Merger questions persist

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I have read with much interest the few articles concerning the merger of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University.

I am not opposed to the merger, and actually feel it may benefit both universities and the Augusta area. The problem I have is how the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents have handled the process.

My first impression is that it has been done way too quickly and without much feedback from the taxpayers, students or faculty. However, maybe that was their intention in the first place. That kind of reminds me of the way our governments – local, state and federal – do business: ram something through before any opposition can mount a defense.

The issue should have been given more time for consideration, more feedback and more explanation of benefits to each of the universities and to the community.

GHSU President Ricardo Azziz said “the process will be transparent to students, faculty and taxpayers.” While Azziz was referring to the implementation of the merger, the merger itself certainly was not transparent.

I surmise that the Board of Regents has been considering and planning this for quite some time. If this is correct, why in the world did the Board of Regents not stop Azziz from changing the name of the Medical College of Georgia last year? He has spent/wasted money on the name change, and now the name will more than likely be changed again with the merger.

Jerry Newman


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socks99 01/15/12 - 06:28 pm
The Regents high-handed

The Regents high-handed management style is posited as necessary to get necessary and critical change to occur in GA's higher education system. In their conventional wisdom, long drawn-out public discussion simply invites so much debate and acrimony that the 'greater good' is often threatened. To wit: During the 1980's, the Regents beat back provincial efforts to transform local colleges into universities; instead of formally allowing these colleges, for instance, to train graduate students, they simply changed the names of those schools and added-in "University." Valdosta State College was changed to Valdosta State University. When MCG alumni questioned the satellite campus in Athens, the Regents quickly changed the name of MCG in an effort to dilute alumni 'interference.' And, of course, now that consolidation is an issue, the Chancellor waited until the last moment to go public and made sure the Regent's voted almost immediately.

I think the Regents, themselves, are quickly 'schooled' by Regent office insiders in the irrationality of the citizens of this state. They are prepared and informed about the dangerous sentiments out there in the boondocks and told how to get their way in spite of political or even educational opposition.

I'd submit that the Regents and other government officials are running scared and its because they've done things to lose the public trust. In the case of the Regents, in addition to the stated moves, you have allegations of graft and corruption. You also have allegations that the former governor attempted to 'stack the deck' to favor certain institutions; and now you see a reaction to that.

In the final analysis, the Regents ought to manage the higher education system in the best interest of all Georgians; unfortunately, there are many signs that indicate those interests are routinely ignored and that the system, per se, has departed on a very risky and reckless course.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 01/15/12 - 06:40 pm
Nice post, socks. But I must

Nice post, socks. But I must point out one fallacy:

In the final analysis, the Regents ought to manage the higher education system in the best interest of all Georgians.

That sounds lofty, but it is an impossibility. There is no such thing as the best interest of all Georgians. Decisions by the Board of Regents enrich some and impoverish others. And by impoverish, I mean financially, spiritually, morally, educationally, ethically and industrially.

socks99 01/15/12 - 07:46 pm
Disagree LL, but good post.

Disagree LL, but good post. The Regents system of governance was set-up, initially, to insulate the higher ed system from political interference. In other words, the founders were attempting to tamp-down provincialism and operate the system in the best interests of all Georgians (not just those in Athens or Augusta).

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