Education More News |

Group might go public with campaign for University of Augusta while consolidation moves ahead

  • Follow Education

The group pushing to dump Georgia Regents University as the name of consolidated universities in Augusta and replace it with University of Augusta could soon be going public.

Meanwhile, efforts to get the consolidation approved by the accrediting body proceed and would not be affected by a name change, an official said. Changing the domain name for the new university Web site, however, could prove to be somewhat of a hassle, at least for the techs.

The Save the A group met privately Tuesday to organize its opposition to the new name for the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities.

So far only a few members of what has been said is a group of prominent community leaders and businesses have been publicly identified. However, the group is gathering support and could come out with a list of those backing the University of Augusta effort in a newspaper ad this weekend, spokesman Nick Evans said.

“It’s everybody, every business in Augusta that is saying, ‘Count me in,’ ” he said.

The group is also getting petitions out to businesses asking for support for the University of Augusta name change and getting out contact information for Gov. Nathan Deal, Chancellor Hank Huckaby and the members of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, who overwhelmingly approved the Georgia Regents name in August.

Meanwhile, officials working on the consolidation are proceeding with the application for approval to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is due by Monday.

“Now that we are prepared to seal the Fed Ex envelope, the worst of the preparation for this first step is behind us,” said Beth Brigdon, the vice president for institutional effectiveness at GHSU.

With all of the appendices and supporting documents, it is well over 1,000 pages, she said.

The accrediting body will meet in December to consider granting approval ahead of a site visit next year, when the new university must produce a massive self-study showing it is adhering to the principles and standards, Brigdon said.

None of that should be affected by a name change, she said.

“Actually, SACS does not weigh in or have any interest in what the name of the institution is,” Brigdon said. “So if the Board of Regents were to decide that they wanted to consider another name, SACS has responded that the naming of the university is not material to” the approval process.

Right now, of course, it is as Georgia Regents University, she said.

“But if something should change and the name recommendation changed, that would not substantively change anything that SACS acted on in December,” Brigdon said.

What it would affect, of course, is the new university domain name. The consolidation group has applied for the name. That would have to be changed if the name changed, Brigdon said.

“It would be a lot of trauma and effort for the technology folks,” she said, and would involve redoing some work. But it would not be hard for the group that assigns the .edu domain names, EDUCAUSE.

“Changing a name that’s not yet in use takes maybe a day or two,” Vice President Greg Jackson wrote in an e-mail. Augusta State already has the domain name, and if the consolidated university wanted it, “the consolidated entity can use that without further ado,” Jackson wrote.

Having flexibility with the names should help the Save the A campaign, Evans said.

“They could change the name at any time,” he said. “That helps the cause.”

Staff Writer Tracey McManus contributed to this report.


Save the A emphasized four key statements after its meeting Tuesday:

• “Thank you, Governor Deal, the Georgia Legislature and the Board of Regents for your commitment to the students and the combined universities in Augusta.

• “Please reconsider the name University of Augusta, which was the overwhelming choice of the survey paid for by the taxpayers.

• “Please do not spend taxpayer money defending a lawsuit that is not necessary.” Regent University in Virginia has sued the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and individual board members, claiming the new name infringes on its trademark.

• “The Augusta community will rally behind you, the Board of Regents and the combined universities to make this a premier comprehensive research university.”

Comments (12) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
bentman 09/27/12 - 01:08 am

If we can show SACS that Azziz may be at odds with BOR policy they will take a second look before accrediting the school.

Riverman1 09/27/12 - 05:09 am
No worry about a counter group

"With all of the appendices and supporting documents, it is well over 1,000 pages, she said."

That's insanity right there.

But I don't think we have to worry about a counter group called, "Save the R."

jmo 09/27/12 - 05:18 am
Where do I sign?

Where and when can I sign the petition?

agustinian 09/27/12 - 06:41 am
S_ve the _ in _ugust_

This is what the tagline/logo ought to be.
With the follow-up being

Without the "A" it's all jibberish.

ws84 09/27/12 - 07:25 am
What will it take

for them to understand that nobody likes nor wants this new name. A flurry of transfers happened when they announced the decision to change the name, even before the name was decided upon. Once the new name goes into effect I think we can expect many more to transfer to more recognized and respectable universities; like universities that care about the opinions of their students and the surrounding communities. It's sad because ASU is a good school and has the potential to be a great school. The merger could really help students and the community. How far does Aziz really think it will go without the support of the people in Augusta, how many students does he really think will want to go to a school who doesn't even consider the opinions of their alumni and future alumni. This issue has received national coverage, every prospective student and every current student has already given thought to either transferring or simply not applying here.

seenitB4 09/27/12 - 07:57 am
The List

I can't wait to see this list......I'm glad some are talking a stand.....real men imo.

F4therTime 09/27/12 - 08:01 am
His ego...

Is so big he doesn't care what you minions think!! I would also encourage this group to have petitions demanding Deke the meek reverse his comments of support and stand up for this town!!. What a politician he has turned out to be...surprised? NOT!!

OnTheHill1 09/27/12 - 10:22 am
Azziz Violates His Own Implementation Principles

Azziz and his administration do not prioritize the student's welfare; it is all about the money, buildings and research. His current trip to China hopes to follow in the footsteps of NYU, their creation of NYU Shangai China is flush with cash (a lot from the US unfortunately). Interest in forming partnerships is growing, see the Case Study that lists already formed relationships:

The bigger picture is Azziz, and the BOR, and Governor Deal (since they 100% support whatever be wants) need to be questioned on why he violates his own Implementation Principles, there were 13, specifically his own principles he has most egregiously ignored:

#2. Engage: "Our community should be heard and should feel heard" and "The process is as important as the outcome"
#11. Proactively manage our brand: "Perception is reality"
#12. Transparency: "Proactive transparency is the best tool for aligning our community"

I support Save The A, have written them and signed the online petition. Their mission is simple, a necessary requirement. If successful it will not only satisfy Azziz's #2 and #11 Implementation Principles but also send a message that he cannot operate with impunity.

Let's get the name change behind us but not let up. The next series of questions this community needs to ask are about the irresponsible spending Azziz practices. His coronation had to cost over $100,000, what about these dinners he has at his house who knows how many times a month, his and his staff's junkets around the state, nation and world to accomplish what (if substantive benefit come from these trips, OK, have to spend money to make money). But what happened to Implementation Principle #12?

All of us have bosses who hold us accountable for results. Azziz should be no exception.

Fiat_Lux 09/27/12 - 09:50 am
This is VERY heartening

and the comments today have been very good, especially OnTheHill's. Really excellent, that one.

I just can't get over how relentlessly idiotic these people-- Azziz and the BOR-- are acting. If they, in their arrogant aloofness, should prevail, it will be a defining Pyrrhic victory.

OnTheHill1 09/27/12 - 12:54 pm
The Name is Just a Symptom

To those thinking that the 1000s of Comments, this Save The A petition campaign, the reason the 2 members resigned from his board, etc., is just about the name, they miss the big picture, that the name is just a symptom of a far more serious cancer. Though Azziz brings to the job a dirth of ideas, his liabilities far exceed his assets. He talks a visionary game, page 3 of this pdf: defines his vision, agenda and implementation principles. He doesn't follow his own principles. The culture of fear he has created at GHSU is infamous, more than 10,000 employees fear for their jobs if they sign the petition.

The name is just a symptom. More could be said about the downside of his leadership, but suffice to say his response to a question on morale being so depressed at the most recent GHSU forum speaks of his management immaturity, copied here from a previous post.

At the September 7th GHSU Forum a questioner observed that "Morale is at an all time low at this institution" - Azziz answers, “Faculty morale has to be handled, obviously, unit by unit. It’s fine for the President to speak, and as you said, say nice things about the vision, but at the end of the day, the leaders of those units, the chairman or the Deans if it’s faculty or the managers in the units have to address this. Because it is important our people remain not just employed but also remain happy about their present and their future”. He later reinforced this opinion, saying: “Let me just be very clear. Faculty, researcher and staff morale are not something the President, CEO, the Provost, the EVPs can really change. They can change some system issues, they can advocate for you, they can fight, they can try to find issues in the budget."

What management instruction did Azziz receive? Steve Jobs of Apple, Jack Welch of GE, Lee Iacocca of Chrysler, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, the President of the United States, the list could go on and on. These leaders set the tone of the organization; they do not delegate to their subordinates. By their actions they empower their subordinates to carry their message forward. Azziz's statements reveal his deplorable ignorance of a leader's role and are so out of the mainstream to be laughable, but I'm not laughing and neither is the rest of Augusta.

The name is just a symptom.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 09/27/12 - 01:09 pm

Yes, I agree that the new school name is just a symptom of poor leadership from Azziz.

Frankly, I don't care whether Augusta is in the name or not, but the name Regents has got to go! Not only does it symbolize the vanity of the members of the Board of Regents, it also points out for all the world to see the arrogance and poor leadership skills of Ricardo Azziz.

Don't forget my slogan for Grooo:

An Institution Dedicated to Vanity

kiwiinamerica 09/27/12 - 02:36 pm
Alumni & Faculty

So this is a consortium of Augusta business? And they contribute to the mission of MCG/GHSU how exactly?

What about the GHSU alumni and faculty? How many of of them are jumping on board the U of A bandwagon?


That's what I thought.

GHSU is sustained by statewide tax dollars and endowments from alumni while the scientific research program is supported predominantly by the National Institutes of Health in DC. IOW, the guy who owns the local used car lot or the downtown trial attorney have no leverage in this matter and can gather signatures until the cows come home. It won't matter.

Insider Information
Insider Information 09/27/12 - 07:40 pm

The vice president for institutional effectiveness (whatever the heck that is) sounds like she is opening the door to the possibility of a name change.

Tariq Azziz has made it clear that he wouldn't even entertain the idea.

Is there a mutiny among the ranks?

blues550 09/27/12 - 09:04 pm
Secret Group?

Give me a break with this secret crap. If you are going to stand for something put your name to it from the start. Where are their minutes? In rants and raves?

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs
Top headlines
As son was dying in hot car, man sent teen sex texts
BRUNSWICK, Ga. - A Georgia man swapped sexual text messages with a teenage girl while his toddler son sat forgotten and dying in the back seat of the father's sweltering SUV, his young texting ...