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Business leaders develop strategy on changing name of Augusta's merged univeristy

Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 7:55 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012 11:25 AM
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A group of 20 local business leaders is developing a strategy to push state officials to make University of Augusta the name of the city’s planned consolidated university.

The anonymous group, “Save the A,” intends to post petitions for the public to sign at about 35 businesses across Augusta, according to spokesman Nick Evans. The members also will publicize the contact information for Gov. Nathan Deal, University System of Georgia Board of Regents Chancellor Hank Huckaby and the Board of Regents members so the public can ask officials to intervene.

“It ought to be the University of Augusta, period,” Evans said after the group met Tuesday. “Augusta is a globally accepted and worldwide-recognized brand of quality and prestige. Why would we abandon a brand like that?”

The identities of the group’s members will stay confidential for now, but Evans said the 20 committee members are “a significant list of community leaders” and span “across every ethnic background.”

Evans said the members support the merging of Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities but despise the chosen name: Georgia Regents University.

Because the University of Augusta received a more favorable response than GRU in a $45,000 marketing survey paid for by GHSU earlier this year, Evans said school officials should honor the survey results and pleas from the community.

Despite the outcry from the public, the application for approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for the merged university is being finalized and will be mailed out this week in time to meet an Oct. 1 deadline, said Beth Brigdon, the vice president for institutional effectiveness at GHSU.

Evans said, however, that he is not worried about the deadline, noting that officials with Regent University in Virginia filed a lawsuit last week claiming the GRU name is trademark infringement.

He said the filing could help buy time and that a successful lawsuit could help change the name of the school. However SACS-COC President Belle Wheelan said previously that the accrediting agency does not get involved in the naming process of a school.

“We don’t feel any pressure of a timeline,” Evans said. “If they would go ahead and change it right now and do the right thing and fix it, the timeline is not important. They’re aware of the lawsuit now, and I cannot imagine they would want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a lawsuit when they would have to change the name again.”

Evans said the group is getting “tremendous support” from people who want to help with the campaign. He expects petitions to be placed in businesses soon but was not sure of a date.

The group plans to meet again next week and as often as possible after that.

“I think the chances are good,” Evans said. “I think they’re going to listen to this. They know this campaign is brewing. They know the lawsuit is there. I think they will see the wisdom of making the change.”

Staff writer Tom Corwin contributed to this report.

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Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/25/12 - 07:08 pm
7
0
What is a "vice president for

What is a "vice president for institutional effectiveness"?

And, is it "institutionally effective" to ignore a $45,000 survey, to ignore the community and to ignore common sense?

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 09/25/12 - 07:57 pm
2
7
If only we fought this hard
Unpublished

If only we fought this hard for situations that actually matter.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 09/25/12 - 08:33 pm
6
0
This does matter!
Unpublished

It matters to a lot of people.

nnaugusta
533
Points
nnaugusta 09/25/12 - 10:19 pm
5
0
If anyone has Nick Evans

If anyone has Nick Evans email address, please message it to me. Better yet, Nick, message me your email address please.

This is great news. The cockiness of azziz and the bor stating that they WILL NOT REVISIT this issue. Guess what....YES YOU WILL and the good people fro Virginia will see to it! Didn't your parents tell you to never say never? Should have listened instead of being arrogant and hard headed.

guido
10
Points
guido 09/26/12 - 07:35 am
0
4
'Save the A' group

If the leaders of this group feel strongly about the issue, and want people to sign petitions they are going to distribute, they need to identify themselves. It is difficult to understand their reasons for remaining anonymous if their convictions are strong and they wish to gather public support.

Butterbean
245
Points
Butterbean 09/26/12 - 08:02 am
4
0
I applaud the efforts of Nick Evans!

I applaud the efforts of Nick Evans! I know him to be professional and fair. I support him and cannot wait to locate the petitions so that I can sign. I must say that I am very curious to see (if this information will be shared with us) which of the city leaders, beginning at the top, refuse to sign because of (possibly) prior agreements with Dr. Azziz and the University System Board of Regents representatives.
Who in their right mind can honestly believe that this has NOT adversely impacted the financial support of both universities. If we do not take a stand now - then when? This kind of community support would have been obvious in the developmental stages of this fiasco IF the "culprits" involved had been honest with us in the beginning.

pwburt
34
Points
pwburt 09/26/12 - 09:23 am
6
0
AWESOME!!! I am glad this

AWESOME!!! I am glad this effort is happening!!

dmflan88
20
Points
dmflan88 09/26/12 - 09:53 am
6
0
Not sure what a Vice

Not sure what a Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness is, but at GHSU it makes $220,857.84 and is part of strong-arming machine that ignores the public that pays that salary and paid for those surveys.

johnc
8
Points
johnc 09/26/12 - 02:06 pm
6
0
My email to Azziz

I am a trademark lawyer and only heard of this situation because of the lawsuit filed last week. One thing I'll say is that if local activism doesn't defeat Azziz and the BOR, this trademark suit will. They are clearly infringing on Regent's trademark. In any case, this is what I wrote to Azziz, not that he'll read it or that it will make any difference.
---------------------
I had not even heard of this name-change situation until Regent University filed suit against you last week, but from my impartial review you come off as insensitive and dense. “Georgia Regents University” sounds on par with Strayer University or some other diploma mill, not a well-respected institution. The arguments articulated in your internal emails were half-baked and weak – try to name one truly respectable university with a gimmicky name like GRU. And for every “example” you provided, there are countless counter-examples (e.g., Syracuse, Auburn, Clemson, Miami, etc.). The limp impact of that name was readily apparent from the first time I read it, and I can’t conceive that you would push for it over the loud protestations of an entire city and an expensive survey. (By the way, in your trademark dispute with Regent you’ll come to rue the type of survey you so thoughtlessly discounted.) If you have any wisdom or gumption, you will turn about-face immediately, swallow your pride, and put the name up for discussion again. But, gleaning what I have from reading about you, you’re likely the Roger Goodell-type: power-hungry, politically motivated, and unwilling to show humility. And that’s a shame, for the city of Augusta, for alumni of ASU and MCG, but most importantly, for you.

Russell Foster
37
Points
Russell Foster 09/26/12 - 03:58 pm
6
0
Thank you, Nick Evans

As a former member of the ASU Golf Team, you have my full support in this endeavor. I will assist you any way you need me or in any way I can. Thank you for not giving up and leading us in this effort!

KSL
140408
Points
KSL 09/26/12 - 06:59 pm
1
1
Going to be in the Augusta

Going to be in the Augusta area next week. Somebody post where the petitions are going to be, please.

nnaugusta
533
Points
nnaugusta 09/26/12 - 08:53 pm
1
0
Awesome post JohnC !!

Awesome post JohnC !! Excellent letter.

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