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Group continues protest against Georgia Regents name, others resigned to to living with it

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While those protesting the “Georgia Regents University” name try to get more organized, even some who aren’t crazy about it are trying to find a way to live with the name for the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities.

Nine students and alumni gathered Thursday to make plans to protest the name of the merged university.  MEG MIRSHAK/STAFF
MEG MIRSHAK/STAFF
Nine students and alumni gathered Thursday to make plans to protest the name of the merged university.

Phil Wahl is the chairman of the Augusta State University Foundation’s board of trustees and serves on the Consolidation Working Group that helped pare down the suggested names to three finalists.

“I personally liked the name ‘Augusta’ in some form,” Wahl said, and the University of Augusta was one of the three finalists. “But I do understand there are lots of reasons for the decision that might not include the name ‘Augusta.’ ”

He knows people are upset about the name, but he has not yet heard directly from anyone threatening to withhold donations to the foundation.

“I’m certainly concerned that people are upset about the name. I hope we don’t lose sight of the opportunity to create a significant university here in Augusta,” Wahl said.

Persuading leaders to reconsider the university name has become a more difficult task than some protesters first realized. A group that organized on Facebook using a page titled “Everyone Against ‘Georgia Regents University’ Sound Off” met Thursday night at Nacho Mama’s on Broad Street to formalize its plans to proceed.

Tiffany Looman, one of nine students and alumni at the meeting, said she’s willing to keep up the fight, at least until the Georgia Board of Regents responds to the protest.

“We’ll try, and see how far we get. I would feel worse about myself if I just sat there,” said Looman, a senior at ASU.

The small group discussed plans for an Aug. 20 protest on the ASU campus, making T-shirts and recruiting more people to align with their cause.

Chris Nabholz, a junior at ASU who has been central to Facebook protests but did not attend Thursday’s meeting, said the issue is more political than protesters originally thought.

Their efforts so far have done little to influence the Board of Regents, GHSU President Ricardo Azziz or Gov. Nathan Deal, he said.

“It’s going to take more community force to get this though,” Nabholz said. “It’s mind-boggling to see (Azziz) is not getting what we’re saying.”

Getting to retain the name “Medical College of Georgia” as the name for the school of medicine has helped temper reaction to the name, said Dr. Henry Cline, the president of the MCG Alumni Association.

“Like everything else, it is going to take some getting used to,” said Cline, a radiation oncologist in Atlanta. “I think most of the doctor alumni feel like as long as we can still retain the Medical College of Georgia identification, then everybody ought to be OK.”

It’s possible the new name could hurt fundraising, but the reaction among MCG alumni has been mixed, as could be expected, he said.

“No matter what you picked, you’re going to get someone who is not happy about that,” Cline said. “I must say this is a lot better than the first ones they threw out there.”

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Staler172
282
Points
Staler172 08/10/12 - 07:10 am
4
7
Move on...

Let's move on already, there was a reason Augusta wasn't the name chosen.

Fiat_Lux
15912
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/10/12 - 08:52 am
6
1
Isn't he the far-sighted one.

"I think most of the doctor alumni feel like as long as we can still retain the Medical College of Georgia identification, then everybody ought to be OK.”

So, Dr. Cline, if the doctors are pacified by keeping their school's name, then of course everybody ELSE ought to be OK as well, right?

That certainly is how most doctors appear to approach matters like this, so perhaps reading this remark shouldn't be surprising.

I don't know why it still catches me off guard, but I never actually expect that kind of self-absorbed condescension and arrogance from another intelligent, educated adult.

___________________________________________

And, Staler, it's been less than a week since we had this idiot bomb dropped in our laps. It's going to take a while longer to play out, even with none of the power players paying any attention to the flap beyond finding it "a little sad". So why don't you give it a rest? We already know those hacks and the ambitious among us had their reasons for rejecting Augusta. It's not like this is something new in how the state hacks treat us. Why wouldn't they try this kind of crap when we regularly send such awful people to represent us at the state level.

Dixieman
15999
Points
Dixieman 08/10/12 - 09:50 am
3
1
Useless

to keep pestering the Board of Regents.
The way to win this is to get our legislative delegation in Atlanta to introduce and push for a bill naming the school University of Augusta. This will immediately override the regents.

noxiousfumes
468
Points
noxiousfumes 08/10/12 - 09:57 am
1
0
It's a done deal folks

And here is Dr. Azziz's rationale for the process of naming the "New U".
http://azziz.georgiahealth.edu/archives/428

just an opinion
2718
Points
just an opinion 08/10/12 - 10:34 am
1
1
Phil, you are already giving in

Come on man, take a stand!

NrthAugustaSam
491
Points
NrthAugustaSam 08/10/12 - 10:47 am
2
1
The Trickery Continues

Azziz has scheduled town hall meetings on August 16th to address the name change. Students are not on campus on that date. Classes do not start until August 20th. The town hall meetings are not being advertised except as footnotes in the Chronicle. How convenient for Azziz! Get the word out and call this man out! The press needs to cover the event and get the word out.

Fiat_Lux
15912
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/10/12 - 12:47 pm
3
1
Well, he managed to abandon his own strategy

To whit, from his "Sculpting In Clay" blog (link just above):

The name chosen would be "...aspirational, geographic, or bestowed in honor of an important benefactor..."

They missed that one high, wide and handsome. A regent is a place holder, someone who rules until the real deal, legitimate ruler is ready to take over. So what aspirational value does that word bring to the school's identity, because the other two sure got dropped?
_________

"Our name will be our public face. It is our handshake. It is our ‘first impression’. It is a central part of our identity and will influence the opinions of all who come in contact with us."

Well, Dr. Azziz, you guys managed to wipe out our identity with one stroke. And the 'first impression' is that we're pretentious idiots. Time will tell how many decades it will take to shake that.

________

“… a new corporate name must bundle together a collective sense of purpose, while encompassing the unique combination of history, leadership, strategies, and values, and being accepted by the varied stakeholders.”

As for a sense of purpose, do you guys really want to project the idea of waiting on the real deal as our institution's purpose?

And, so much for our history, right? Do you honestly believe that what you have heard and seen over the last week since this atrocious moniker was dumped on us indicates acceptance by "the varied stakeholders". Just whom do you believe those people actually are?

At best, what you will get is defeated resignation to a calloused action done by people who really don't care about the genuine stakeholders. But defeated resignation will not build support for your plans. It is something people will have to overcome and, because most of us are decent and care more about our patients than about how badly you walk all over us, we will do what is best for our--NOT YOUR, but OUR institution, for the sake of the people we education and for those we try to help.

That's probably what you were banking on all along, wasn't it? That says a lot more about you and people like Tarbutton than about us.

kiwiinamerica
950
Points
kiwiinamerica 08/10/12 - 11:03 am
1
0
Checkmate!
Unpublished

There are no good options. We've spent all our chips in the "Name Change" casino.

Yes, the name is awful but going through yet another name change would reduce the school to a laughing stock; we'd be The "College Which Can't Figure Out What to Call Itself", if we aren't already. No academic institution which aspires to be taken seriously can change its name three times in three years like some cheap motel that gets bought out every 12 months.

This pie is baked.

chemchick
21
Points
chemchick 08/10/12 - 11:09 am
0
2
Guess what Dr.

Guess what Dr. Cline...students at ASU don't really care if the name Medical College of Georgia was retained, and that doesn't temper our reaction to the name change. Our school is gone. Everything great about ASU is or will be lost. I know of students set to graduate in the spring that will not even attend their own graduation due to it being a combined ceremony. ASU has lost that small family feel that so many of us love. Before BOR decided to merge these schools and before Azziz decided to create this grand New U, did anyone bother to ask what we at ASU thought? No, because it is only about the BOR, Azziz and the Medical College. To heck with the students and faculty of ASU!

Fiat_Lux
15912
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/10/12 - 11:17 am
1
0
CryoCyber

How 'bout doing some editing there? And please leave off the 'Uncle Tom' and the trauma victim mortality nonsense, simply as a hat tip to cred.

Edward1968
624
Points
Edward1968 08/10/12 - 11:28 am
2
1
The Future Students

If this name change does go through, I feel sorry for that first class of students, and those that will follow who, after working very hard to get a quality education, will walk on a stage and receive a diploma that says Georgia Regents University. There are probably many who were planning to come to either ASU or MCG/GHSU that are now applying to other institutions in order to receive an education from a "recognized" university. Azziz has started something that we cannot let him finish, and that is to ruin our excellent universities by stripping them of their identities and melding them into nothing more than an institution that has the appearance to the rest of the world as a diploma mill. If Azziz is planning to be able to laud himself down the road by saying "Look what I did in Augusta!" he will surely get a rude awakening when the responses are along the lines of "Yes, we see what you did. Now tell us what you were thinking?"

Right on
210
Points
Right on 08/10/12 - 12:05 pm
3
1
Comes down to this

Forget the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents are appointed based on campaign contributions to the Governor. If the Governor does not intervene, let's elect him out!!! Augusta is the second largest metropolitian area in the State. We do not need to be treated as the State's door mat!!!

KSL
134555
Points
KSL 08/10/12 - 12:13 pm
3
1
It is definity not what Azziz

It is definity not what Azziz did "in" Augusta. It's going to be what he did "to " Augusta.

thauch12
6857
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thauch12 08/10/12 - 01:40 pm
3
3
They picked the best from what they had

This squabbling over GRU is exactly the kind of nonsense that keeps Augusta from achieving its full potential. Let's consider the other options...

University of Augusta: Unfortunately, this is not only about Augusta or ASU. ASU's primary purpose is to educate locals in the Augusta area and as such, its drawing area is small (comparatively) and it is largely a commuter school. GHSU/MCG is a multi-million dollar research institution that serves the entire state of Georgia not just Augusta. To put things in perspective, it would look silly (from the national perspective) to have the state's only public medical school be named the "University of Augusta." In this case, the fact that this new school needed to represent the entire state of Georgia superceded any lingering sentimental attachments to a local college, which makes sense considering GRU will rely heavily on state funds.

Georgia Arts and Sciences University: GRU is more than the arts and sciences. Besides an acronym like GASU would make the university the laughingstock of the world.

Considering these were the options, Georgia Regents University was clearly the lesser of the evils. A truly forward thinking Board of Regents would have brought ASU/GHSU under the umbrella of the University of Georgia (the state's largest public university, which also already had a partnership with MCG) to form something like the University of Georgia at Augusta or something like that which would have made everyone happy (well most everyone).

KSL
134555
Points
KSL 08/10/12 - 01:55 pm
2
2
No.

No.

Little Lamb
46971
Points
Little Lamb 08/10/12 - 03:09 pm
1
0
@thaunch

In Ohio they have a multi-million dollar research institution and medical school at a facility named University of Toledo. That doesn't look silly.

MadeinAmerica
88
Points
MadeinAmerica 08/10/12 - 03:16 pm
3
1
Not crazy about the GRU name,

Not crazy about the GRU name, but we certainly need a name larger than Augusta (and I'm an alum of ASU). Also, ASU folks who say Azziz is ruinning things must not be aware of how many categories that ASU ranks at the bottom of the list in. For example, last in graduation rates for state schools in USG. And always at or near the bottom for annual grant funding brought in by faculty and admine (even lower than most 2yr schools). And not just research funding. At other schools, such grant funding is used to support student programs. I believe that, among other things, Azziz is looking to make improvements in this for the benefit of students.

Fiat_Lux
15912
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/10/12 - 03:27 pm
3
1
Yeah, we just can't have that local identity limitation

I just don't know how Princeton ever managed to pull it off. Do you?
Or the University of Richmond,
or Clemson,
or Oxford or Cambridge,
or the University of Phoenix.

How did they get so famous!

Just lucky I guess.

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/10/12 - 03:43 pm
1
1
wow
Unpublished

wow.. a whopping 9 students and alumni showed up... doesn't sound like much of a protest but they have a kickball team.

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/10/12 - 03:47 pm
2
0
Merger was a bad idea
Unpublished

You all are missing the point here... the merger was a bad idea to begin with.. Why on earth would you combine the state's medical school with a small community college? The two schools have absolutely nothing in common... hence why you ended up with this name. The merger was a dumb idea to begin with. It should have remained GHSU and Augusta State.. two separate institutions

thauch12
6857
Points
thauch12 08/10/12 - 03:49 pm
3
2
Moot Points

@Little Lamb
The University of Toledo is not the state of Ohio's only public medical school. Off the top of my head, I know they have at least three others (Cincinnati, Wright State, and most important to my point THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY). MCG is Georgia's only public medical school, to throw it in under "The University of Augusta" would be extremely short sighted.

@Flat_Lux
You named four esteemed private universities (Princeton, Richmond, Oxford, Cambridge), one flagship state university, and one diploma mill...none of these apply to ASU/GHSU.

I'm not saying I like the name Georgia Regents University, but compared to the other options, it simply makes the most sense. Right now, people are complaining (although it is important to note that this is largely confined to Augusta and not the rest of the state) but give it 10 or 20 years after this initial outburst of irrational emotion and GRU will become an accepted part of our Augusta vocabulary...I guarantee it.

thauch12
6857
Points
thauch12 08/10/12 - 03:51 pm
3
2
@Shellman, I completely agree

@Shellman,

I completely agree with you. But what's done is done, no point crying over spilled milk.

Jake
32893
Points
Jake 08/10/12 - 05:25 pm
0
1
Hangups

While I don't necessarily like the name, I think many are missing the broader picture here. My daughter will be of college age in two years and whichever college she attends, we are looking at curriculum and cost, not the fact that she may choose to go to a university whose mascot is a banana slug (UC Santa Cruz). A name is nowhere near as important as the quality of education one gets from that university. And those saying that they would be ashamed to graduate from a university named Georgia Regents University and would not attend their graduation, then go right ahead and don't show up and don't put your sheepskin on the wall. I am willing to bet you are not going to be missed at the ceremony and while you are at it why don't you just slap your parents in the face for all the hard work a sacrifice they made to help you achieve a degree but you won't "show up" because you don't "like the name".

Shellman
623
Points
Shellman 08/10/12 - 05:27 pm
2
2
The fact is this is a State
Unpublished

The fact is this is a State university... I know the locals may not get that.. but this is not an Augusta university.. this is a state university paid for by state taxpayers.

CryoCyberTronics
392
Points
CryoCyberTronics 08/10/12 - 06:12 pm
0
1
File all concerns and compliments with the NCAA about GUR

To all whom it may concern if at this time you are having an Arrogant, Egotistical, and Pompous attitude to an impending NCAA investigation with the consolidation operation and management of the university to be named GRU would would be futile. You should know better than anyone else that everybody in the United States of America is over ruled by someone or another governing body, even the U.S. President can be over ruled by an act of Congress, in an event of wrong doing. Many reports filed to the NCAA will have you investigated.

Fiat_Lux
15912
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/10/12 - 07:32 pm
2
0
I know you think the locals are stupid, Shellman

But we really do get that MCG (and ASU) are state schools, soon to be one. state. school.

We get it. That doesn't mean The University of Augusta is not a good name for the new U. And if we had had a few persuasive local denizens on the BOR, the beauty of that simplicity and its obvious ability to ease the transition might have been more apparent for the rest of the regents.

You're entitled to your opinion, but we have some solid and valid reasons for ours as well, so you might be little less obnoxious about it.

zippy
250
Points
zippy 08/11/12 - 07:09 pm
0
0
Just got an email asking to

Just got an email asking to donate to the Aday BBQ fundraiser for the ASU alumni association. Can you say NOT. Until I see that Azziz can be trusted, my money is staying in my pocket.

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