Much has been said already about the naming debacle – combining Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University under the name “Georgia Regents University” – so there is not much to add at this point. People who are not from Augusta, or who have not received degrees from either GHSU or ASU, may not be as vocal as those of us who have, but we all seem pretty much to agree that the will of the people is not being respected.
WHAT PERPLEXES me the most seems to be the unwillingness of GHSU President Ricardo Azizz and the Board of Regents to reverse their decision. What do they have to gain from keeping the unmentionable name? Is there a cost to reversing their decision? Is that cost higher than the $45,500 naming survey that was used as a smokescreen? Is the Board of Regents going to withhold funding because of a name change? Is that legal? So many unanswered questions remain.
What’s even more frustrating is the reason that was given for the choice of the unmentionable name over the more popular “University of Augusta.” Who out there really thinks that Georgia Regents University will be a name to build a world-class institute of higher learning? Who in their right mind sees Augusta as merely a “local” name?
When it was announced that two females were finally admitted to become members at the Augusta National Golf Club, the first word that I saw on all media reports was “Augusta.” Every year, Augusta is in the spotlight when the Masters Tournament rolls around. Augusta also was proudly touted by the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Whether it was in his songs or his personal appearances, he made sure to mention Augusta.
I AM ONE of the few people to attend the last summer session at Augusta College, and then come right back for the fall session at Augusta State University. I remember the pride I felt, knowing that I was now attending a university instead of a college. All of the old asbestos buildings were coming down, and these new grand buildings were being put up. The new name was icing on the cake. I not only received my bachelor’s degree from ASU, but also my master’s. Many people here in the CSRA have received multiple degrees from ASU.
What if an outsider rolled into Clemson, S.C., and wanted to change the name of Clemson University because he felt the name was a local one? It should be the same feeling here! The athletic department here at ASU has made national headlines in basketball and, more recently, golf. Augusta certainly is not a local name when it comes to those two sports.
WHO DO THESE people think they are, King Darius? Are these characters invoking the ancient law of the Medes and Persians that said, once a king makes a law and seals it with his ring, it is not to be annulled? Is Augusta being thrown into the proverbial lion’s den? If so, we all know how that turned out for Daniel and those who conspired to do him harm.
We are passionate about this name change. No matter what happens, I never will call the merged university by its currently imposed name.
(The writer is a teacher at Hephzibah Middle School.)