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Protesters give thumbs down to Georgia Regents name

Monday, Aug 20, 2012 4:29 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 1:19 AM
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They came with hand-drawn signs, T-shirts and a message for Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz.

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ASU student Carey Mogianesi holds a sign during a protest against the Georgia Regents name at Augusta State University.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ASU student Carey Mogianesi holds a sign during a protest against the Georgia Regents name at Augusta State University.

In the latest show of outrage over the choice of Georgia Regents University as the name for the consolidated Augusta State University and GHSU, ASU students used the first day of the fall semester Monday to protest the selection.

“We all have a mutual hatred of the name,” said ASU graduate student Jake Mace, who skipped history class to make it to the noon event. “Since we were Augusta College, then Augusta State, with this merger you’d think they’d continue that natural progression and include Augusta in the name. Without Augusta in the name, it’s a loss of identity, really.”

At the height of the rally, about 300 students, faculty and community residents gathered on the grassy steps of ASU’s outdoor amphitheater. Many who spoke said they were not just upset with the sound of the name, but more so with the selection process.

Speakers said Azziz lied about having no influence on The University System of Georgia Board of Regents’ selection of the name. They also questioned how GHSU could spend $45,000 on a survey to test 14 final names, then ignore the results when GRU tested less favorably than University of Augusta among 1,400 pollsters.

“(Azziz) wasn’t listening to the constituency,” said ASU political science senior Fady Tawadrous. “He’s our leader, but he disregarded every opinion, and he disrespected Augusta. He kind of just sold us out.”

The protest, organized by radio personality Austin Rhodes and 2010 ASU alumnus Chris Blanco, was a call to the Board of Regents and Azziz to change the new institution’s name to something the community can get behind. Many believe it would be a travesty if the new school’s name did not include the word Augusta, while others are just unhappy with Regents, a word no one seems to understand.

English senior Jerod Gay wrote a protest song when he couldn’t fall asleep Sunday night and performed it for the crowd.

He wanted something with a “the people won’t stand for this” feel, and the cheers from the audience backed that up.

To start the event, Rhodes approached the microphone in front of the students, who were holding signs that read: “Georgia Rejects,” “Azziz is a hipster” and GRU with a red line through it.

He told the crowd that Monday was a good day for change. Earlier, Augusta National Golf Club announced it had admitted the first two female members in its 80-year history.

The timing is perfect, Rhodes said, for Azziz to make a change and admit a mistake as well.

He went on to question Augusta’s political leaders, wondering how no one could step up and intervene when the overwhelming majority of the community was asking for help.

“Some of the elected officials have no backbone, and shame on them,” Rhodes said. “Mayor Deke Copenhaver, shame on you.”

As the protest was ending, Michelle Brittingham, who is working toward a master’s degree in business administration, climbed the amphitheater steps to gather signatures for a petition on a name change. She said she was disappointed more students did not attend to make a statement but said many were caught up with the first day of school.

ASU theater sophomore Michael Fortino said it was important for him to attend because he felt the school will lose its identity if Augusta is not in the new institution’s name.

He got involved with ASU’s theater department at age 8, and said being accepted into the program as a student was a dream fulfilled.

“I owe Augusta State so much for that, so I can’t just stand by and let them change the name to GRU,” Fortino said. “I love this school so much, and it breaks my heart to see it falling apart.”

Augusta Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles also spoke to the crowd and left them with a question many seemed to be asking.

“My problem with GRU is not that I want Augusta to definitely be in the name, but let’s face it,” Bowles said, “what the hell is a GRU?”

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Little Lamb
45867
Points
Little Lamb 08/20/12 - 04:37 pm
4
3
Incorrect Usage

In the first sentence of the seventh paragraph (the one about Chris Blanco), the accepted spelling of a male who has attended a university is alumnus.

Little Lamb
45867
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Little Lamb 08/20/12 - 04:38 pm
3
2
Meaning?

What does “Azziz is a hipster” mean?

karaph
4
Points
karaph 08/20/12 - 04:58 pm
1
3
“This process was not a

“This process was not a democratic process, it was a dictorial eat it,” Rhodes said.

Should that have been "dictatorial edict ?" Just wondering if Mr. Rhodes had been quoted incorrectly....

Austin Rhodes
2862
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Austin Rhodes 08/20/12 - 05:17 pm
5
3
Dictatorial edict...is

Dictatorial edict...is correct.

Azziz does in fact want us to "eat it", though.

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 08/20/12 - 05:25 pm
2
2
Hipster

\hip-stur\n. One who possesses tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed cool by the cool. (Note: it is no longer recommended that one use the term "cool"; a Hipster would instead say "deck.") The Hipster walks among the masses in daily life but is not a part of them and shuns or reduces to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream.

I was glad they mentioned the sign, I was wondering why she had a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon with a line through it :P LOL, that is what it looked like to me.

peggyandrick
169
Points
peggyandrick 08/20/12 - 05:28 pm
6
2
Don't trust him

If he'll lie about the name, what about the rest of the promises for arts and sciences (especially arts). He in not worthy of any trust, and he's the fox the Regents put in charge of the hen house.
I don't trust him.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 08/20/12 - 05:35 pm
3
3
Prediction

Within two weeks, Regents University will file a lawsuit seeking an injunction to block the name change.

In response, Tariq Azziz will hurry up the process to change the name and waste more money before a hearing can be held.

The court will hear the motion for a preliminary injunction and grant it, putting a stop to the Azziz tyranny, but not before spending mega bucks on signs, domain names, etc.

Austin Rhodes
2862
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Austin Rhodes 08/20/12 - 05:40 pm
4
4
I did correct the young lady

I did correct the young lady with the hipster sign...Azziz is more of a "hipster doofus".

Go look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls.

Island Man
30
Points
Island Man 08/20/12 - 06:05 pm
4
5
Hey Christians Get on Board, This RU is for You !

Let's ALL start referring to the new U as REGENT UNIVERSITY. It sounds great to me and will be be great to have a Christian University here in Augusta. REGENT UNIVERSITY will be able to have bible based classes and turn out pastors in addition to doctors, musicians, and business folk. How dare those Virginians think they are the only ones who can have a Christian "Regent University". REGENT UNIVERSITY....think about it...let's EVERYBODY get on board referring to our new U as REGENT UNIVERSITY. We'll save millions of dollars branding REGENT UNIVERSITY since RU-Virginia has already accomplished that for us. Thank you RU-V!!!!!

NrthAugustaSam
473
Points
NrthAugustaSam 08/20/12 - 06:50 pm
3
2
Georgia Not Mentioned

I have listened to NATIONAL news for several hours today. Only 1 obscure mention of the name of the state where Darla and Condi were invited to join "Augusta" was heard. Should someone call these ladies to make sure they know where it is?

AugustaProf
138
Points
AugustaProf 08/20/12 - 07:18 pm
2
1
International...

Actually, it made many international news sites with nary a mention of Georgia or our famous board of regents. For example, the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/golf/19323577

Doubtless, people at the unfortunately named University of St. Andrews will enjoy the story. Why on EARTH would they name a university after a tiny town in Scotland known only for golf? What a marketing nightmare! Hopefully now that they're entering their 600th year, they'll consider renaming it something more "hip."

giwi
106
Points
giwi 08/20/12 - 08:13 pm
3
2
No more money from me

As a graduate of Augusta College, the alumni association does not need to waste a phone call or a stamp on me. I will not be contributing any more to the school.

CryoCyberTronics
392
Points
CryoCyberTronics 08/20/12 - 09:16 pm
1
3
Georgia State University

Georgia State University loves you for your efforts. They are eating everything up. Remember when AC drop down divison AA to joine the peach belt, and Georgia State University left the division AA ranks for the division A aka now days as division l? The more ASU lose the more Georgia State University gians as a leading university over GRU. It won't be long befor GRU be behind West Georgia after they start playing Division ll football. Ozy has his worh cut out of he plans to make GRU a top 50 University in the U.S. let along the world. Hard to.belive some of America's top Universites are ranked lower than other countries leading Universites. I don't know if some of you were bron yet but I really miss the days of watching Augusta College play in the NCAA Basketballl Tournament even if it was just a play in game. It was on national television and it was something that drove Georgia State University crazy.

"Know where you came from, know where you've been, know where you are, know where you are going, and know where you want to be"

palmetto1008
9782
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palmetto1008 08/20/12 - 09:23 pm
2
5
Ok...this things has run its
Unpublished

Ok...this things has run its course. All the community outrage has subsided. Back to normal, folks.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 08/20/12 - 10:06 pm
0
2
WORD

WORD

crkgrdn
2287
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crkgrdn 08/20/12 - 10:11 pm
3
1
Austin: get a life

You can be pretty good at promoting our area, but so many times you hurt us with your desire for attention and wanting to be perceived as cool.
Find a certain maturity and you may be be able to find a niche in a larger market.

Azziz has not sought consensus and has lost a valuable ally; this community that can be benevolent, charitable and supportive.

CryoCyberTronics
392
Points
CryoCyberTronics 08/20/12 - 10:34 pm
1
6
Without Afrocan-Americans

Without Afrocan-Americans where would America be? We were brought here against our will. Now you do the math!

CryoCyberTronics
392
Points
CryoCyberTronics 08/20/12 - 10:43 pm
1
5
What Hurts more sarcasm the

What Hurts more sarcasm the truth. The truth is what sets you free!

KSL
129067
Points
KSL 08/20/12 - 10:55 pm
2
0
You hit the nail on the head,

You hit the nail on the head, crk. How in the heck does one think they can dump on the supporting community of this size and accomplish miracles for a state funded university during times of diminishing tax revenues?

Does he have an alum with the pockets of Darla Moore in the wings, waiting to contribute to his kingdom?

kiwiinamerica
942
Points
kiwiinamerica 08/20/12 - 11:11 pm
0
0
GHSU doesn't depend on "this
Unpublished

GHSU doesn't depend on "this community". ASU might but GHSU doesn't. It is the state medical school and it is the engine in this merged university. Its students and alumni come from all over the state. The article makes reference to ASU students present at the gathering but I don't see any mention of GHSU students and that's not surprising. There weren't any. They don't want their school to be called "University of Augusta". Recall that the GHSU student group formed recently to protest the first group of short-listed names did not want the name "Augusta". They were adamant the word "Georgia" must be in the title. They may not be crazy about the "Regents" part but it beats "University of Augusta" any day. But what do they know, right? They're only GHSU students. They're nowhere near as informed as the "Little Augusta" crowd which blows smoke here 24/7.

Most of those making the most noise on this web site contribute nothing to the mission of GHSU. They're not students or alumni, nor are they financial benefactors. They have no leverage whatsoever over what goes on at GHSU.

Most are simply self-important, self-opinionated, small town blowhards. Legends in their own lunch time.

GRU is here to stay. Deal with it.

KSL
129067
Points
KSL 08/20/12 - 11:44 pm
0
1
Cryo, please get over the

Warning. Personal anecdote. One of my greatgrandmothers died when her only child, my grandfather was 3 because a European arranged marriage did not go as planned once the freedom seeking person arrived in America and found he could get away with refusing to marry someone sent over from Europe. The arranged marriage bride was taken to the departure docks by my ggmother. She contracted some illness that killed her.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 08/21/12 - 07:50 am
3
1
Crkgrdn

At 47 years old the only people on the planet that I hope think I am "cool" are my children...and they do! Proud that my 21 year old daughter was there for the gathering today.

No idea where you are from, but this is my home, and when interlopers step forth in the attempt to make it less than what it is, I will do my best to set them straight.

Thanks to everyone who came out, let it never be said that Azziz has not be thoroughly shamed and outright CREAMED in the court of public opinion by the evidence of his manipulations and grand standing.

I never graduated from ASU, but I appreciate all that Dr. Azziz has personally done to make me feel so much smarter than him.

allhans
23619
Points
allhans 08/21/12 - 04:01 am
2
1
Another one, who is not yet

Another one, who is not yet Americanized it seems.
It's hard for some to understand our system and how things are properly done.
We don't run rough-shod over our fellow Americans, we try and respect each other.
Azziz should make an effort to understand - and not try to change us into something we are not.

agustinian
689
Points
agustinian 08/21/12 - 06:53 am
3
0
Local vs. National

Where was Augusta in MCG or GHSU? The merger is basically the minnow swallowing the whale and now the minnow wants to call the shots.

While GRU is stupid, you need to get a name with some "national" gravitas in recognition of MCG's national ranking.

Maybe they need to "unmerge."

Riverman1
83644
Points
Riverman1 08/21/12 - 07:48 am
2
0
Name Will Eventually Change Back

We may lose temporarily, but I predict the name will be changed back to Augusta one day. Azziz won't be here that long. He'll be back in South America one day continuing his vagabond like existence. Those of us in Augusta who recognize the history and prestige of the college and medical school will eventually fix the damage this interloper caused. I'm pretty sure of that.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 08/21/12 - 07:54 am
4
1
Student Government told to toe the line.

The President of the ASU Student Government Association sent a memo out to the elected student representatives the day before the protest, where he issues the following instructions:
---------------------------------
Due to the scheduled activities tomorrow surrounding the consolidation, I would like to remind everyone that you represent the student body and the student government association. Please do not engage in any activities that are not reflective of this. All comments on the consolidation should be made in a forward-looking and productive manner. Furthermore, I would like to remind everyone of the statement made by Regent Tarbutton III.

"We all appreciate that there are different viewpoints and good arguments on every side. But the Board of Regents weighted the alternatives and concluded that the name should reflect the new institutions's statewide mission. Now we need to move on to the next stages of consolidation. We do understand the strong feelings around the issue, but the Board will not reconsider its action."
----------------------------

Just damn.

The1Justice
58
Points
The1Justice 08/21/12 - 08:51 am
1
0
Correct me if im wrong
Unpublished

Correct me if im wrong, but didn't Joe Bowles vote to merge these 2 schools? If they never voted to merge these 2 we wouldnt have to be in this situation. Blame him and the entire Augusta Leaders.

Charlie S.
3
Points
Charlie S. 08/21/12 - 02:35 pm
1
0
Academia at its best

Dr. Azziz has outdone himself with the renaming of GHSU and ASU to the more progressive name GRU. He has reduced the histories and traditions of these schools to a caricature. Let’s recall the computer animated film “Despicable Me.” The main character, Gru, was the evil genius who shrunk the moon. Now, if GHSU and ASU are really trying to do something as nefarious as shrinking the moon, then maybe changing the name makes sense. However, I don’t think that this is the case. If that’s not funny enough then here is some more comic relief, all of the students can now be referred to as Minions! Can you imagine what it would look like during graduation when all of the students wearing their minion goggles march across the stage to receive their diplomas? By the way, since we’re in the spirit of name change, perhaps Dr. Azziz should change his name to Dr. Nefario. Dr. Nefario was Gru’s evil assistant. Personally, I feel that the name of the schools should be changed to something more appropriate.
Charlie S. class of 2000

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 08/21/12 - 05:12 pm
0
0
Charlie S.

Can you imagine what it would look like during graduation when all of the students wearing their minion goggles march across the stage to receive their diplomas?

OMG, that is hilarious. I can see them doing that too :)

Little Lamb
45867
Points
Little Lamb 08/22/12 - 09:53 am
0
0
Put Up Or Shut Op

Agustinian posted:

While GRU is stupid, you need to get a name with some "national" gravitas.

It is easy to criticise; it is much harder to create.

Okay, Agustinian, let's hear your suggestion for a name that has national gravitas.

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