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GRU's vice provost takes responsibility for doctored photos

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 1:57 PM
Last updated Friday, March 1, 2013 1:30 AM
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A senior Georgia Regents Uni­ver­sity official took responsibility Thursday for a controversial publication that used altered photos of Augusta State University athletes.

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STAFF

“I accept full responsibility for the approval of the Georgia Regents University Augusta view book in question, independent of Dr. (Ricardo) Azziz and other senior administrators,” said a statement from Vice Provost Roman Cibirka.

GRU halted distribution of the 12-page “view books” Thursday morning after it was revealed that photos touting “Jaguar Athletics” had been altered to erase Augusta State logos and emblems from team uniforms.

“They have stopped distributing them and they are working to produce a revised version that will correct the errors,” GRU spokeswoman Christen Carter said.

Carter wasn’t sure how many of the 5,000 view books already had been handed out to high school guidance counselors, or how many of the revised publications would be printed.

Carter said officials were “making every effort” to determine who had received the view books so they could be sent revised versions that correct the photos and “provide additional context about the consolidation.”

Carter said new GRU logos, which include the name Augusta, will replace those used in the original version.

The view books are marketing publications intended to help recruit potential undergraduates to GRU, and many have been delivered to high schools around Georgia this week.

Carter confirmed they were produced with assistance from an outside agency by the university’s Division of Enrollment Manage­ment, which is headed by Cibirka.

Cibirka did not respond to requests for an interview about the decision to alter the photos, which include women’s softball athletes and team photos of championship men’s basketball and golf teams.

In his statement, released at 5 p.m. Thursday, Cibirka said: “The decision to remove the athletic identifier in photos was based on input from informal focus groups of potential students and others. This turned out to be an error in judgment and for that I apologize to the Augusta community, the athletes, their families, university supporters and the institution.”

News of the photos Wednes­day quickly generated controversy and brought critical responses from community members, Augusta State alumni and former athletes.

Henrik Norlander, a PGA Tour rookie and a key member of Augusta State’s two NCAA national championship teams in 2010 and 2011, vented his anger Thursday after seeing a photo in the view book of the golf team that had Augusta State emblems digitally removed.

“It’s sad, pathetic and a slap in the face for the people of Augusta,” Norlander said. “I don’t understand what their problem is. We won as Augusta State. We didn’t win as Georgia Regents. I just don’t get it at all.”

David Brond, GRU’s senior vice president of communications and marketing, said Tuesday that his office didn’t have a hand in the production of the view books, but he refused to name Cibirka as the responsible party.

He originally said the photo alterations were done to avoid confusing potential students with names of the previous institutions – Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities – that merged in January to form GRU.

Brond sent an e-mail to faculty and staffers Wednesday evening, calling the alterations an “error in judgment” that did not reflect the university leadership’s views on the importance of Jaguar athletic accomplishments or their athletes.

Former Augusta State golf coach Josh Gregory called the decision to remove logos more than poor judgment. He said it was “a complete embarrassment.”

“It’s a complete disrespect to the city of Augusta and all the alumni,” said Gregory, now golf coach at Southern Methodist Uni­ver­sity in Dallas. “Forget athletics. Some people just don’t honor tradition. I think it’s wrong, and a lot of people think it’s wrong.”

Gregory, sports information director Joey Warren and others came together to create the “A” logo on Augusta State caps and shirts during his second season. Gregory said he’s proud of the work they did coming up with an identifiable brand that soon became popular, especially after the team won back-to-back Division I national championships.

“In my opinion, we were the university of Augusta,” he said. “We represented Augusta. We worked hard to create that identity in Augusta.”

OFFICIAL’S STATEMENT

Statement on behalf of Roman Cibirka:

I accept full responsibility for the approval of the Georgia Regents Uni­-
versity Augusta view book in ques-
tion, independent of Dr. (Ricardo) Azziz and other senior administrators. The incredible heri­tage of Augusta State University athletics and the value of strong athletic programs are extremely important to successful student recruitment.

The decision to remove the athletic identifier in photos was based on input from informal focus groups of potential students and others. This turned out to be an error in judgment and for that I apologize to the Augusta community, the athletes, their families, university supporters and the institution.

In future recruitment materials to actively recruit undergraduate students to the best of our ability, we will give more careful consideration to the rich and highly successful histories of ASU and GHSU as they are the foundation of our consolidated university.

Sincerely,

Roman Cibirka, vice provost

Comments (28) Add comment
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David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 02/28/13 - 02:17 pm
6
0
DOH!

DOH!

Little Lamb
47847
Points
Little Lamb 02/28/13 - 02:54 pm
9
1
Confusion

This statement just slays me:

David Brond . . . originally explained the photo alterations were done to avoid confusing potential students with names of the previous institutions – Augusta State and Georgia Health Science universities -- that merged in January to form GRU.

If your recruits are easily confused, don't you think they'll really become confused when they try to learn the background of their potential alma mater and learn that Grooo is less than one year old?

Or think about this: a prospective student looks in the 12-page view book with the glossy photos and thinks, “I would like to play basketball or golf or baseball in college, but those dorky uniforms with the completely blank slate jerseys really turn me off!”

Little Lamb
47847
Points
Little Lamb 02/28/13 - 02:55 pm
13
1
Strike Three

How many strikes does Ricardo Azziz get before he's out?

triscuit
3210
Points
triscuit 02/28/13 - 03:12 pm
10
1
How much money did these

How much money did these slick brochures cost? A lot. That type of printing doesn't come cheap...and now reprints. Roman Ciburka...yeah, he's ruined several departments at MCG/GHSU/GRU.

Riverman1
89988
Points
Riverman1 02/28/13 - 03:34 pm
8
1
An error in judgment alright.

An error in judgment alright. Tell Brond to spell judgment right, too.

Sean Moores
906
Points
Sean Moores 02/28/13 - 04:40 pm
7
1
@ Riverman 3:34pm

That was our mistake, not David Brond's. He has enough on his plate without being blamed for our typo. Thanks for letting us know. I fixed it.

Riverman1
89988
Points
Riverman1 02/28/13 - 05:58 pm
6
1
Sean, change the "and" in

Sean, change the "and" in front of it to "an" while you're at it.

jmo
17594
Points
jmo 02/28/13 - 06:05 pm
6
1
Why can't

Cibirka speak? Has he been muted by Azzizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz?

Sean Moores
906
Points
Sean Moores 02/28/13 - 06:22 pm
5
1
@ Riverman

Got it. Thanks.

triscuit
3210
Points
triscuit 02/28/13 - 10:19 pm
5
1
Cibirka will "take the heat"

Cibirka will "take the heat" on this. Azziz will reward him. He's risen from dentist to Vice Provost and won't do anything to mess things up.

RoadKing
105
Points
RoadKing 03/01/13 - 12:26 am
7
1
Go figure ....

The decision was made regarding " input from informal focus groups ", but the $40,000 professional survey for a new school name was totally ignored. Yeah, right!

jmo
17594
Points
jmo 03/01/13 - 06:18 am
5
1
I wonder who wrote

this statement for Cibirka?

TRex
100
Points
TRex 03/01/13 - 06:20 am
4
1
The hits just keep on coming

This debacle has been a nightmare and continues to garner so much attention. If they would change the name to University of Augusta all this drama would go away! Like Nike says.......just do it! Great comments and perspective.

peggyandrick
169
Points
peggyandrick 03/01/13 - 07:01 am
4
1
Yeah right

Who is running that circus? Communications and Marketing has nothing to do with the new recruiting brochure? Well then, what does that department do besides cover Azziz's behind. Oh never mind, that is a full time job for any department.

The statement marks me wonder of what vice is he provost? Again, never mind, he is obviously in charge of heritage theft and cover-ups.

Riverman1
89988
Points
Riverman1 03/01/13 - 07:09 am
3
1
What We Have Here

There is an environment of people going way too far trying to do what they think will please the leader. No one speaks up in an honest way in that atmosphere. There will be more embarrassing incidents as long as this type of management exists.

nocnoc
46841
Points
nocnoc 03/01/13 - 07:55 am
2
1
I guess if you have no history just steal it,

borrow it, rewrite it or photoshop it.

Will this practice reach further back, say back into the 1970's?
Or just the last few years?

Maybe we can erase Mr. A and the GRU from future photos and pretend it never happened?

Too many in Augusta agree the GRU name stinks, and will always stink. The only "A" that was saved was the "A" that needed to go.

Old Timmer
260
Points
Old Timmer 03/01/13 - 07:55 am
3
1
seenitB4
93264
Points
seenitB4 03/01/13 - 08:30 am
3
1
He will have to go...

Don't make me play Jim Reeves song on here.....

sasims
12
Points
sasims 03/01/13 - 09:24 am
3
1
GRU logo

As someone who has worked in higher education for over 35 years I am sickened by this action. They now say they will replace the ASU logo with the new GRU logo on the altered photos. How is this any better? You are still altering history. Someone stop them before they print the other viewbooks that will have to be destroyed also due to the outcry!

deestafford
30162
Points
deestafford 03/01/13 - 09:25 am
3
1
Does this sort of remind you of

how the Soviets used to erase a previous leader from their history when they got a new one...just purge all mention of him? Well, that appears to be what the politboro of GRU seems to want to do in relation to ASU. It existed only in your imagination.

seenitB4
93264
Points
seenitB4 03/01/13 - 09:34 am
4
1
EGO

The ego can't be sated....

bubbasauce
22957
Points
bubbasauce 03/01/13 - 10:31 am
3
1
Fire Roman immediately! No

Fire Roman immediately! No questions asked. What kind of person listens to an informal group? I'm not going to say. I will get a slap on the hand!

GiantsAllDay
10231
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/01/13 - 10:40 am
3
1
The fact that they even

The fact that they even ATTEMPTED this stunt (and thought they could get away with it) goes to show what little respect the university leadership has for the intelligence of the good people of this community. The name "Augusta State University" attached to the school's fine academic and athletic programs, represented what is good about this community. The school name was hijacked by outsiders and there was nothing we could do about it. We were totally screwed over, and but good. They didn't even have the decency to make us breakfast the next morning, send flowers or even call again.

cheeringonthedawgs
108
Points
cheeringonthedawgs 03/01/13 - 10:41 am
3
1
They never took any advise

They never took any advise from any informal focus group before isn't that kind of like a poll?? They just go ahead and do what they want to do. Its been a slap in the face from the get go.

iDontLikeAnything
24
Points
iDontLikeAnything 03/01/13 - 11:18 am
3
1
Terrible Edits

Someone at GRU is absolutely terrible at photo editing. It's one thing to remove ASU's logos, but the facial editing is absolutely horrible. The "apology" (coughs) coverup isn't enough. It should not have happened.

billcass
882
Points
billcass 03/01/13 - 11:21 am
1
3
My two cents

It was a colossal mistake. He apologized. They are fixing it. Can we end the faux outrage and move on. I realize this deprives Austin of 3 hours of show material but when I first heard the story I thought "they will apologize and fix it." And they did. Let's move on.

Darby
28252
Points
Darby 03/01/13 - 12:00 pm
2
0
"He apologized. They are fixing it.".....

Is that enough? Maybe..... Maybe not....

Darby
28252
Points
Darby 03/01/13 - 08:22 pm
1
1
Wonder what it's gonna cost.....

to fix?

It's not like the Feds where they can just draw funds from taxes to cover whatever screw-up they produce. But wait, they can raise next year's tuition can't they? But they do that every year anyway so what's the big deal?

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