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Azziz told he's lost trust over school name change

SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Interim President Shirley Strum Kenny (left) stands on stage near Ricardo Azziz during a forum at Augusta State University. Azziz defended the selection of Georgia Regents University as the name for the new consolidated university to about 400 audience members.
Thursday, Aug 16, 2012 12:15 PM
Last updated Friday, Aug 17, 2012 1:38 AM
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During two public forums about the merging of Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities, audience members at ASU told GHSU President Ricardo Azziz he made a mistake in the naming of the consolidated university.

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Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz (right) answers questions during a forum at Augusta State University about the merger of the two schools. "I would hope the community can move beyond the name," he said. "The community is not just Augusta. It is the whole state of Georgia."  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz (right) answers questions during a forum at Augusta State University about the merger of the two schools. "I would hope the community can move beyond the name," he said. "The community is not just Augusta. It is the whole state of Georgia."

“I’m interested in knowing what kind of leader you can be,” said Augusta resident David Steele at the ASU campus forum. “Are you going to be a strong, thick-skinned change agent and also admit a mistake?”

Azziz defended the selection of Georgia Regents University as the name for the new consolidated university to an audience of about 400 at ASU and another 500 at GHSU. With the Oct. 1 deadline approaching to submit a final name to the accrediting agency, he said the name is final and there is no time to reconsider.

“I would hope the community can move beyond the name,” Azziz said. “The community is not just Augusta. It is the whole state of Georgia.”

“We don’t trust you!” said ASU health and physical education major Chris Nabholz in response.

After several people at ASU expressed disgust for the chosen name and its acronym GRU, Azziz explained how the name came to be. He began the afternoon forum at GHSU, which was less confrontational, with a similar explanation.

A Consolidation Working Group gathered about 1,200 names accumulated from the community and narrowed them down to 25. From there, they cut the list to three. After some testing, the group was left with: University of Augusta, Georgia Arts and Sciences University and Georgia Regents University.

Azziz said the University System of Georgia Board of Regents selected GRU, and he believes the decision is not a mistake.

“At the end of the day the Regents made their own decision,” he told the crowd at the ASU forum.

That selection was made even after a $45,000 survey conducted by Kennesaw State University found University of Augusta was the top-vote getter among 1,400 people polled nationally and statewide.

The working group recommended names that were either positive or neutral, with the idea that the perception of a neutral name can be changed, Azziz said.

“To think that the Regents made the decision because the president suggested one thing or another is to not understand the process of the Regents and to undervalue what they’re contributing,” he said at GHSU.

Azziz added there was a “tremendous amount of one-sided coverage of this” among the media.

Susan Schepens, who attended the ASU forum, said leaders should
never disregard the results of data and surveys they conduct. She questioned how the community can trust Azziz moving forward if people were already misled about the brandability of GRU.

“The people here are questioning whether or not there’s trust in the air,” Schepens said.

GHSU medical student Harrison Grace asked Azziz about problems with national name recognition for the medical school.

“Our students need to have value and that means we’re going to have to invest in our name. We’re going to have to spend time and resources of our university to market this nationally, so we’re doing that,” Azziz responded. “The value won’t be immediately after you graduate, by the way. It’ll be 10 to 20 years from now.”

Toward the end of the forum at GHSU, medical student Aaron Winn told Azziz he “didn’t understand why we didn’t shoot higher” for a name with national recognition.

ASU assistant professor of history Michael Searles questioned how a name like GRU could be branded to be nationally recognized, like consolidation leaders have said they wanted, when many don’t recognize the word Regents.

Azziz said it will be a 10 to 20 year process, one the community should get behind.

Also at the GHSU forum, Azziz said the university will grow medical and nonscience research in a “strategic manner” but that both were important.

Azziz said the medical college, under his tenure as president, will not move to Athens, Ga., where the University of Georgia has expanded its medical campus.

After leaving the one-hour forum, ASU alumni Catherine Rutland said she felt disheartened. She felt insulted that the overwhelming consensus from the community against the name is being ignored.

“Everything just blew off (Azziz) and nothing seemed to get into his head,” Rutland said. “It’s like we don’t even matter. I think people are very passionate about how they feel about this, and we shouldn’t give up.”

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bluelightspecial6969
15
Points
bluelightspecial6969 08/16/12 - 03:33 pm
6
1
CUT THE FUNDING

EVERYBODY THAT GIVES TO A.S.U CUT YOUR GIVING OUT IT WILL SHOW IN THE LONG RUN DONT GIVE BACK GIVE TO AUGUSTA TECH.

ridesbrd
112
Points
ridesbrd 08/16/12 - 03:36 pm
5
0
I think the Internet and

I think the Internet and newspaper bullying has gone far enough with no promise of change. The time is now to cut all sponsorships, Alumni donations, and funding from the local community to these two schools. Also all employees and students should go on strike, this will all work if 97% of Augusta is that upset about this. right?

Little Lamb
44012
Points
Little Lamb 08/16/12 - 03:39 pm
3
1
Spelling Error

In the next to last paragraph we read that Catherine Rutland is an 'alumni' of ASU.

Actually, the accepted spelling of a woman who has attended a particular university or college or high school is alumna.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/16/12 - 03:43 pm
4
1
Only if you are there to lead

Only if you are there to lead us ridesbrd, with your intensity coupled with your obvious love of our community, you are the poster child for changing the name. Odd that you would characterize the community as bullying when we were led into the lion's den by Dr. Z and not the reverse. But for real, things wouldn't be right without the 1% representing so at the end of the day, thanks for being you.

tckr1983
360
Points
tckr1983 08/16/12 - 03:43 pm
3
0
Social media

is always where it starts in today's world... we've seen this repeatedly on the world stage.

Give it time.

Riverman1
79735
Points
Riverman1 08/16/12 - 03:45 pm
7
1
Understand What Dixieman Said

Folks, I know who Dixieman is and he is paid to know these things. Listen to what he's said here a few times. We have to get the legislative delegation to get the legislature to pass a bill saying the name will be AU. He knows the delegation and says it can be done. So let's direct our energy to our delegation starting now. With the kind of poll numbers we are showing they'd be foolish to go against us.

kiwiinamerica
924
Points
kiwiinamerica 08/16/12 - 03:49 pm
0
0
Group think
Unpublished

Allow me to dissent from the small town "group think".

The problem is not the name. The name is simply a symptom of the problem. The fundamental problem is the merger. We've taken the state medical school, which has aspirations to be a national top 50 academic institution and merged it with a small, liberal arts commuter college which has a "fog a mirror" admissions policy. That's the problem, right there.

These two schools have nothing in common, aside from their geographical proximity and finding a name for this strange hybrid was always going to cause a problem. It has. One school is pure science and medical science at that. It has a significant research component which brings in millions of dollars in funding mostly from the National Institutes of Health. Its focus is on the wider world of biomedical research beyond Augusta. The second school knows little of research, still less of biomedical research and has remedial programs designed to teach students how to read and write. The difference is like night and day.

While the ASU-centric world has no problem with the "Universiy of Augusta", those who derive a living at GHSU from internationally competitive research and who desire to market themselves in the world of medicine, most certainly do.

Winding the clock back two years, remember that this institution was known as the Medical College of Georgia and NOT the Medical College of Augusta and for good reason. This is NOT the Medical College of Augusta. It is a statewide institution. This may help some of you to understand why we loathe the name "University of Augusta".

This merger was poorly conceived and the name fight is simply the result of this.

bruneu7
3
Points
bruneu7 08/16/12 - 03:52 pm
1
7
Georgia Regents University at Augusta

Could we possibly come together around the name Georgia Regents University at Augusta (GRUA)? We need to heal and move forward. I suggest this name as a graduate of ASU and as a present student at GHSU. We all want the success of our new university. We all want the continued support of both state and city leaders. I don't think any one person is the origin of the present controversy. Can we get beyond blaming and move toward healing soon? It is in the good and historic spirits of both campuses and of the citizens of Augusta to seek reason and healing. - Bruce Neubauer

Little Lamb
44012
Points
Little Lamb 08/16/12 - 03:58 pm
5
1
Move Beyond

From the story above:

“I would hope the community can move beyond the name,” Azziz said.

When I read that sentence, I got the feeling that Azziz subconsciously knows the name is terrible. Why would you want to "move beyond" something that's good? That sentence expressed Azziz's true feeling, and I bet he regrets saying that now. He's too cool to admit the truth openly, but sometimes these gaffes reveal what's in a person's heart.

Little Lamb
44012
Points
Little Lamb 08/16/12 - 04:04 pm
5
1
Red Herring

This lame excuse is insulting to the intelligence of the audience:

With the October 1 deadline approaching to submit a final name to the accrediting agency, Dr. Azziz said the name is final and there is no time to reconsider.

They could submit the name Peek-a-boo U to the accrediting agency and change it a dozen times during the accrediting process. The agency doesn't accredit a name; it accredits the components of a school against its minimum standards requirements. There is no such thing as a final name. This very re-naming process shows that.

Shame on you, Dr. Azziz, for thinking you could fool us.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/16/12 - 04:13 pm
4
1
River, do I stalk the

River, do I stalk the governor or the 12th district legislator or what? Did i say stalk, I meant contact and express my feelings.

Fiat_Lux
14853
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/16/12 - 04:19 pm
6
1
It's not my fault

It's not my fault, it's not my fault, it's not my fault, it's not my fault, it's not my fault, it's not my fault, it's not my fault, it's not my fault, it's not my fault, it's not my fault, it's not my fault, it's not my fault.

Riverman1
79735
Points
Riverman1 08/16/12 - 04:27 pm
4
0
David

Augusta Legislative Delegation: Chairman Rep. Wayne Howard, D-Augusta, Sen. Hardie Davis, Sen. Jesse Stone and Rep. Barbara Sims are the members of the Augusta legislative delegation. I’d also contact Lee Anderson, Ben Harbin and Bill Jackson.

shootamonkey
12
Points
shootamonkey 08/16/12 - 04:24 pm
0
1
I thin Azziz named it after
Unpublished

I thin Azziz named it after himself
Gross
Repugnant
Ugly
He has made a real Azz of himself and it is time for him to go. My children will NEVER attend Georgia Regents University!!!!!

Riverman1
79735
Points
Riverman1 08/16/12 - 04:24 pm
4
0
LL Made a Very Good Point...Red Herring

LL's comment..."This lame excuse is insulting to the intelligence of the audience:
With the October 1 deadline approaching to submit a final name to the accrediting agency, Dr. Azziz said the name is final and there is no time to reconsider.

LL replied, "They could submit the name Peek-a-boo U to the accrediting agency and change it a dozen times during the accrediting process."

That is absolutely true and once again shows the poor thinking of Azziz. He throws out things such as the FIU story and this that can only make you shake your head.

tinytuna
74
Points
tinytuna 08/16/12 - 04:40 pm
4
0
ASU meeting

One member of the audience said, any name but GRU.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 08/16/12 - 04:26 pm
4
0
I'm calling the Board of Regents
Unpublished

Since he says this is the Board of Regents' decision, I'm calling them (again) to let them know.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 08/16/12 - 04:26 pm
3
0
I'm calling the Board of Regents
Unpublished

Since he says this is the Board of Regents' decision, I'm calling them (again) to let them know.

Little Lamb
44012
Points
Little Lamb 08/16/12 - 04:26 pm
3
0
Also,

Don't forget Gloria Frazier. Perhaps as a legislator who is also an employee of the Board of Education, she might be sympathetic to tradition.

KSL
122171
Points
KSL 08/16/12 - 04:26 pm
2
1
Both.

Both.

crkgrdn
2287
Points
crkgrdn 08/16/12 - 04:28 pm
3
1
He completely misunderstands this community or is incapable

I watched the video and expect that Governor Deal will have to intervene and that this interloper will be shown the door.

His kind with his approach to the public square is what this nation is so riled up about this election year.

Riverman1
79735
Points
Riverman1 08/16/12 - 04:29 pm
5
0
Forget the Board of Regents.

Forget the Board of Regents. As Dixieman said, the way to do this is via the delegation. A law is a law. If we get a law passed, that's it. We won.

KSL
122171
Points
KSL 08/16/12 - 04:32 pm
2
1
Crackertoy, I know one of

Crackertoy, I know one of the regents, but I would prefer not to say which one. Could you email me how to contact a particular one? Also, I am from a different district originally, as is he. I'll contact that one. kslouder07@yahoo.com.

v4vendetta
246
Points
v4vendetta 08/16/12 - 04:36 pm
2
6
to Augustans

It was Medical College of Georgia, not Medical College of Augusta. To go from state-wide name with reach, to University of Augusta is ludicrous. Get a grip Augustans.

skyman_evans
7
Points
skyman_evans 08/16/12 - 04:36 pm
5
1
One sided coverage?

If he feels the media has been providing "one-sided coverage" of this issue, it's because the general public has had a one-sided view, and that is that the name stinks! I don't know of anyone in this area other than Dr. Azziz that likes the name.

KSL
122171
Points
KSL 08/16/12 - 04:39 pm
2
2
River, the only way I can go

River, the only way I can go at it is through the Regents because I live in SC. At least through the one who was a classmate and a neighbor. Oh, and a college classmate of my husband.

shootamonkey
12
Points
shootamonkey 08/16/12 - 04:41 pm
0
1
I think he should change his
Unpublished

I think he should change his name from Richard Azziz to Richard Head!

Little Lamb
44012
Points
Little Lamb 08/16/12 - 04:43 pm
3
1
@ v4vendetta

The medical school remains today and is intended to remain tomorrow Medical College of Georgia. The University is bigger than the college. There is no contradiction.

If one wishes to refer to the medical school, the formal name is GHSU Medical College of Georgia.

If you wish to refer to the nursing program, the formal name is GHSU School of Nursing.

They can change the name of the new merged university to Augusta University. If they do that, the way you refer to the medical school is Augusta University Medical College of Georgia.

v4vendetta
246
Points
v4vendetta 08/16/12 - 04:48 pm
1
7
@little lamb

that's a paradox. Yes, University is bigger, but state is bigger than city. You can't have a city as the University name with the medical school having a broader reach...ridiculous. I personally hope it wasn't a gaffe and we merge with Athens or even move there. This town is too small minded.

KSL
122171
Points
KSL 08/16/12 - 04:49 pm
4
2
Sky, you just made the point

Sky, you just made the point I made earlier today in a post. These 2 universities did not need to be merged. That is not the way to achieve greaterness (not a real word) for either.

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