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City leaders want source of Azziz's comment on Augusta population decrease

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 9:05 PM
Last updated Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 10:09 PM
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Community leaders do not believe Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz damaged the city’s image Wednesday when he told the state university system’s board of directors that Augusta’s population has decreased by 10 percent.

Comments on population start at 3:32

They would, however, like to know the source of his data.

“I was blown away,” said Margaret Woodard, the executive director of Downtown Augusta’s Economic Auth­ority.

“Is his information even accurate?” she asked.

U.S. Census data shows Richmond County grew by 10,830 residents from 1990 to 2010, an increase of nearly 6 percent. Census figures showed the population was 189,719 in 1990 and 200,549 in 2010.

The Augusta-Aiken metropolitan area increased from 435,799 residents in 1990 to 556,877 in 2010, a 28 percent increase.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver said he has not spoken with Azziz since his presentation to the Board of Regents, but does not expect the comment to have any effect on the city’s image.

“I don’t think it will have any negative impact, just given the fact that you can look at the numbers and see that is not accurate,” Copenhaver said.

University spokeswoman Christen Carter did not return phone or e-mail messages Thursday asking to clarify the source of Azziz’s data.

She did, however, maintain in one e-mail that Azziz meant to refer to the rate at which Atlanta’s population is growing in comparison to other areas of Georgia, such as Augusta.

“There have been significant changes in the demographics of the state of Georgia,” Azziz said in addressing the looming challenges facing GRU during a progress report to the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents Wednesday in Atlanta.

“For the last 20 years, the population of Atlanta has increased by 70 percent. The population of North Georgia has increased by 50 percent,” he said. “The population of South Georgia has decreased by 20 percent. The population of Augusta has decreased by 10 percent.”

“The reality is there are major changes in demographics in the state of Georgia, and we as a university are the only comprehensive research university that does not have a campus or a place in Atlanta.”

According to data in a 2012 report by the Atlanta Regional Commission, the regional planning and intergovernmental coordination agency for the 10-county area, the metro area grew by 61 percent from 1990 to 2010.

Beyond that, Trip Ad­dison, the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, which oversees Georgia’s State Data Center, said population statistics are broken down by either city or county and that more information would be needed to confirm Azziz’s assessment.

“We would need to know what he defines as North and South Georgia,” Addison said. “It’s kind of arbitrary.”

Some business leaders in Augusta would also like to know more on how Azziz got his data.

“Obviously, we have had an increase,” said Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority. “I can’t explain his numbers. It could have just been a typo or something in the way it was presented.”

AZZIZ SAYS …

Seven looming threats to Georgia Regents University’s future, according to President Ricardo Azziz:

1. Changes in educational preference away from full-time, in-person students

2. Mounting deferred maintenance and capital improvement costs

3. The high costs of necessary infrastructure for online learning, big data research and electronic health records

4. Affordable Care Act mandates and state-federal misalignment

5. Sequestration and the federal deficit

6. Revision in state formula funding

7. Changes in state demographic growth patterns and the absence of an Atlanta presence

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CricketSeranade
593
Points
CricketSeranade 11/14/13 - 11:11 pm
12
1
If Azziz said it, it's gotta be true...

Even if it isn't, he'll find someone who will spin it to his favor.

Riverman1
82450
Points
Riverman1 11/15/13 - 05:20 am
13
1
Azziz Better Off With A Microscope

Let's hope the Board of Regents NOW understands Azziz is in over his head as president of a university. He has a narrow technical expertise and that doesn't translate well into running a state university with the many sided issues. He's better off looking for trichomonas with his microscope than trying to run a university.

geecheeriverman
2076
Points
geecheeriverman 11/15/13 - 05:59 am
11
1
Looming threat # 8

May I add the eight looming threat. Dr. Ricardo Azziz.

townsends
185
Points
townsends 11/15/13 - 06:56 am
13
1
It is new math, you will not understand.

With the unveiling of the new discreetly algorithmic computation model developed by the president of Georgia Regents University, Dr. Ricardo Azziz proves more is actually less. A by-product of this new math is the correlation between the level of coolness the city of Augusta has achieved, and the hot air blowing out of it.

Fiat_Lux
15146
Points
Fiat_Lux 11/15/13 - 07:26 am
10
1
When has Azziz let the data or facts get in his way?

Well never.

But of course it's always for our own good, since we Southern hicks are too stupid to think for ourselves.

jbartley
535
Points
jbartley 11/15/13 - 08:53 am
5
0
His right hand man

I am sure it was Michael Shaffer he checks all the info that goes to Azziz. Unless Shaffer was in Atlanta taking care of his Lobbing business!

seenitB4
85829
Points
seenitB4 11/15/13 - 08:55 am
6
3
At first glance

I thought the article read ...City leaders want azziz's arse...but alas....it said source...dang!

agustinian
689
Points
agustinian 11/15/13 - 09:26 am
7
1
Azziz Lied - People Cried

Ricky's statements rank right up there with "If you like your health insurance you can keep it"; "I did not have sex with that woman"; and the new baseball stadium in North Augusta "will create 2700 jobs."
What's that old adage: "Look it up or make it up". Even with google, it's just easier to make it up, especially if you want it to fit a certain narrative you're trying to sell.

deestafford
26620
Points
deestafford 11/15/13 - 09:36 am
10
1
Azziz is the local version of Obama...

if he believes or says it, it's true. As the pharohs used to say, "So let it be written. So let it be done" when they uttered something they wanted done.

seenitB4
85829
Points
seenitB4 11/15/13 - 09:39 am
4
1
Headed to Atlanta you say...heh

FOX 5 Atlanta

HOT TOPIC: Just like the United States issues warnings to American citizens about the dangers of traveling to certain foreign countries, foreign governments issue travel warnings about the U.S. For example, France cautions its citizens about the southern part of Atlanta, and downtown after dark.

karradur
2848
Points
karradur 11/15/13 - 10:13 am
1
3
I honestly thought...

...when I first read the main page headline at 5 in the morning, that it said "City leaders want Azziz's head".

I agree that MCG and ASU should have been merged many years ago, but it could have been handled a lot better than Dr. Azziz has handled it so far.

RMSHEFF
15897
Points
RMSHEFF 11/15/13 - 10:19 am
3
1
We MUST start holding people

We MUST start holding people in leadership accountable for what they say and do. It is obvious Azziz sees Augusta as a small insignificant town not worthy of a world call medical school. Azziz is an elitist that desired to rub shoulders with other elites in a international city like Atlanta and not be stuck in little ol Augusta.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 11/15/13 - 10:20 am
0
0
Allah perhaps? He seems to be a prophet of sorts?
Unpublished

Allah perhaps? He seems to be a prophet of sorts?

grinder48
1901
Points
grinder48 11/15/13 - 10:20 am
1
0
Deke is such a whimp
Unpublished

Copenhaver said he's not spoken with Azziz but said he doen't think it will have any negative impact. He ought to call azziz and blast him for the erroneous statement! Looks like Deke doesn't want to rock the azziz boat ... I wonder why ...

Dixieman
14466
Points
Dixieman 11/15/13 - 10:24 am
6
2
BREAKING NEWS

Augusta, Ga. (CP) -- November 15, 2013 -- Dr. Ricardo Azziz has resigned as president of GRU to become the new spokesman for Obamacare in charge of explaining why it really is a good thing. "I am glad to welcome...." well, y'all can fill in the rest.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 11/15/13 - 10:51 am
1
0
Real issues

What about the mascot? We are still the Jags right?

karradur
2848
Points
karradur 11/15/13 - 10:58 am
4
2
@Dixieman

Potshots at Obama, while funny (yes, some liberals do have a sense of humor), dilute the issue. Dr. Azziz took on the responsibility of making MCG and ASU a single, unified, world-class entity. They are already both world-class entities, from my personal experience with both, and although there is a lot to be said for online/outreach learning, the growth of community colleges is incredibly important in an age of rising university costs and a student body that is also simultaneously employed.

In other words, there is a lot to be proud of in GRU, here and now in Augusta. I know I'm a deviant elitist liberal, but Azziz needs to surround himself with some better people if he wants to keep his job.

Bizkit
30894
Points
Bizkit 11/15/13 - 11:13 am
2
1
Atlanta is a saturated market

Atlanta is a saturated market with universities and colleges. Competing with all the Woodruff foundation donations to Emory medical college, Morehouse medical college, then Georgia tech is a top notch research school and then Georgia State University, SCAD, Mercer has a campus, Kennesaw State U, Southern Polytechnic U., Clayton State University, Spellman College, Morris Brown, Agnes Scott, Clark Atlanta, then private schools like LIfe University, the list goes on and on in the Atlanta area alone. What the hell does GRU think there is really room in that market? He hasn't made this school to be the excellent research-teaching institute that he has promised-just spent a lot of money. Now we are to trust this fool and spend more to chase fields of dreams in Atlanta. Good golly. I know too many people have been bamboozled by fast talkin' high falootin' mumbo jumbo-blow smoke up your [filtered word] Ohhh yeah we are going to get you these multi-million dollar grants guaranteed and a successful program just like so and so school or university in Outer Slovakia. I'm shocked at the stupidity and lack of creativity. Why not go to the Athens area its population is booming and there is far less competition other than UGA, but it doesn't have a medical school. Lots of land and room to expand-land much cheaper than Atlanta.

harley_52
23010
Points
harley_52 11/15/13 - 11:32 am
6
1
We Already Knew Azziz Was Dishonest....

We learned that for sure during the whole, fake naming contest aimed at taking the name "Augusta" out of the name of the newly merged Institutions that became "GRU."

Azziz led the way in that fiasco and repeatedly lied about it along the way. This is not even to mention all the personal "perks" he illegally awarded himself for household improvements and family celebrations.

Why on earth would anybody now be surprised that he lied about population numbers to help him achieve what he wants for GRU's future?

ColCo
712
Points
ColCo 11/15/13 - 11:38 am
1
6
Splitting hairs

Who really cares where the number came from? Augusta is drowning in it's own vomit and the city's growth has been stagnant for TWENTY years! Why not push our elected officials for answers, and solutions.

Little Lamb
45397
Points
Little Lamb 11/15/13 - 11:56 am
4
1
SOURCE

Azziz will not respond to any request for clarification. Azziz will not apologize for his attempt to sway the Board of Regents with falsehoods. Azziz is an arrogant narcissist like his hero Obama.

Members of the board should publicly rebuke him for his attempted deception.

scoopdedoop64
2354
Points
scoopdedoop64 11/15/13 - 12:04 pm
3
3
Azziz is bad for Augusta

If you like your data statistics you can keep your data statistics, period! Sounds like Azziz is taking lessons from President Obama.

Little Lamb
45397
Points
Little Lamb 11/15/13 - 12:27 pm
1
2
Atlanta

Actually, the population of the city of Atlanta has increased very little in the last 20 years. It is so developed that it is difficult to achieve residential growth. What has grown are Atlanta's suburbs. But no one expects Azziz to be accurate when lobbying for more money.

harley_52
23010
Points
harley_52 11/15/13 - 12:27 pm
2
0
"Who really cares where the number came from?"

"...what difference at this point does it make?"

harley_52
23010
Points
harley_52 11/15/13 - 12:44 pm
3
1
Perhaps The Most Amazing Aspect....

...of this latest embarrassment by Azziz is the stupidity he demonstrates over and over again.

I mean, really....did he think nobody would notice? Does he really think he can just make up numbers in order to justify the results he seeks to achieve without somebody checking the data he claims, especially when he already has a well deserved reputation for attacking and disrespecting the city of Augusta?

How and why is this dishonest, self-promoting, Augusta hating man still being paid huge sums of money to hold the position he holds?

Governor Deal?

Dixieman
14466
Points
Dixieman 11/15/13 - 01:00 pm
2
1
So what?

What difference does local population make to the location of a good university? Dartmouth -- little town in NH. Amherst -- ditto in MA. University of the South (Sewanee) -- ditto TN. Auburn, Clemson, etc. Location in a small/stable/declining area lets you buy land cheap, build cheap, etc. Better than Columbia, Harvard or Yale in the middle of big urban areas where cost of living is expensive meaning students suffer too. In short, population growth/decline is probably irrelevant to university location or even negatively correlated with it. Or, in two words: "So what?".

prov227
3138
Points
prov227 11/15/13 - 01:00 pm
2
1
What has grown are Atlanta's suburbs ...

writes one commentator to this article. That's an important fact. Interesting that Azziz only looks at Richmond County. Does he not think Columbia County has a relationship to Augusta? Aiken County? What was Columbia County's growth rate from 1990 to 2010? The integrity factor with Azziz continues ...

Sweet son
10114
Points
Sweet son 11/15/13 - 01:12 pm
2
1
Azziz is just a narcicist who has noone in mind but himself and

his national image. He doesn't give a rat's arse about Augusta and our two great Universities. He will build his empire at any cost and will take ALL credit for any successes achieved by the unified institution.

We hope he gets satisfied with his image soon and some other foolish University system will lure him away and we will be done with him.

Loved all of the references to Obama and Azziz. When they open their mouths anything that is spoken is always subject to scrutiny!!

harley_52
23010
Points
harley_52 11/15/13 - 01:17 pm
2
1
"So what?"

Why did he use the "fact" of a decreasing population in his presentation to the University Board? Was it intended to influence a decision about moving a portion of the University out of a dying population center? I doubt it was just idle chit-chat.

Perhaps it really doesn't matter to potential students, or to potential donors. You're right, some colleges seem to do quite well in small towns. But I think it DOES matter that we have a man in Azziz's position playing so fast and loose with the truth so often.

Having a little trust and confidence in the veracity of a chief executive would be a refreshing change, IMHO.

Little Lamb
45397
Points
Little Lamb 11/15/13 - 02:26 pm
3
0
Mayor

The headline says that city "leaders" want answers. But Augusta's mayor is not one of them. Here's a quote from the story:

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver said he has not spoken with Azziz since his presentation to the Board of Regents, but does not expect the comment to have any effect on the city’s image.

When a university president tries to con the entire Board of Regents into giving him enough money to start up an entire new college campus in the Atlanta area by using demonstrably false information, it is not the city's image that has been tarnished. It should be the image of Azziz. Maybe he was once thought of as trustworthy, as a man worthy of the position they bestowed upon him. But no more. With his prevarication he is now seen as an emperor with no clothes.

It is Azziz who has tarnished his own image.

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