GRU-some choice

University's new name unites the community -- against it

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The president’s office at Georgia Health Sciences University announced the school’s new name Tuesday by calling it a “milestone.”

It feels more like a millstone.

The name that GHSU will soon share with Augusta State University, as the two are consolidated into one, will be Georgia Regents University.

When that possibility became public over the weekend, opposition to it erupted like a volcano in both mass and social media in the Augusta area, and with good reason. The name has zero relevance to anything and even less appeal. It’s not a nod to any person, place or thing – other than, perhaps the state Board of Regents which approved it.

It’s hard to imagine “Georgia Regents University” engendering the kind of emotional connection one normally associates with an alma mater. Certainly the local community will have a tougher time welling up affection for an institution that used to have Augusta in its name but no longer does.

Even so, Georgia Regents? Really? That’s the best they can do after half a year of posturing and polling?

If it’s mandatory to get “Georgia” in the name, what about Georgia Arts and Sciences University, one of the three finalists the regents chose from? Or Georgia International University? Or, of course, the clear-cut most popular and most obvious name: The University of Augusta.

But Georgia Regents? They chose the absolute worst option of the three.

Young folks especially were laughing, or grumbling, that “GRU” also happens to be the name of the supervillain in the animated movie Despicable Me. Don’t think opposition fans won’t have a heyday with that!

Most hurtful is the fact that the state Board of Regents knew full well the amount of public opposition to this name in the Augusta area, and did it anyway.

The regents might have thought we were being provincial. But it’s the regents who went out of their way to take Augusta out and put Georgia in. Who’s being provincial, exactly? And, of course, the state has completely missed the significance of the “Augusta” brand, which is more widespread and international than even the state’s name, thanks to the Masters Tournament.

They also did it in the face of an almost certain lawsuit from Regent University in Virginia, which had politely asked the Georgia board not to use the Regents name due to likely confusion with the Virginia school’s trademarked name.

Moreover, here’s what GHSU – soon to be GRU – president Dr. Ricardo Azziz wrote in heralding the name change:

“The word ‘regent’ is defined as having great power, and as an institution focused on the future, this name positions us as a leading university for quality teaching and education, with an array of academic programs to include both liberal arts and sciences, and one of only four comprehensive research institutions in the state.”

Yeah, that will really grab an 18-year-old recruit by the collar! When you feel the need to explain the name, perhaps that’s the first clue that the name has been chosen poorly.

In this case, it’s the second clue. The first should have been the concussion from heads exploding in the Augusta area.

This isn’t the end of it. The first stirrings of actual hit-the-sidewalks public protest were seen in social media within minutes of the announcement. We applaud that spirit, and we urge students and supporters of the two schools to join in whatever protest emerges.

Likewise, we urge our esteemed friends on the Board of Regents to be as open-minded as they hope their young college students are.

Even to the possibility that they erred, big-time.

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hockeymann
226
Points
hockeymann 08/08/12 - 12:02 am
4
0
This has to be the most

This has to be the most assinine name they possibly could have used. This
will discourage interest by students in the school, and will certainly put most
local contributions of money and support of any kind to an end. Its too bad
that we have had so much success with Dip Metress' basketball teams in
the recent years, and now I will not be surprised if any come to the Christenberry Arena to see them. Dip should look now to a position that
is worthy of a great coach...No longer here...Our players should be given
the chance to transfer without penalties...This truly sucks...My last season ticket was purchased last year. Thanks to Dip for some great years. Someone should explain how a guy like Azziz can come in here and ruin a fine school with this.

story1
802
Points
story1 08/08/12 - 06:43 am
5
1
Prediction...

This is part of Aziz's master plan to relocate the university out of Augusta likewise the reason he could not include "Augusta" in the name.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 08/08/12 - 06:59 am
3
0
Regents?

My dictionary explains the word regent as one who reigns. The word regents would be a governing body(as in a university. Sooooooooooo, does this mean----it's all about them???? I agree with the editorial, but, I would call this name an ignorant decision!

Fiat_Lux
15005
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/08/12 - 08:26 am
6
1
It seems entirely possible

that Azziz has placed himself outside the realm of usefulness by alienating such a huge swath of the community, including the very people he's intending to lead toward some great future.

Internal email petitions protesting this horrible name already were circulating through the MCG network by 3:00 yesterday afternoon.

I wonder if he's ever going to "get" this place, or if his sole goal is to make it over into his own image. Carpetbagger mentality is not all that unusual, but it's downright destructive when it comes at us this way.

And the regents were probably nothing more than bumpkin dupes, a la "Forty acres and a mule? Really? Gosh! You bet I'll vote for you!"

Please just leave, Dr. Azziz. I don't think we can afford much more of your vision.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 08/08/12 - 07:29 am
5
0
I go to ASU, and during this

I go to ASU, and during this entire debate of the naming of the school, I just stayed out of it. I was not interested in the name at all, I figured a rose by any other any name....

I just assumed the school name would have Augusta in it, and the name would be normal. I didn't like the Augusta A&M name being tossed about- but I shrugged it off. 'Can't please everyone!' I told myself. Yesterday afternoon I heard the name 'Georgia Regents University' and I was in disbelief!!

Regents? Regency is a type of government for those who don't know- a monarchy. And to double check I was right, I looked it up and there is another definition "A member of a board that governs an institution". There is no power to the students, or even professors that Azziz tried to imply.

This sounds like the board just wanted to pat themselves on the back, screw the consequences of school and students. If they could have gotten away with naming the school after themselves, I bet they would have done in it. Instead, they do this.

Disgraceful.

crkgrdn
2287
Points
crkgrdn 08/08/12 - 07:32 am
4
0
Re: McKee cartoon

Add curly hair and glasses and who does the Gru resemble.

The whole thing makes me nauseous.

Rob Pavey
551
Points
Rob Pavey 08/08/12 - 08:43 am
10
0
will history repeat itself?

Last time outsiders gave us a name like this, it floundered, withered and died. Years later, Regency Mall is an empty, forgotten shell while the mall named for Augusta prospers.

shrimp for breakfast
5422
Points
shrimp for breakfast 08/08/12 - 09:03 am
4
0
Unbelievable!!!

The Board of Emperors...I mean Regents must have bumped their heads on something. ANYTHING would be better than GRU even Georgia Masters University.

whatmistake
100
Points
whatmistake 08/08/12 - 09:19 am
4
1
New name

This is what happens when decisions that really matter are left in the hands of academics who, by and large, live in a bizarro universe and political hacks whose only qualification for the office they hold is giving large sums of campaign money to the governor who appointed them.
Here's hoping this abomination is somehow reversed. But don't hold your breath. And, if it is, get ready for retaliation by the regents.

dichotomy
31718
Points
dichotomy 08/08/12 - 10:37 am
3
0
It's an ugly name.

Georgia Regents University....it's an ugly name that reflects what, in my humble opinion, is an ugly power grab consolidation, for no good reason, of two disparate, successful, institutions of higher learning.

For me GRU reflects the status of this whole consolidation thing.

GONE REALLY UGLY

KSL
125175
Points
KSL 08/08/12 - 10:42 am
4
0
The way this has been handled

The way this has been handled is exactly the same as what is taking place in this country. It matters not what students, faculty, alumni, residents want (substitute voters and citizens). The elites get to decide what they think is best. And it doesn't necessarily have to be what is best for the general populace. It might just be what is best for them and their croanies.

Riverman1
81513
Points
Riverman1 08/08/12 - 10:59 am
3
0
The legislature can pass a bill

Dixieman has pointed out the legislature can pass a bill naming it all UA. This appears to be the most direct and feasible way to get around this catastrophe. Chronicle folks, please start to contact the local legislative delegation and let's get the ball rolling. This will be a bipartisan effort which should pass easy enough if others are not afraid of taking on the Regents.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/08/12 - 11:31 am
4
0
The Chronicle should make a

The Chronicle should make a bunch of color copies of today's editorial cartoon and sell them for $5 apiece.

Then encourage everyone to mail the cartoon to the Board of Regents.

All the proceeds could go to the ASU scholarship fund.

Bizkit
30407
Points
Bizkit 08/08/12 - 11:47 am
2
1
You get the impression of

You get the impression of intentional sabotage with the intent to minimize the Medical College so Azziz can move the school to Athens and take over as the President of UGA when Adams retires. That way he will take over UGA and the Medical School and leave Georgia Regents as just another state university. Something to ponder.

shrimp for breakfast
5422
Points
shrimp for breakfast 08/08/12 - 11:59 am
2
1
Hey Bizkit

You just might be on to something!

bdittle
78
Points
bdittle 08/08/12 - 12:18 pm
2
5
hotbutton

I know I am in the 1%'ers now... but I like the name. Being part of a large medical school in Georgia, I can see why they need to drop Augusta from the name. I don't think 'Despicable Me' should guide the naming (I mean that movie is not Citizen Kane or Gone With the Wind). I know it is a new name and new scares people, but just let it flow off the tongue. It is not a bad name.

Fiat_Lux
15005
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/08/12 - 12:42 pm
2
0
The name doesn't scare people

It just has nothing at all to do with who we are. Nobody likes it because it's a rotten name that is only associated with mediocrity, at best.

Pulling that name up so it will be associated with greatness just ain't gonna' happen around here. Anyone who believes "Georgia Regents University" is going to catch the eye and fire imaginations among the intellectual elite in medicine and research is engaging in pure fantasy and magical thinking.

We just landed in a hole.

Fiat_Lux
15005
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/08/12 - 12:48 pm
4
0
The really awful part of this

apart from the name itself, is that these are a public institutions. Why does the public not have the final say in what the consolidated institution is called?

Somehow, I don't recall that Azziz or the BOR were appointed to some dictatorial office such that public opinion is no longer important to making the decisions that affect, well, the people themselves.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 08/08/12 - 12:51 pm
2
1
Beware the man with too much
Unpublished

Beware the man with too much power. This may be the first time I've agreed with a Chronicle editorial...

Fiat_Lux
15005
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/08/12 - 12:52 pm
2
0
BTW,

Forums are scheduled for next Thursday, 8/16. Noon at ASU Maxwell Performing Arts Center, and 3:00 at MCG in the large auditorium, Lee auditoria center.

Go try to wedge your opinion in between all the horse hockey that will be shared with such jubilation.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/08/12 - 01:50 pm
2
0
Is Thursday's event a forum

Is Thursday's event a forum or a coronation?

Fiat_Lux
15005
Points
Fiat_Lux 08/08/12 - 02:00 pm
2
0
Supposedly, these are forums

on consolidation matters. The new name kind of stands out as an issue for people.

Here's a link that announces the forums, along with what some people think of the name further down in the comments.

http://asughsu.org/archives/641

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 08/08/12 - 02:15 pm
4
0
Consolidating Power

Has Azziz disbanded the Faculty Senate and the Student Government yet?

harley_52
22831
Points
harley_52 08/08/12 - 03:29 pm
3
0
I Hate The New Name....

....but what bothers me the most isn't the name at all.

It's the process.

The people were tricked, lied to, bamboozled, and ignored...all by people whose salaries the people pay. Blatant, unmitigated arrogance and disrespect of the employees and the citizenry.

There is no other way to characterize it.

KSL is exactly right.

The Governor should step in, rescind their choice of names, name a new board, and go back to square one with the name change decision.

The Governor has the power to make things right.

Will he?

Jake
32198
Points
Jake 08/08/12 - 05:15 pm
0
2
Fat Chance

I think Gov Deal has bigger fish to fry than worrying about ticked-off folks in Augusta. He doesn't have to worry about getting your votes come re-election because he is, after all, a Republican.

socks99
250
Points
socks99 08/08/12 - 05:25 pm
3
0
Public furor aside, it seems

Public furor aside, it seems clear now that sitting and former Regents have mismanaged the state's system of higher education; and we all suffer from that.

The newly politicized Board of Regents has sought to play regions against one another for the purported riches associated with big-time universities! And, local regions, have played right along never bothering to ask why we need an insular Regents if they are, themselves, treating the system like a political football!

Until we have political leaders willing to examine how the system is run -- its costs and benefits -- higher education in GA is liable to stay on shaky ground; and everyone suffers from that.

harley_52
22831
Points
harley_52 08/08/12 - 07:19 pm
2
0
Jake Said...

"He doesn't have to worry about getting your votes come re-election because he is, after all, a Republican."

If your point is that I will vote for any candidate so long as he/she's a Republican, you couldn't possibly be more wrong.

Thanks for asking.

harley_52
22831
Points
harley_52 08/08/12 - 07:22 pm
3
0
If The Governor Has...

...."bigger fish to fry," he's both tone deaf and a poor leader.

Exactly what constituency does he please by staying "above the fray?"

Jake
32198
Points
Jake 08/08/12 - 08:19 pm
1
0
Republican

Wasn't specifically talking to you directly, harley. But I have read many times on here that people will not vote for any high office seeker if they are a Democrat. Just look at the party that holds the most offices in Georgia.
What makes you think the governor cares about this issue?

harley_52
22831
Points
harley_52 08/08/12 - 08:43 pm
2
0
"What makes you think....

...What makes you think the governor cares about this issue?"

Didn't say he does. I said he should care and he should do something about it.

Don't know if he will. If he doesn't know, or care, or if he doesn't do something to repair the damage, I think he will regret it later.

That's all, Jake....just my opinion. I'm sure many/most don't agree.

Life goes on......

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