The accrediting body for the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities will not weigh in on its name, the president of the group said.
Georgia Regents University, however, will have to prove itself to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges as if it were a new applicant, Dr. Belle S. Wheelan said.
“The institution in its current status does not exist with us,” she said. “We apply the same standards as though it was a brand-new institution.”
The name has provoked an outpouring of protest. Wheelan said that she has been inundated with e-mails and has responded to about 20 but that those e-mails won’t influence the commission.
“We don’t get into the naming of an institution,” she said, adding that neither does the accrediting body weigh community support.
It looks at rigorous standards for faculty qualifications, the integrity of the college’s governing board, and financial resources and adequate control of finances, Wheelan said. The new university will have to meet 93 standards to win approval from the commission when it holds its annual meeting in December.
University officials have said they plan to apply for accreditation by October in order to be considered at that meeting. If approved, the consolidation would take effect early next year and would be followed by a site visit within six months to ensure that what the commission is being told on paper really exists, Wheelan said.