 am
3
0
David (@10:29),

I could not agree more with you.

I don't see us, the great unwashed, as the problem in this flap. I do see that having those with the power to choose our name misread us so badly has created a huge problem, possibly one that Dr. Azziz doesn't yet really believe exists.

scamp1
103
Points
scamp1 08/15/12 - 12:09 pm
2
0
Song Lyrics

Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of GRU
Duke, Duke, Duke of GRU
Duke, Duke, Duke of GRU
Duke, Duke, Duke of GRU

Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of GRU
Duke, Duke, Duke of GRU
Duke, Duke, Duke of GRU
Duke, Duke, Duke of GRU

As I-I walk through this world
Nothing can stop The Duke of GRU
And-a you, you are my school
And no one can stop me, oh no
Yes, a-I, oh, I'm gonna rename you
Oh, oh
Come on ASU let me rename you
'Cause I'm the Duke of GRU
So, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah and

And when I rename you
You'll be the college
College of GRU
We'll walk through my Duke-dom
And a paradise we will share

Yes, a-I, oh, I'm really gonna destroy you
Oh, oh, nothing can stop me, now
'Cause I'm The Duke of GRU
So, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo
Doo-ooo-uke
Oh-oh-whoa-oh

Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo
Du-ooo-hoo-uke
Oh-oh-oh

Yeah, I
Oh, I'm gonna destroy you
Oh-oh
Nothing can stop me, now
'Cause I'm the Duke of GRU
So, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Du-hoo-hoo-ooo-uke
Du-hoo-hoo-uke
So, whoa, whoa, ho-whoa

FADES-
Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo.

~

KSL
124791
Points
KSL 08/15/12 - 12:46 pm
3
0
What a hoot!

Just looked up the Board of Regents to see who the was on it. Lo and behold, one of them was a year ahead of me in high school. Not only that, we grew up as neighbors. I think I'll contact him.

Scamp, he would be quite familiar with your song.

batya
280
Points
batya 08/15/12 - 01:22 pm
1
0
@Fools_and_sages

".... and won't have a student body that is drawn mostly from the local population."

THAT'S where my problem lies! How many people in our community are now going to be stuck in poverty because they don't have an affordable, good local school to go to anymore??? There are people that make bad choices in life and need a place to go to and turn their life around....like me. I am currently a non-traditional student at ASU that was able to get in with a GED. I am now an A/B student that is about to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I could have never done this at a school like UGA or Georgia Southern. Now, my family's life is about to change for the better....thanks to ASU. And this is a positive for both me personally and the community.

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 08/15/12 - 01:28 pm
0
0
Just HOW could those semi literate Regents NOT KNOW
Unpublished

od the citizens sentiments in naming the Unversity of Augusta?

Conservative Man
5353
Points
Conservative Man 08/15/12 - 03:09 pm
2
0
Duh!

Of course they never saw the results. Their minds were made up months ago...

RoadkiII
6445
Points
RoadkiII 08/15/12 - 03:57 pm
2
0
If the Board of regents never

If the Board of regents never saw the results of the survey, shouldn't Dr Azziz be writing a $45,000 check to cover the cost?

harley_52
22812
Points
harley_52 08/15/12 - 04:00 pm
2
0
I Agree....

...with Willow.

"The more they say, the worse it all gets."

And with Jane18.

"To members of board of regents: YOU ARE LYING!!"

Why would they include "Augusta" in the name of a school whose main campus was in Athens?

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 08/15/12 - 05:16 pm
0
0
There's more coming...

Sure would be nice for Dr. Azziz to simply tell the truth about the overall planning for the future of ASU, and MCG in Augusta. At least then, perhaps he could regain a modicum of respect from the community. (After the 50K is repaid.)

fftaz71
108
Points
fftaz71 08/15/12 - 07:48 pm
1
1
They should be careful what they wish for....

Im no longer in Augusta, nor was I raised here BUT I do believe the BOR has this all wrong. They want a major school in Augusta, but they dont want the name to be associated with Augusta. You cant have it both ways. Apparently they have never heard of the University of Rochester...which is the epitomy of what they are trying to accomplish. A medical school with a teaching hospital AND a research university. UofR however embraces their local community and has not turned their backs on them. In return, they are given much community support. They have students from all over the world...including the local community. Im apalled at the thought that they have made it clear they do not want the school to attract local community members...without the local community on board the school is doomed to fail. Btw, I knew what MCG was before I ever moved to the south.... Augusta, the BOR definitely failed yall. Btw, theres another college called Regent University...they are thinking of a lawsuit in regards to the new name. Wont that be interesting....

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