Augusta with a capital 'A'

The right fight for a fitting university name is far from over

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When thinking of ways to boost school spirit, changing the name of the school might be the last idea you’d come up with.

But ironically, that’s just what the Georgia Board of Regents did earlier this year when it voted to change the name of the soon-to-be-merged Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University to the dismal “Georgia Regents University.”

The meaningless name, adopted even after this area, the state and the entire nation voted instead for “University of Augusta” in surveys and public comment, raised not only the schools’ spirit, but the entire Augusta community’s.

In total opposition to the name.

The name is not a done deal, we assure you. Not by a long shot.

In fact, an organized effort to get the name changed to include “Augusta” is only beginning.

A group of local business owners revealed Wednesday that they have plans to launch a “Save the A” campaign, aimed at persuading Gov. Nathan Deal, University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby and the Board of Regents to change the name.

As this editorial page noted recently, few specific news items in our memory have inspired the tsunami of letters to the editor, columns and rants that the Georgia Regents University name has – almost unanimously, and certainly vehemently, opposed to it.

Our friends in Atlanta – and they are our friends; they’re ramping up investment in the two schools even as the name brouhaha broils on – may not understand the width and depth of this community’s disgust for the GRU name, and how dismissively it was arrived at. They may believe it will all blow over.

As the impending “Save the A” campaign demonstrates, that presumption would be hopelessly misguided.

The upcoming campaign, despite the circumstances that gave rise to it, will be quite positive. We encourage you to join it when it’s fully formed and launched.

And we hope our state leaders will take note.

This does not have to be a bad thing, after all is said and done. We hope Gov. Deal, the chancellor and the Board of Regents look at this as a good thing: Here is a community that feels so invested and engaged in its state universities that it’s willing to go miles in order to get the name right.

Other communities could perhaps be accused of rank parochialism for insisting their names were in the local university’s name. In the case of Augusta, it’s just logic: Augusta is a global brand name, known the world over thanks to that little golf tournament we host every April. For goodness’ sake, why go out of your way to throw that brand away? Any company would love to start out with that kind of name recognition!

In contrast, Dr. Ricardo Azziz, who will head up the merged entity, admits that the GRU brand will take some 20 years to even get a foothold.

Even if this community’s fervor for the name were merely civic pride, we’d ask: What in the world is wrong with that? How can anyone turn a burning pride in one’s community into a negative?

We urge our state leaders to see it as the beautiful thing it is – and to nip this in the bud by happily yielding to the deep and abiding sentiment for a name change.

If they haven’t seen it by now, they’ll soon see our commitment to it.

Comments (12) Add comment
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JustLilMe
109
Points
JustLilMe 09/21/12 - 02:39 am
5
0
The way that the Board of

The way that the Board of Regents and Dr. Azziz are stonewalling against naming the combined schools the University of Augusta reminds me of how vile Nancy Pelosi and that crew were while plotting Obamacare. They've dug their feet in and refuse to admit to the problems and seem secretive. It makes me feel suspicious of back room deals and secret motivations.

Benjamin Paine
233
Points
Benjamin Paine 09/21/12 - 07:11 am
3
0
Reality or Delusion?

"Our friends in Atlanta – and they are our friends; they’re ramping up investment in the two schools even as the name brouhaha broils on –"

Can someone confirm that this is accurate statement? I seem to recall that these two schools have not received any funds to support consolidation, that they are being asked to save money as a result of consolidation and that both of their operating budgets for this year were permanently reduced which equates to a lower basis for next year's budgets.

Merging these schools may provide some longer term economic benefit to Augusta if this quote is accurate. If not the consolidation of these schools is destined to be an abysmal failure with the potential to jeopardize their vary existence and ultimate alignments in the university system.

seenitB4
88078
Points
seenitB4 09/21/12 - 07:29 am
3
0
Ya better hurry up..

Nip it in the bud they say....nip it ...nip it..

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 09/21/12 - 09:04 am
3
0
This whole furor over the name

... has a "South will rise again" feeling. It seems to be drawing that whole "lovers of lost causes" contingent. I am more concerned, as the previous poster pointed out, how they are going to do all these wonders of improvement as well as the logistics of merger -- with less money than before. To me, that signals cuts, and as everyone with even a cursory knowledge of government knows it is their rule: cut muscle and bone and add another layer of highly paid apparatchiks. When the public howls, demand more money.

Bizkit
32117
Points
Bizkit 09/21/12 - 09:24 am
3
0
It is difficult to believe in

It is difficult to believe in the logic of supposedly educated people who are addressing our health care crisis. So Azziz admits the name change branding will take 20 years to fruition. Wow, brilliant rather than capitalize on MCG's and ASU's long history and immediate recognition and renown we have a 20 year wait. That really seems prudent, going to save money, or going to generate income. What a load of manure. You really have to reflect and ask yourself "are these folks really that naive or just ignorant. Sheez.

crkgrdn
2287
Points
crkgrdn 09/21/12 - 09:33 am
0
0
The good fight is on!

I don't understand how this had to happen, even after General Azziz lied to explain the name change. Why not choose the path that would generate good will and bring the community together. Everything does not come from government. Look around. Most of what gets done in our community happens through the voluntary spirit of its people. In fact most of what gets done to improve the quality of life is through volunteerism, across our great nation. The voluntary spirit has served us well, especially in the current national political climate. That voluntary spirit has seen this nation through difficult times again and again.

And, the voluntary spirit will return "Augusta" to the name a great educational institution.

OJP
6788
Points
OJP 09/21/12 - 10:19 am
3
5
I think it's time to move on.

The new consolidated university is getting A LOT of new money and the only downside appears to be the name.

All things being equal, that's a pretty good deal.

Little Lamb
46367
Points
Little Lamb 09/21/12 - 10:47 am
3
0
Cause & Effect

Yeah, OJP, but they are getting this new money not because of the new name. The money is coming because the mission of the consolidated univerisity is to grow.

The Grooo name is hideous. It speaks to vanity, ego, and false pride of the members of the Board of Regents. They can receive forgiveness if they humble themselves and repent of their harmful name selection. I personally don't care if they put Augusta in the new name or not, but the name regents sends a terrible signal to all associated with the university, including future students.

OJP
6788
Points
OJP 09/21/12 - 12:11 pm
1
4
@Little Lamb:

I tend to think that Azziz is behind all of this (at least to a large degree). My understanding is that Gov. Deal basically gives him whatever he wants (e.g., Golf Gardens).

The MCG-ASU merger is the only merger in the state that is not only not losing funding but is receiving more funding. If Azziz is responsible for the merger receiving so much funding, and is responsible for the new name, I think it is a damn good deal.

Benjamin Paine
233
Points
Benjamin Paine 09/21/12 - 06:05 pm
3
0
OJP

Please tell me where they are getting "A LOT" of new money. The only announcement I have heard is the Cancer Center which has nothing to do with the consolidation and change in mission. I may have missed the story but all I recall is announcements about the budget cuts and the presidents quoted as having said they have received no new funds for consolidation or to grow new programs.

socks99
250
Points
socks99 09/21/12 - 08:15 pm
0
0
"Our friends in Atlanta – and

"Our friends in Atlanta – and they are our friends; they’re ramping up investment in the two schools even as the name brouhaha broils on"

Time will tell if that is so. WHERE exactly is all the promised money supposed to come from? Oh, wait, they'll use various bonding authorities to borrow if from the bond markets!

Augusta area residents can do the entire state a service if they'll go all the way back to the time when the Regents got rid of the name MCG. In doing that, they also got rid of its name recognition and strangled its alumni support; why did the Regents DO THAT? A careful review of the records and perhaps a few interviews might reveal something interesting and important about our current Regents.

The Force
5
Points
The Force 09/23/12 - 06:59 pm
0
0
As an ASU student...

As an ASU student I am deeply saddened to see the great and wonderful A go away. At the same time, people really need to ask themselves "is fighting this really worth it?" When the school's name was changed from Augusta College to Augusta State University, people acted much the same as they do now. When MCG changed to GHSU, people acted the same as they did for ASU's name change. What people really need to realize is that change is GOING to happen, it's a part of life. I hate "GRU" as much as the next person, but at the same time it could be a call to many new things within the University. When people can go to events dressed as minions from the popular movie "Despicable Me" in which GRU was the name of the main male character. I would like to have seen Augusta in the name, but things have come to a certain point where people need to seriously take the time to think and ask themselves if all this hullabaloo over a name is really that big of a deal. I'm willing to become a GRU Minion as opposed to an ASU Jaguar. Perhaps the remedy of this situation is solely humor, not lawsuits.

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