Is this firestorm on the radar?

Clunker "Georgia Regents University" proposal has Augusta hot

There’s a whole lot in this name.

A whole lot of revulsion, that is.

The proposed name for the newly consolidated Augusta university hadn’t even been voted on, but the reviews were already pouring in over the weekend and into Monday. And they pretty much universally savaged the name “Georgia Regents University” – which the state Board of Regents was expected to be asked to approve today.

“Hate it,” one online commenter said.

“I despise the name,” another said.

“A disaster,” said another.

“This makes absolutely no sense and feels like every person that ever attended these campuses (is) being hammered with disrespect,” concluded another.

“At least now we see how much the ATL bigwigs care about local input. Nada,” still another lamented.

“That has to be the ugliest sounding name to call a school,” and “Is the name ‘Augusta’ that bad?” wrote two others.

“It’s the dumbest name I’ve ever heard,” said Augusta Com­mis­sioner Joe Bowles.

It’s not even close. Augustans don’t just dislike the name Georgia Regents University – they utterly detest it.

As one of the commenters noted, we will now see if our views, desires and sensibilities on this end of the state matter a whit to the state Board of Regents.

A hopeful sign emerged Monday afternoon, as Board of Regents chairman Benjamin J. Tarbutton III tried to assure folks that two other proposed names are also still in the mix: Georgia Arts and Sciences University and University of Augusta.

We’ll see if others on the board are as responsive to the firestorm that blew up over here.

It appears that the powers that be are going so far out of their way to avoid including “Augusta” in the name of the new university that they can’t even see Augusta anymore. The question now is, can they hear us?

The most consistently popular name for the consolidated university that will comprise the current Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University – “The University of Augusta” – has somehow at the last minute been overtaken by the clunker “Georgia Regents University.” Why? Especially when that name will mean nothing outside of the state – but the name “Augusta” is already a worldwide brand, thanks to the Masters tournament.

One other reason to oppose the Regents name came on Monday: Officials at Regent University in Virginia, a faith-based school founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, asked Georgia not to do it – and big hints were laid that it would bring a lawsuit.

If the Georgia Board of Regents still chooses that name, it will have gone even further out of its way to avoid “Augusta.”

This, after the Augusta community gamely rallied to support the state’s desire to merge the two universities here. That kind of team spirit – which the state hasn’t experienced in every consolidation proposal – should be given great consideration in the naming of the new institution.

They’re looking everywhere for a new name for the consolidated university – everywhere, it seems, except the obvious place.

Augusta.

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