After reading and hearing all the various comments regarding the merger of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University, I am baffled as to why this process has become a circus! The name change to Georgia Regents University was accomplished through back-door dealing and lies to the citizens of Augusta – not to mention the so-called “consolidation committee” members.
They have been played like puppets. This decision was made, but while GHSU President Ricardo Azziz was paying everyone lip service here, he was meeting with Board of Regents members to push this name through the process. He never intended to listen to the people and hear their opinions. His mind was made up long ago.
Another factor in this circus is the merging of two completely different type of students. ASU has many nontraditional students and takes particular interest in its classroom settings, which benefits the students. It is a small liberal arts school. There is no way the two schools can successfully merge without loss of jobs and students (particularly the typical ASU student). I had the honor of serving as chairman of the ASU Board of Trustees and as Chairman For a Day for ASU two years. During that time, I became acutely aware of the role ASU plays in this community.
Dr. Azziz has underestimated the people of Augusta and our history, with both schools serving very different purposes. I wonder: Is he the leader we need to be president of the new university? A leader listens, a leader has integrity and a leader is someone you can trust. Does he fit this description?
Augusta is not cool right now. We are hot!
Elaine Clark Smith