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Save the A group in 'positive' dialogue with Regents

Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 1:21 PM
Last updated 8:12 PM
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The group pushing to keep Augusta in the name of the newly consolidated university has initiated discussions with Board of Regents members looking for a possible compromise, officials said.

Nick Evans, the chairman of the Save the A campaign, said members of the group met last week with Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Board of Regents “leadership,” including Chancellor Hank Huckaby and board Chairman Ben Tarbutton III.

Save the A, a group led by local business owners and community leaders, was formed in September to campaign for replacing Georgia Regents University with University of Augusta as the name for the consolidated Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences universities. The group has sponsored letter-writing and social media campaigns focused on influencing the Board of Regents into reconsidering its name selection.

Evans characterized last week’s meeting as a “positive exchange” and said he felt progress was made.

“It was a good meeting,” said Evans, who declined to provide any specifics of what was discussed.

Deal’s spokesman, Brian Robinson, said the governor facilitated the meeting in an effort to find a resolution to the contentious issue.

Tarbutton agreed the meeting was a step in the right direction, but was also noncommital about what might come of the discussions or what was said.

“It was great to listen and for them to share their thoughts,” he said. “It was a great dialogue.”

Tarbutton would not speculate on whether a compromise could be worked out between the Regents and the Save the A group or if anything at all would come from the dialogue.

“I can’t predict the future,” Tarbutton said. “I can’t say what might change with the next phone call.”

Neither expected an immediate resolution to the issue.

David Alalof, the chairman of ASU Foundation, said the fact the two sides were talking opens the door to a solution. That is an improvement over the previous situation, in which the Regents’ position was that the naming decision was dead issue.

He said the name, “Georgia Regents University at Augusta” has been “bandied about” as a possible compromise, but no firm offers have been made and no deal was on the table.

“I’ve heard we will have another meeting,” he said. “I just hope that sensible people can get together to come up with a sensible name.”

Deal will be in Augusta today to speak at the annual meeting of the CSRA Regional Commission. That might seem like an opportune time to announce a resolution to the name change controversy, but neither Tarbutton nor Evans expected that to happen. Evans said they had no plans to meet with Deal while he was in town.

Robinson said the governor will not address the name change issue in his remarks, but will take questions from the press after the event.

The other man at the center of the controversy, GHSU President Ricardo Azziz, will not attend tonight’s meeting, event organizers said.

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Riverman1
79093
Points
Riverman1 10/22/12 - 02:11 pm
4
7
Keep the undergrad ASU or AU.

Keep the undergrad ASU or AU. Keep GHSU the same. Call them both divisions of GRU. Easy. Everyone is happy.

RogueKnight
210
Points
RogueKnight 10/22/12 - 02:49 pm
12
0
Riverman, it sort of defeats

Riverman, it sort of defeats the whole purpose of consolidating the two campuses if they keep the same names as before. Let's go back one step further and continue to call undergrad ASU and call GHSU what it really is....MCG!!

kiwiinamerica
924
Points
kiwiinamerica 10/22/12 - 03:05 pm
0
1
Ultimatum!
Unpublished

OK dude, this is how it is! Either keep "Augusta" in the name or we'll continue to plant yard signs all over the city and we'll withhold the check for $50 we were going to send you!!

Seriously.....unless this guy is a major donor or in big with GHSU alumni (who do NOT want "Augusta" in the name), he's just blowing smoke.

Fiat_Lux
14787
Points
Fiat_Lux 10/22/12 - 03:57 pm
7
0
It all fits together quite nicely

but only under "The University of Augusta" as the name. You need to forget about GRU as an umbrella, Riverman. It's a hateful idea to everybody, even as a "compromise", and nobody wants to do that.

The Medical College of Georgia is a no-brainer, with AJC/AC/ASU stepping organically into its new role as the undergrad component of a great new university.

That just is not going to come off well unless GRU is booted. All that will happen is that people wait out Azziz and the current crop of regents, and the current governor, and then will come at it again.

GRU is not going to be the name the rest of the world identifies with this institution, no matter how long we get stuck with it.

CryoCyberTronics
392
Points
CryoCyberTronics 10/22/12 - 04:12 pm
1
0
Gov. Eugene Talmage the name

Gov. Eugene Talmage the name for which the MCG Medical Center Hospital former name was The Eugene Talmage Memorial Hospital is named for. It would seem like the Ga. BOR is tryin to do to him what the good gov. tried to do to them. Hopefully they the BOR are not holding that against Augusta or the University because of the Late Gov. Ideals...!

my.voice
4643
Points
my.voice 10/22/12 - 04:37 pm
7
0
While you are working on the

While you are working on the name change, see if you can get someone to send in a replacement president too. The gall of this man to have changed the name of one of the oldest medical schools in the NATION is beyond beleif. The names are just fine AS-IS, Dr. Azziz, your perception of our area and these schools, however, is WAY off. Why a singular name is required to "manage" 2 universities is beyond me. And dont get me started on the gall of the BOR in naming the dang thing after themselves!

OnTheHill1
345
Points
OnTheHill1 10/22/12 - 05:05 pm
6
1
Disrespectful ... but Accurate

http://newstimes.augusta.com/opinion/editorial-cartoons/2012-10-21/edito...

The BOR and Deal are not going to boot Azziz; one thing at a time, the name has to last for a long time. Azziz has been outed by his arrogance and lack of integrity in effecting the name change. He has to be steaming about this article and is likely upping his lobbying efforts with his friends at the BOR and maybe even to Deal. All we can do is to watch and document his indiscretions and complete lack of transparency. Whether the name is changed or not, our objective should be to make his life here as miserable as possible. The Save-The-A committee can facilitate this. Call for audits, question his decisions, he has many faults, all of which his mega-ego vehemently denies.

rebellious
20127
Points
rebellious 10/22/12 - 05:07 pm
8
0
I Heard

Azziz was not in or at the meeting! To quote ScoobyDoo "RuhtRoh". I have learned if there is a meeting to resolve a problem you were involved in creating, and you weren't invited........YOU are the problem.

What did Snagglepuss used to say? "Exit Stage Left" Leonard Post Toasties prediction, "In a close one, Azziz loses to the Saving The A's.

Riverman1
79093
Points
Riverman1 10/22/12 - 06:04 pm
0
5
If we must compromise....

Guys and gals, I totally agree keeping the names the same is the best idea. But apparently it has been deemed necessary to show a degree of unification since we are now officially one institution. I totally agree it is logical to be U. of Aug and U of Aug Medical School, but apparently powerful folks don't want that.

What I'm looking for is a compromise that can let us keep ASU. U of A (or keep it Augusta State U.) GHSU or MCG. Then let them call the umbrella whatever they want. We won't have to use the umbrella name often.

willie7
908
Points
willie7 10/22/12 - 06:48 pm
4
0
I am sure Gov. Deal might get
Unpublished

I am sure Gov. Deal might get the Board of Regents to comprise because he needs 4 more years to make more shady deals!!!!

Old Timmer
260
Points
Old Timmer 10/22/12 - 08:02 pm
5
1
Two Points

1. If this name is not changed, I expect this area to overwhelmingly support Gov. Deal's opponent in the Rep. primary or vote for the Dem.
2. While the name issue is important, how about rallying to get the great staff at this new university a raise after 5 years without one. They need it much more than all these VP's they're hiring.

just an opinion
2351
Points
just an opinion 10/22/12 - 08:08 pm
6
0
Come on Board of Regents!

You really have to have a college named after yourselves? I'm sure you deserve it seeing that you have bestowed this honor upon yourself! This is an absurd abuse of power. What kind of example is this setting?

Dixieman
12813
Points
Dixieman 10/22/12 - 08:46 pm
4
0
Was this leaked?

If so, it's good news. Neither side would leak that they were close to a solution unless it was going to be announced by Deal. Fingers crossed.

prov227
2924
Points
prov227 10/22/12 - 10:48 pm
0
0
GRU at Augusta?

I think we already have this.

Little Lamb
43803
Points
Little Lamb 10/22/12 - 11:26 pm
2
0
Vanity

It is more important that the name "regents" not appear in the final name than that the name "augusta" does appear. The name regents speaks to vanity and narcissism of political appointees. Those are hardly qualities we wish to extol to our students and faculty.

Regents must go. Augusta is negotiable.

justputtin
1384
Points
justputtin 10/23/12 - 06:31 am
1
0
That's right

You are correct little lamb. Well said.

Riverman1
79093
Points
Riverman1 10/23/12 - 07:37 am
0
2
It wouldn't be unreasonable

It wouldn't be unreasonable to "lose" the regents name AND keep Augusta in the name of the college.

But keep in mind, the opening sentence. This is going to be a COMPROMISE.

"The group pushing to keep Augusta in the name of the newly consolidated university has initiated discussions with Board of Regents members looking for a possible compromise, officials said."

Little Lamb
43803
Points
Little Lamb 10/23/12 - 07:47 am
0
0
COMPROMISE

It should be a discussion about what is the best name for a merged university. A name that reminds people of just how vain the members of the board of regents are is not what a university should be about. The members of the board of regents are executives who like politics. Extracting letters from that description, you might as well call the new university EXECUWIKI. It makes as much sense as REGENTS.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 10/23/12 - 07:51 am
0
0
Historical Question

Even though the Medical College of GA was started by GA Charter in 12-20-1828.It existed way before that.

Isn't there any protection offered the name or Historical rights?
When it moved from Telfair St. long ago was there an agreement to maintain the name ?

http://lib.georgiahealth.edu/history/1822-1828.php

OnTheHill1
345
Points
OnTheHill1 10/23/12 - 10:01 am
2
0
What Happens If ...

The Save-The-A committee stepped up when nobody else did, created and funded the campaign, engineered a meeting with the BOR leadership and Governor Deal. I'm sure they wanted a swift conclusion to the wide gulf between the community and Atlanta.

The BOR and Deal's legal advisers likely are opining that Pat Robertson's Regent University trademark infringement law suit has no merit. They would say that the cost of defending the law suit uses state employed lawyers so there is no additional cost to the state.

That said, what happens if the compromise, which unfortunately has replaced the University of Augusta as the committee's self-professed charter, is Georgia Regents University at Augusta?

I just hope that no announcement is made today, that instead Deal admits that the committee and the BOR are in further discussions, though my gut says there will be an announcement at the press conference following Deal's presentation.

Unless the onerous "Regents" word is purged completely, I think the community will feel unfulfilled (a politically correct term). Other stronger adjectives would certainly apply!

AugustaProf
138
Points
AugustaProf 10/23/12 - 10:00 am
2
0
Umbrella

Riverman, please understand that a University IS an umbrella over multiple colleges. It's a well defined hierarchy. University->College->School->Department. You can't have a university serve as an umbrella over two other universities. We COULD be GRU over a unified MCG and AC, but that would be truly a horrible outcome as A) every college at GHSU/ASU would be demoted to school designations (not likely since people have funded trusts and put their names on colleges, not schools) and B) it just further divides our two campuses at a time when we are ostensibly supposed to be unifying.

Regarding compromise, I agree with Lamb that the notion of finding a middle ground in this is asinine. Simply tacking Augusta onto the wrong name doesn't make it right. In fact, it makes it far worse. While UofA is the most "right" name for the majority of sane people, I'd much rather be GRU than GRUA. Understand too that adding the city designation to the end means that every MCG satellite now gets equal footing with the Augusta home base. Including the one in Athens. This would be a BIG mistake for Augusta.

I HOPE the law of unintended consequences doesn't come into play here.

Little Lamb
43803
Points
Little Lamb 10/23/12 - 10:42 am
2
0
School Cheer

You know how the U.S. Marines have a cheer that you'll occasionally hear shouted: Hoo-rah!

Well the cheer you would hear at GRUA basketball and baseball games would be similar: Groo-ah!

You would even hear it in the tee box as a Groo golfer swings his driver, replacing the “you da man” cheer.

Riverman1
79093
Points
Riverman1 10/23/12 - 03:13 pm
0
0
AugustaProf, look, if it were

AugustaProf, look, if it were up to me it would be U of Augusta and the medical school would be U of Augusta's Medical College of Georgia (or GHSU). However, we are in this situation now where we are looking for a way out...a compromise, if you will.

I totally understand the structures of universities and medical schools. having spent way too much time at such institutions. The way it is supposed to go in the merger, the undergrad programs will all come under what is now ASU. The medical school is going to have a separate name in any case. If some other name goes above the undergraduate school and the medical school, we could live with that.

Of course, this is not my idea alone. The Chronicle writer proposed the same thing previously as many have. Sure, it's not ideal, but it is a way to have a U of A.

Little Lamb
43803
Points
Little Lamb 10/24/12 - 09:28 am
0
0
Colleges

Riverman posted:

The way it is supposed to go in the merger, the undergrad programs will all come under what is now ASU. The medical school is going to have a separate name in any case.

You are looking at it wrong, RM. The "undergrad programs," as you call them, will be units under the merged university, as will the graduate programs, including the medical college. Your thinking is wrong if you believe the new structure will maintain the ASU—GHSU dichotomy. There will be several colleges — medical, arts & sciences, business, and perhaps more. They will not be equal in size, budget, or influence; but categorically they will be the same.

Or, perhaps, my thinking is wrong. That is a possibility.

OnTheHill1
345
Points
OnTheHill1 10/24/12 - 12:16 pm
0
0
Committee's Next Step?

Governor's Deal's statement to the press Tuesday, October 23, 2012, night:
---------------------
“I’m not in the naming business,” Deal said. “That’s not the responsibility of the governor.”

Community sentiment toward having Augusta as a part of the name is easy to understand, Deal said. “The part that is not understood, though, is the point of view the regents had.”

Deal said Georgia Regents University conveys the image of a statewide institution – something that is destined to emerge as a nationally known institution that will bring resources, research funding and jobs to Au­gusta, Deal said.

“I want us to have a top 50 medical school, and I want it to be in Augusta,” he said.

The governor met Tuesday with GHSU President Ricar­do Azziz and reiterated that he has full confidence in Azziz’s leadership abilities.

“We are fortunate to have someone of his stature here,” Deal said.
---------------------
The committe accomplished step 1, convincing Deal that Augusta leadership and the BOR leadership be in substantive talks. Deal is aping Azziz's statements, that an Augusta name condemns the institution to being regional, and does not meet his objective of becoming one of the top 50 medical schools in the nation. Azziz's actual vision is that the new U becomes one of the top 50 in the nation in research funding, part of his 10-year growth plan called Transformation 2020.

Conclusion is Azziz is untouchable in Deal's eyes and any and all negative comments (no matter how well deserved they are) will fall on deaf ears. The BOR is likely of like mind and would have to move heaven and earth to convince Deal that Azziz should be canned.

What's the committee's next step? Would seem to me that the next step is to convince the BOR movers and shakers that an Augusta label does not condemn the new U to being just a tiny little regional institution. The analytical argument is to dissect several like named universities, how they are perceived nationally and internationally and opine that as those universities go, so will go University of Augusta.

But being in sales, I know facts and figures no matter how compelling, don't assure the sale. So in the next step, the personalities of the BOR leadership must be understood. Who runs the show? Just because a BOR member has the title doesn't mean they run the show. How powerful is Dink NeSmith, the only BOR member who voted NO on GRU?

This new U naming is as emotional as it is analytical. Not every person makes decisions because of the facts, an appeal to the BOR members should include an emotional appeal too.

Riverman1
79093
Points
Riverman1 10/24/12 - 04:12 pm
0
0
Excellent Post On the Hill

I'll only add Deal said an overriding name was needed that would reflect a statewide presence. I believe that can mean GRU as an overriding name for the undergrad and medical school, thus allowing them to keep their individual names.

Little Lamb
43803
Points
Little Lamb 10/25/12 - 09:25 am
0
0
Colleges

You keep talking as if there are only two colleges between the two universities, RM. That is incorrect. At this time each of the two universities has several colleges. Here they are from their web sites:

ASU
Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
Hull College of Business
College of Education
College of Science and Mathematics

GHSU
College of Allied Health Services
College of Dental Medicine
College of Graduate Studies
Medical College of Georgia
College of Nursing

You imply that GHSU has all the graduate stuff and that ASU has only undergrad stuff. Neither is true. You can get a graduate degree at ASU and you can get an undergraduate degree at GHSU.

Of course, the college structure at the new merged university might not be merely a sum of the above colleges. They might do a little re-structuring and re-naming. No one knows but Azziz. He certainly will not do any surveys on the process after the debacle of his public relations blunder over the naming process.

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