South Georgians oppose college mergers

5 busloads from Waycross to confront regents

Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 4:12 PM
Last updated 4:21 PM
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ATLANTA -- Opponents of merging Georgia’s public colleges brought their complaints to the Capitol Monday during the opening day of the General Assembly.

They are seeking a delay in the vote scheduled for Tuesday by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to allow more time for research on its impact.

“We ask our students every day to go home and do their homework. ... I’m asking the Board of Regents to go home and do its homework,” Rep. Mark Hatfield, R-Waycross.

Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, said the impact would be negative on Waycross to merge Waycross College with South Georgia College an hour away in Douglas.

“These small colleges mean something to these small communities,” he said.

Local business and churches in Waycross are sponsoring five buses to ferry residents to the regents meeting. However, the meeting room has limited capacity, and most chairs are filled on routine meeting days.

Two local preachers strolled the General Assembly hallways Monday to talk to key leaders about their concerns. Topping the list is the timing. Chancellor Hank Huckaby told local officials last week of the proposal and asked them not to make it public until last Friday.

The timing is designed to railroad it through without public input, said The Rev. Bishop Alton Carter, senior pastor of Brunel Street Church of God.

“I can’t see any other reason,” he said.

The Rev. Fer-Rell Malone, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, said Waycross College has a $22.7 million economic impact on the city and surrounding counties.

“You don’t just come in a week and take that away,” he said.

Waycross leaders have collected 152 signatures on an online petition. The University System is also accepting online comments on its website.

Waycross officials requested the documents Huckaby relied on in deciding to merge Waycross and South Georgia and were told there were none.

“We’re reasonable people,” Carter said. “We just want someone to come down and tell us why this is good for Waycross and Ware County.”

The merger plan would consolidate eight schools into four. Besides the Waycross-South Georgia combination, others include Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University, Gainesville State College and North Georgia State College & University, and Macon State College with Middle Georgia College in Cochran.

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Chillen
17
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Chillen 01/09/12 - 05:25 pm
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More "not in my backyard"

More "not in my backyard" nonsense. Reminds me of the local squawking about our post office closing.

Cuts must be made. Consolidation might help this. Federal, State, County and City cuts.

We have $130 TRILLION in unfunded federal liabilities alone. Not to mention the state, county & city liabilities. The value of every single speck of American wealth & land is only $50 trillion.

We are $80 trillion short - for the federal liabilities alone. How do you people propose we pay this back?

Riverman1
93772
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Riverman1 01/09/12 - 05:42 pm
0
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Do away with public colleges

Do away with public colleges if costs can't be contained. Let private colleges handle higher education. The influx of small public colleges in the past 50 years has weakened the level of education making college degrees almost worthless. Start doing away with colleges and only the best students will be able to attend and the degrees will have greater value.

socks99
250
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socks99 01/09/12 - 06:53 pm
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The coverage here is probably

The coverage here is probably WAY out of proportion to any impact such protests might have on either the Regents' thinking or Hank Huckaby's agenda. The FACT REMAINS that most Georgians remain ignorant about issues regarding 'higher education,' and I'd imagine the Regent's and others appreciate this.

The planned consolidation is proffered as a cost saving measure, but, historically, the Regent's have only driven state expenditures and especially tuition costs sky-high.

Another way to view the Regents might consider them as a carefully selected 'ceremonial' board of 'wise men' and women who represent the correct genders and complexions. They ARE NOT NOW, however, remotely capable of understanding the workings of the University system; one shouldn't expect them to know, really, of its growth, its history, or even to realize that there is a connection between a well-run system, and economic fortune in GA. The potential collapse of the system -- brought on by slowing enrollment numbers and defaulting debt issues -- is completely unknown to these honorable folks. (Like the numbers at ENRON, Lehman, and other companies were unknown to many of the principals until ... The End!)

But if the Regents, per se, don't really manage higher education in GA, then who does? Well, if one thinks of a corporate board -- say, of the defunct Lehman Brothers -- as analogous, then it ought to be clear really that they system is NOT managed. What you have are appointed Presidents running the entire fiefdoms that are the individual units; they are hired and given support but that's about it. And like Wall Street firms and global banking concerns, invariably many of the folks really running the system see themselves as dynamic risk-takers enduring 6-figure 'sacrificial' salaries all the while placing the publics' interests, and the interests of future generations of GA children at risk.

What exactly is the role of the Regents? What do they do? They oversee a massive system of political cronyism that: gives 'free' tickets to elected officials; give free meals to important folks; give access and tax-payer money to the 'right' folks so that the 'business' of the University system gets done! They toss taxpayer dollars to business interests including some who sit on the Regents board; and they spend millions and millions of dollars of taxpayer money each year lobbying elected folks so they get what they want.

Interestingly, Augusta seems to have accepted the 'apple' offered-up by the Regents, this time. It's pure political manipulation, represents a reckless system of cronyism, and its completely indifferent to the best interests of the state; the Regents, today, are almost exactly analogous to the board of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: They use political influence to get an offical 'ok' that allows magnificent risk-taking; and, again, if those risks go south, it'll be the taxpayers and future generations who suffer. The Regent's, of course, are TOO BIG TO FAIL!

Higher education in GA came about, originally, because private citizens cared about such matters and offered-up land endowments but not much cash to get things going. That system served the people reasonably well for many years.

For someone to suggest, now, that perhaps the sky-high salaries and benefits of our 'public servants,' and the extravagant and risky bets (including theft) they make with the taxpayer's money, and the states bonding authority, are reasons to question the Regents might bring a well-practiced smile or perhaps a tinge of irascibility to the face of someone like Hank Huckaby. Georgia's citizens ought to ask that leaders, again, introduce citizen-politics back into the higher education system: This time to save it, not destroy it.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 01/09/12 - 06:09 pm
0
0
riverman, what do you think

riverman, what do you think about the parabolic growth of private for profit colleges and their impact on the value of a degree? talk about institutions of higher learning who will accept ANYONE to make a buck... i don't think your suggestion is the way to fix all of this.

Riverman1
93772
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Riverman1 01/09/12 - 06:18 pm
0
0
Omnomnom, my friend, I

Omnomnom, my friend, I believe private schools can work well. Historically, their standards have always been higher for admission than public colleges.

I assume you are talking about these new, mainly online schools? I believe online education can work. Tests have to be taken at independent testing centers or at the college. That form of education is in its infancy and will improve.

I'll tell you one trend I don't agree with. We have many night colleges in the area running programs that are in competition with ASU and Paine. It's simply not right to have small extension schools come into a community and compete with existing colleges. But I'm not sure if you can do anything about it. I suppose the cheapest and best will survive.

Sweet son
11650
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Sweet son 01/09/12 - 06:42 pm
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If the taxpayer "might"

If the taxpayer "might" realize some benefit then I say consolidate even if it means "Empire Azzuz" will be the head of our two local institutions!

Chillen
17
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Chillen 01/09/12 - 07:04 pm
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riverman is right. The cost

riverman is right. The cost of public tuition is rising 10-20% PER YEAR. The University bureaucrats and communists (and I mean this literally) in the Universities are totally out of control.

Add to that the fact that "everyone" must go to college now - and the fact that the federal govt is paying for "everyone" regardless of ability to go to college - then you have rising enrollment. Rising enrollment means.......more demand.

Which means......more expenses (buildings, professors, etc) AND higher tuition (because they can).

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 01/09/12 - 07:23 pm
0
0
Riverman, I do agree with the

Riverman, I do agree with the idea of the market forcing colleges to compete for better standards of education vis-a-vis the value of a degree and the cost., I can also see traditional education giving way to online classrooms for many of the core curriculum material. What bothers me about these for profit colleges is their recent history of accepting anyone who qualifies for a federal student loan regardless of their aptitude or ability to repay. Its another bubble in the middle of blowing up. The best thing about MCG and ASU merging i can see is a retooling of ASU's "Pig Out"... seriously, its way past time for them serve more than greasy dawgs and limp fries.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 01/09/12 - 07:24 pm
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also note 'for profit' and

also note 'for profit' and 'private'. they are not necessarily the same thing

Riverman1
93772
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Riverman1 01/09/12 - 07:28 pm
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Yeah, Chillen, I know you've

Yeah, Chillen, I know you've also expressed the same thing previously. It's crazy isn't it to let these academics convince everyone they should go to college.

The best thing you can do for the country and for the individuals is to guide them into areas appropriate for their aptitudes. By any obective measurement the average population has no business in college. Yet, they run up huge college debts, get worthless degrees and end up in jobs they can't handle. It's time to stop the deception that the more people we have in college, the better off everyone is.

Riverman1
93772
Points
Riverman1 01/09/12 - 07:30 pm
0
0
Omnomnom, good point about

Omnomnom, good point about for profit and private. But it all kind of ties into my last post. College should be very tough to get in and harder to stay in. Fewer students may mean colleges compete for them and lower their prices.

mosovich
858
Points
mosovich 01/09/12 - 10:57 pm
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0
Riverman1, there was a really

Riverman1, there was a really good article in one of the national papers about how private colleges prey on our military personnel knowing that they will get these funds AND know the drop out rate is above 60% for these people. These private schools are MAJOR money makers and 90% of their funding comes from you and I supporting a student who doesn't need to be in college, but the recruiters at these schools convince them that they should be there and can get the financing to get in.. I don't know what the answer is, but private colleges or "for profit" colleges are not the answer.. Currently they aren't regulated at all and have no standards to follow..

sherry paquin
0
Points
sherry paquin 01/09/12 - 10:58 pm
0
0
Ok people, I live in Douglas

Ok people, I live in Douglas and it is not one hour to Waycross...it is the most at 35 minutes. It would not decimate the economy in Waycross for this to happen...South Georgia College is on its way to becoming a 4 year college...Waycross College is not anywhere close. It would bring more oppportunities to those in Waycross not less.

Little Lamb
49095
Points
Little Lamb 01/09/12 - 11:30 pm
0
0
It would seem on the surface

It would seem on the surface that merging Waycross College with South Georgia College would speed up the process of producing a state university down there;

Waycross State University

South Georgia State University

Take your pick of the names.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 01/09/12 - 11:47 pm
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0
So, I'm still confused why

So, I'm still confused why there is such a rush to merge and a fear of public discussion.

Rule 1: Nothing should be treated like a matter of life and death except a matter of life and death.

Rule 2: Don't trust anyone who says trust me while operating behind closed doors and won't allow public discussion.

sand gnat
678
Points
sand gnat 01/10/12 - 12:32 am
0
0
why not close augusta college

why not close augusta college and consolidate it to georgia southern?

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