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GHSU e-mails indicate Azziz opposed 'Augusta' in name of merged university

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More than a month before the Georgia Board of Regents made its decision, internal e-mails indicate that Georgia Health Sciences University’s president wasn’t interested in including Augusta in the new school’s name.

According to internal e-mails acquired by The Augusta Chronicle, GHSU President Ricardo Azziz was steering members of the “Branding Team” responsible for name selection away from names associated with cities.

“Ask yourself (and your committee) how are other R1 universities named in GA and in the US (e.g. how many top 50 comprehensive Universities are named for their city if less than 1 million population)?” Azziz wrote to Susan Barcus in a June 19 e-mail. “Why was UGA named so and not Univ. of Athens? Or Ga State not University of Atlanta (in fact all universities with Atlanta in their name are small and access), or UNC not University of Chapel Hill?”

Barcus, GHSU’s senior vice president of Advancement and Community Relations, was co-chairwoman of the Branding Team that narrowed the 1,200 suggested names down to a list of six that were announced on June 15. Among the list were three that included Augusta in the name: Augusta University, University of Augusta and Augusta Arsenal University.

Those six names were tested in a series of telephone and online surveys by Kennesaw State University’s A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service. GHSU paid $45,500 to the Burruss Institute 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.

Within a few days the Branding Team saw results from national surveys that indicated the “University of Augusta” name was polling strongest on the list. According to a June 18 e-mail from Terry Sloope, the assistant director for research with the Burruss Institute, University of Augusta and Augusta University were the only names in which a “majority of respondents” rated the name 4 or 5 on a scale in which 5 meant “liked very much.”

Azziz’s June 19 e-mail indicates he wasn’t enamored of names on the list.

“It isn’t true that your name doesn’t matter (witness the hoopla now) and that we make our own reputation,” he wrote. “You can deliberately make your name misleading and your road to broad relevance harder (witness the use of MCG, which made all med school alumni happy.... because it erroneously created the impression that the university was all about medicine... and nothing else).”

Within days, GHSU officials had sent the Burruss Institute an additional set of five names for polling, all of which included “Georgia.” On that list was Georgia Regents University.

THE NEW NAME appeared to be more in keeping with what Azziz had in mind. According to a June 21 e-mail to Barcus, Azziz wanted to ensure that the new name “works well with the health system… Georgia Regents Health System (GRHS) sounds ok. And abbreviates well (e.g. GRU).”

Despite polling that indicated it was less well received than three other titles that included the state – Georgia National University, Georgia Eastern University and Georgia United University – Georgia Regents University was picked for a second list of six names and then a final list of three sent to the Board of Regents for approval.

Dink NeSmith, the only regent to vote against Georgia Regents University, has said it was evident to him that Azziz favored that name in his presentations to regents before their Aug. 7 vote. NeSmith said Azziz thought the name had more “national and international potential.”

That aligns with the type of name Azziz said he wanted in his June 19 e-mail.

“Think big, comprehensive, and future-oriented. Most folk think small, only in their area of interest, and only into next year,” he wrote. “We need to be clear about what kind of institution we are intending to build (and so does the Governor, the Chancellor, and the BOR). What we do now will impact our future for generations to come.”

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Cynical old woman
1090
Points
Cynical old woman 08/18/12 - 06:31 pm
14
1
Liar liar

Pants on fire, Azziz!

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 08/18/12 - 06:36 pm
10
0
Why weren't these emails
Unpublished

Why weren't these emails made available before the forum?

nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 08/18/12 - 06:51 pm
0
0
Well there you go, he's got
Unpublished

Well there you go, he's got to go!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/18/12 - 07:06 pm
16
1
There is more to come...

If Tariq Azziz will lie, twist and distort the facts about MCG's new name, what else will he lie, twist and distort the facts about?

I hope The Chronicle keeps digging. I suspect there is plenty more to come.

SON of Scoob
434
Points
SON of Scoob 08/18/12 - 07:20 pm
19
2
Great job Chronicle and keek

Great job Chronicle and keek digging. Azziz is an arrogant, egotistical power monger. He could care less about the community that has supported Augusta College and MCG for many years. His credibility is now non existant and his future here will be short lived.

Azziz is on the way out and good riddance.

kiwiinamerica
934
Points
kiwiinamerica 08/18/12 - 07:27 pm
0
0
Spot on
Unpublished

Huzzah.........good for Azziz! Everything Azziz says in those emails is correct. I can't stand the guy but I'm turning into an Azziz supporter in the face of this asinine movement to call the the school the "University of Augusta".

If the state medical school for the entire state of Georgia is going to be renamed "The University of Augusta", then to be consistent, the main state university in Georgia (UGA), should drop "Georgia" from its name and call itself the "University of Athens".

That's how stupid this whole thing is.

Why can't the "Little Augusta" clique get this?

Oh and one other thing. The "community which supports MCG" is not confined to Augusta. It is the Georgia taxpayers located all over the state as well as the alumni. It is they to whom Azziz answers.

my2cents
19
Points
my2cents 08/18/12 - 07:24 pm
12
2
If Azziz wants to think big,

If Azziz wants to think big, then lets conduct an international poll.

my2cents
19
Points
my2cents 08/18/12 - 07:24 pm
3
1
If Azziz wants to think big,

If Azziz wants to think big, then lets conduct an international poll.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/18/12 - 08:06 pm
12
2
Stay Tuned...

If you like Name - Gate...

Wait until talk of merging budgets, staffs and services begins.

saywhatagain
409
Points
saywhatagain 08/18/12 - 08:11 pm
13
1
Translation

Translation: "I from UCLA and I know more about what's good for you than you do for yourselves. Now go back to your trailers and break open a six pack of...what do you hicks call it?....Beer!"

Newsflash
1881
Points
Newsflash 08/18/12 - 08:16 pm
16
2
Most folk think small.............

Most folk think small, only in their area of interest, and only into next year,” Azziz wrote. Yes we do Dr Azziz............right now I'm thinking you need to be fired or resign no later than close of business Monday !

Dixieman
13881
Points
Dixieman 08/18/12 - 08:19 pm
16
2
This is the smoking gun of Namegate.

Dr. Azziz just became toast and his days as president of Whatevername U. are now numbered.

Just My Opinion
5439
Points
Just My Opinion 08/18/12 - 08:21 pm
16
0
"Hoopla" huh?? Azziz again

"Hoopla" huh?? Azziz again shows his arrogance by labeling the concerns and wants of this city as being an insignificant "hoopla"! Hoopla is something that one usually sits back, watches, and judges as being trivial. Okay, and then he writes "Most folk think small, only in their area of interest....", and this is obviously a dig at the "folk" that want "Augusta" to be in the institution's name. So, what do you small-thinking folk think about King Ricardo's opinion of you??

Sweet son
9972
Points
Sweet son 08/18/12 - 08:50 pm
10
1
Why Not MCG??

The university was about nothing else but training professionals in the medical field. All of MCG's five schools represented different things but they were medicine. School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, School of Nursing, School of Allied Health Sciences and School of Graduate Studies made MCG what it was and what it will continue to be. What about the word medicine does Ricky not understand. The former MCG logo clearly stated on it that it was the State's Health Sciences University. What a lying idiot. His staff and employees should be calling the AC with other inconsistencies in his statements and you know they have some to tell.

Riverman1
81441
Points
Riverman1 08/18/12 - 09:03 pm
12
0
Realize the seriousness of these revelations

Dr. Azziz? Can we now have an Augusta University and a Medical College of Georgia under the umbrella name of GRU?

nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 08/18/12 - 09:02 pm
0
0
Yes it will impact the future
Unpublished

Yes it will impact the future generations to come in that they will be the ones who will have to rename the school the University of Augusta.

allhans
23471
Points
allhans 08/18/12 - 09:06 pm
7
1
Who does Azziz answer to? Is

Who does Azziz answer to? Is his job so secure?

Little Lamb
44928
Points
Little Lamb 08/18/12 - 09:13 pm
13
0
Board of Regents

These members of the board of regents are merely cronies, relatives, and political contributors to the governor. They have little experience in educational institutions. They have much experience in "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." The Board of Regents is a disgrace. The "branding committee" tried hard, but they were outmaneuvered by a manic Gruzziz, as shown by the e-mails above. The committee never knew what hit them.

Little Lamb
44928
Points
Little Lamb 08/18/12 - 09:15 pm
6
1
Not Quite

Riverman asked:

Dr. Azziz? Can we now have an Augusta University and a Medical College of Georgia under the umbrella name of GRU?

No, but we could have an Augusta College and a Medical College of Georgia under the umbrella name of Gru.

clueless
12
Points
clueless 08/18/12 - 09:25 pm
10
2
Name

This is all just the tip of the iceberg for the Dr. Disease debacle. The more you peel back this onion, the stinkier it gets and the more it makes you cry. Everyone needs to lobby the Governor. He appoints the Ga BOR, and is the only one who can effectively do anything about this, now. As for Dr. D and the monkey flunkies that work for him, his time is coming, and it's much faster than he thinks. This is but the beginning of his end. He'll be lucky to be doing freebie clinic physicals in LA when it's all said and done.

Fiat_Lux
15005
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/18/12 - 09:29 pm
10
3
I was afraid of this

This is very unfortunate. Although I don't admire a lot of his methods, Azziz has been doing some very good things at MCG, things that have needed doing for many years.

It is amazing to me that he could have misread us so badly going into this naming thing, but even more so that he would continue being so obtuse. Even after the regents "handed down" their choice, he still probably could have avoided this fracas, along with all the animosity. All he had to do was go to their majesties and request the name be changed. If he were seen to be supporting the people with whom he must live and work, he would have come out smelling like a rose no matter what the regents ultimately did.

Given what he otherwise would be able to accomplish and what MCG-ASU need, I sincerely hope he has not completely cooked his own goose.

Fiat_Lux
15005
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/18/12 - 09:32 pm
5
1
@Little Lamb

I woke up this morning thinking the very same thing. Augusta College and the Medical College of Georgia both under the GRU umbrella.

One of the nice things about that is how other schools can be added.

itsanotherday1
41409
Points
itsanotherday1 08/18/12 - 09:51 pm
3
0
My comment from 8-14

"At a minimum, let them be called MEDICAL COLLEGE Of GEORGIA (a campus of Georgia Regent's University), and AUGUSTA STATE (a campus of Georgia Regent's University).

It could be that way on signs, letterheads, and diplomas; school name in big print, and underneath have the Georgia Regents affiliation in small type."

I still think that is a way out.

Cynical old woman
1090
Points
Cynical old woman 08/18/12 - 10:02 pm
8
0
Lewis Grizzard was right...

Delta is ready when Azziz is. And I am ready for him to GO!! I will even contribute my frequent flyer miles to him...with one provision.....it's a one-way ticket!

tckr1983
360
Points
tckr1983 08/18/12 - 10:06 pm
8
1
It's not just about

having Augusta in the name... Azziz said at the forum towards the end when he was starting to get a little flustered, something like... "everyone wouldn't be happy unless Augusta was in the name", many stood up or shouted... "that wasn't true, Just anything but GRU".

But we knew he was lying at the forum and this proves it... I would ask that he resigns along with the gutless wonder we have for mayor, I bet we could find some e-mails between those two as well.

KSL
124946
Points
KSL 08/18/12 - 10:18 pm
8
2
It is quite evident that

It is quite evident that Azziz intentionally mislead a lot of people. The regents, included.

itsanotherday1
41409
Points
itsanotherday1 08/18/12 - 10:23 pm
5
2
Azziz certainly has

Azziz certainly has mishandled his $750,000.00/yr. tasks, but I caution everyone to not totally dismiss his ideas. I think he is on point about people in general not seeing the bigger picture sometimes; only thinking about their local interests. As insiders, we can't always see that; as an "outsider", he is looking at it from a different perspective.
I don't like carpetbaggers any better than you do; but we would do well to keep opens minds. Azziz may very well have stepped on his stuff and maybe isn't the answer; but again, he ain't all wrong either.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/18/12 - 10:26 pm
2
6
Everyone take a deep breath

You have officially been polarized. Now fix this in your mind. Are you attacking the guy b/c of what he's accomplished or how? If the latter, I suggest you consider the alternative. No development and even more animosity between this city and Atlanta. No bueno! Use your voice selectively now for positive ideas and absolutely move past the hate.

KSL
124946
Points
KSL 08/18/12 - 10:28 pm
5
4
He can't resign. Who would

He can't resign. Who would hire him with this much controversy surrounding him. Afterall, he was keen on accomplishing great things here in unworthy Augusta. But there is uproar over the way he has handled this, no matter how grand he thought his intentions were.

Little Lamb
44928
Points
Little Lamb 08/18/12 - 10:42 pm
7
0
Interesting factoid from someone who was there:

tckr1983 posted:

. . . Azziz said at the forum towards the end when he was starting to get a little flustered, something like . . . "everyone wouldn't be happy unless Augusta was in the name." Many stood up or shouted . . . "That wasn't true, just anything but GRU".

Yes, the problem is not that Augusta is not in the name. The problem is the ugliness, the vanity, the despicableness of a group of political appointees naming a university after themselves! The egoism is sickening.

Name the school after something meaningful, not after a board of political hacks.

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