Though name isn't perfect, GRU Augusta deserves our support

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The Save the A campaign was formed to encourage Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and the leadership of the state’s newest university to have “Augusta” in the school’s name – preferably, the University of Augusta or Augusta University. Augusta was the only one of four communities chosen for consolidation that gave support to the governor and the Board of Regents in their decision to create this new enterprise and a school of which we can all be proud.

In every meeting and discussion with Save the A supporters, the leadership of the school, the Board of Regents, the governor, our community leaders and elected officials, we have taken the high road and made every effort to remain civil and professional.

When the news hit that our new university was going to be named Georgia Regents University, there were shock waves of disbelief, disappointment, and, yes, disgust – not only in our community but around the state, the United States and globally.

The news of Georgia Regents University also came with many questions of a flawed process that included:

• a $45,000 survey, paid for by taxpayer funds, that was never presented to the Board of Regents and completely ignored;

• a prior warning of having to defend a lawsuit from Regent University of Virginia;

• a complete disregard for the histories of the Medical College of Georgia and Augusta State University, the two schools that merged to form the new university.

We met with community leaders, Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, GRU President Ricardo Azziz, the leadership of the Board of Regents and the governor. It was clear that all sides were unhappy but for different reasons.

It also was clear that we were all very appreciative to the governor and the Board of Regents for their commitment to the growth and prosperity of the combined universities, and to the students who will follow.

This is where I completely disagree with the premise of the recent letter to the editor by a GRU faculty member (“Augustans are all GRU now,” March 7) that implied or stated that the “energy” and “efforts” of “Save the A” were “designed to protest consolidation ... .” Not so.

I also have heartburn of many past statements from Dr. Azziz that our community seems to be against the progress and successes of the new university. Not so. We just do not like the name and the process.

It also was clear that the Board of Regents had dug in their heels to ignore the pleas of the Augusta community. They gave their full and complete support to Dr. Azziz – making it clear that they would not revisit or reconsider the naming of the new university. It was clear that none of us wanted to jeopardize funding and appropriations to our school and community. It also was clear that growth of a medical facility in Athens is imminent.

After days, weeks and months of meetings and efforts of all parties, it was clear to me that a compromise was in order. The compromise is that Georgia Regents University Augusta, or GRU Augusta, would be the name that is branded and marketed to all, recognizing that Georgia Regents University would be the official name on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ accreditation documents and other legal documents. For the record – UGA, Georgia, Georgia Tech, UCLA, South Carolina and USC are not the official or legal names of those universities, either.

It was agreed to and committed to by the words of Dr. Azziz and the leadership of the Board of Regents that all marketing and branding materials of the school would prominently display the name “Augusta” (signs, letterhead, stationery, caps, T-shirts, sports uniforms, marketing and communication materials, branding, etc.). The commitment and compromise was announced in a joint press conference.

So the question now is: How is the compromise going? I would have to say it has not gone very well.

In a recent discussion with Dr. Azziz, I voiced my disappointment not only with the disgraceful attempt to rub out references to Augusta State University and the Medical College of Georgia in photographs for a poor-quality admissions brochure, but also with the void of “Augusta” in all materials and communication as was agreed to in our compromise. I spoke with other leaders at the university. I cannot say that their responses were what I hoped for.

On another note, while I know why there is recognized disagreement with the media and especially The Augusta Chronicle and its publisher, William S. Morris III, it is wrong to blame the media for the current situation. It also would be wrong to punish the citizens of the Augusta community for certain editorial and news viewpoints.

I have personally been the brunt of Mr. Morris’ ink before, and I have disagreed with some of his views and writers. I also know that he is my friend and that he loves Augusta.

I am personally grateful to Gov. Deal for allowing me the time in his office to express my views. I am appreciative to Gov. Deal and University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby for their direction and counsel in working out the compromise of including “Augusta” in the name of our university. We all wished that we did not have to spend the time on this subject, as we were all busy with other meaningful and deserving projects.

It is my hope that Gov. Deal will follow through with his statements to several of our close friends in the community that Augusta will soon have a regent. It is vitally important that this community has representation on the Board of Regents as Georgia Regents University Augusta fulfills its mission to the students, faculty, community, state and region.

While meeting with the governor at the Capitol, I was asked if “Save the A” was a part of, or was contributing to, the lawsuit by Regent University of Virginia. I assured them that was not the case. In fact, the monies leftover from the “Save the A” campaign were contributed to the Augusta State University Foundation for the “A Day Campaign.”

And while looking to the future, it would be wonderful if one day we had not only a regent from Augusta but a young, bright, worthy and capable Augustan to be governor.

I am one of many, and of the great majority, who believe that Georgia Regents University Augusta can and will be successful in its mission with any name – provided we have good and smart leadership, and provided we get the support of our community and state leaders.

While it is not a perfect solution, it is my hope and prayer that we all come together to promote and support GRU Augusta.

I think it is time to move on, and for the leadership of Georgia Regents University Augusta to build the enterprise, and to live up to the word and spirit of our compromise.

In closing, let me say that I am proud to be a graduate of Augusta College, an Augustan and a Georgian.

(The writer is chairman of the Save the A campaign.)

Comments (20) Add comment
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hwduncan
57
Points
hwduncan 03/17/13 - 05:05 am
0
7
Stop Trying to Hold Back The Hands of The Clock

All the energy and time focused on undoing what cannot be undone, pillorying the actors attempting to combine these two important institutions, and trying to gain temporay advantage for political, monetary or egoistic advantage is wasted. Stop trying to hold back the hands of the clock. It will tear your arms out!

KSL
129716
Points
KSL 03/17/13 - 07:28 am
5
1
I didn't think one was

I didn't think one was supposed to post the exact same comment on multiple threads.

Truth Matters
6840
Points
Truth Matters 03/17/13 - 08:05 am
2
0
Enough said...

See Truth Matters' post under Norwood op-Ed.
Have a blessed day all.

just an opinion
2638
Points
just an opinion 03/17/13 - 08:33 am
3
0
Why are they stuck on GRU?

Just switch the durn thing back and be done with it! Don't say it can't be done. Anything can be done. It's just a stroke of the pen. Dr. Azziz, if you will go along with this, all will be forgiven and we can move forward at lightning speed. Come on, lets get going!

Riverman1
84010
Points
Riverman1 03/17/13 - 10:54 am
8
0
Enforce the Agreement

Was there an agreement to use Augusta in the name or not? Let me answer my own question, there was. When I first saw the logo with Augusta in tiny letters at the bottom, I knew how it would go. Augusta will be downplayed as much as possible in direct disregard of the agreement.

I watched Davidson beat The College of Charleston in a basketball game the other day on TV and the coach of Davidson was talking about the The College of Charleston. He simply called it Charleston. GRU Augusta would be simply known as Augusta if we take the initiative.

Sports fans have a way of cutting through the fluff. No one is going to call a sports' team GRU Augusta. Just as no one says Georgia College and State University. It is Georgia College and GRU will simply be known around the nation as Augusta if the Chronicle and others take the initiative. We have to push their adherence to the agreement to use Augusta in the name in logos and informally.

deestafford
27672
Points
deestafford 03/17/13 - 09:49 am
6
0
Just because you get kicked in the teeth, you don't give up.

You get back up and continue to fight. The Board of Regents and Dr Azziz started this fight and were supported by Gov. Deal. Judging by the comment about the compromise not being followed showed that Azziz's word cannot be trusted.
If there is a primary challenger to Deal I'll vote for him/her.

Tyler-Ray_Daddy
44
Points
Tyler-Ray_Daddy 03/17/13 - 10:24 am
5
0
Totally Disagree - Do Not Ever Give Up

With all due respect to those who desire to cave in and once again permit those in higher places to coerce their way upon us; I totally disagree with embracing the change and accepting it. This consolidation should never have happened and should be reversed. The two universities have nothing in common and it is better for each to exist separately. I am of the belief this consolidation is nothing more than a back-door approach for Azziz and his cronies to eventually phase out ASU's current curriculum so as to take over the physical grounds (campus) of ASU to expand MCG. The political tactics remind me of a certain presidential administration's Chicago style in the way they attempt and do force their rulings down others throats.

GiantsAllDay
9593
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/17/13 - 10:47 am
4
0
At the risk of sounding

At the risk of sounding neither civil nor professional, GRU Augusta doesn't deserve Jack Crap from me.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 03/17/13 - 11:03 am
3
1
It might take the next Gov..

But it can change....
We had a change in a huge mall near me....the original name was Discover Mills Mall...we didn't ever like the dang name ..so most just called it Sugarloaf Mall....it is on Sugarloaf & it made sense to us....lo & behold the owners finally realized the name made sense too....so last year they renamed it the Sugarloaf Mall......all is well now..:)

jrbfromga
433
Points
jrbfromga 03/17/13 - 11:06 am
0
0
No it doesn't deserve our support
Unpublished

El emperor Ricardo does not deserve our support, nor do his cronies of empowerment at the Board of Regents. He has destroyed the heritage of our local schools. We do not need an imported, self-important know-it-all to manage our educational system. What are his "amazing credentials"?

ARC fan
187
Points
ARC fan 03/17/13 - 11:58 am
7
0
Thanks for nothing Nick! We

Thanks for nothing Nick! We trusted you would stand up for us and you caved which for all intents and purposes killed any hope of getting this reversed.
This is about a university being wiped off the map but more importantly it is about total arrogance and contempt of the will of the people. All I can say is there are many top-flight universities that do no have their state and regents in their name and they seemed to be doing ok - Duke, Tulane, Harvard, Yale, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Notre Dame, Purdue, Cornell, Clemson, etc etc etc

Little Lamb
46022
Points
Little Lamb 03/17/13 - 04:57 pm
2
0
Pride

Yes, it goeth before a fall. I'm trying to make sense of Mr. Evans’ statement that he is proud to be an Augustan. What does that mean? Is he praising his wisdom in staying here? Is he praising his tenacity in not moving away?

galaxygrl
1197
Points
galaxygrl 03/17/13 - 06:08 pm
5
0
Elected Officials

"I am personally grateful to Gov. Deal for allowing me the time in his office to express my views."
The last time I checked Deal was elected by the people of Georgia and as such is a public servant. That means his doors should be open to hear from the people. He is not a king to be kowtowed to or revered like a deity, but a man. I can not wait to vote him out of office, he should never have been elected. I just hope our next dear leader listens to the people.

nocnoc
42653
Points
nocnoc 03/17/13 - 06:19 pm
4
0
I attended Augusta College

Not GRU ______.
If and when it Becomes:

Univ. Of Augusta

A unit of the GRU System

.....

Then I'll start supporting it again.

Fiat_Lux
15428
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/17/13 - 06:30 pm
6
0
Nick, did they make threats?

I don't get your acquiescence to the load of manure they unloaded on you unless they were making threats about moving MCG to Athens, or of pulling back all the funding they had lined up for MCG, or some such thing.

I always felt like adding "Augusta" to GRU was like having an afterthought. It would be nice if Riverman were right about sports fans taking the ball and running with it, so to speak, but I don't believe it will happen. The name is just lacks all aesthetic appeal, and adding "Augusta" as the tail didn't improve it any. If anything, it just reinforces its mediocrity, it that's possible.

Fiat_Lux
15428
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/17/13 - 06:39 pm
5
0
And, per Dr. Kenny, a sage if ever there was one,

getting everybody, community, faculty, staff and students, back on board and gung ho is absolutely necessary, and it's just not that hard at all. If you nitwits want everyone behind you and pushing forward with genuine good will and all-out support, all you need to do is rename the merged schools to

The University of Augusta

.

It is the obvious, beyond easy and only reasonable thing to do. Then it will be OUR university once more, and we damn sure will be supporting it.

Bizkit
31462
Points
Bizkit 03/17/13 - 07:15 pm
3
0
I think people under estimate

I think people under estimate how deep the roots are for each separate institution. They do a poll and community outreach which definitely yelled "we want augusta in the name". Yet after all the wasted money and isn't there still a lawsuit pending? We are suppose to just give up.If they were smart they could have cajoled everyone into a great team effort with success running rampant-now the morale is low and I bet many have fear or tripidation to act or speak against the administration. I don't see why anyone would trust the administration given their record of misinformation or ridicule of the area.

Riverman1
84010
Points
Riverman1 03/17/13 - 08:14 pm
2
0
GRU Augusta

I sincerely want the name to be Augusta University (in some variation) as most of us do. But since Mr. Evans says Gov. Deal was involved with the compromise of GRU Augusta, let's at least fight to make sure the spirit of the compromise is upheld. The logo doesn't protray the word Augusta prominently. It should be reversed, Augusta large letters and GRU small ones.

Again, you watch how this goes with the sports teams. No one is going to call them GRU, they will be Augusta. The next battle should be over the uniforms the teams will wear. Contributions from the public should go to uniforms that emphasize Augusta. That may help swing things.

Riverman1
84010
Points
Riverman1 03/17/13 - 08:13 pm
4
0
LL, It Struck Me the Same Way

LL said, "Yes, it goeth before a fall. I'm trying to make sense of Mr. Evans’ statement that he is proud to be an Augustan. What does that mean? Is he praising his wisdom in staying here? Is he praising his tenacity in not moving away?"

Yeah, that letter was a little much, wasn't it? He is friends with Billy Morris and he met with Gov. Deal. He wants a governor to come from Augusta.

KSL
129716
Points
KSL 03/18/13 - 12:00 am
0
1
In the first place, a school

In the first place, a school gains renown by being a a producer of well educated graduates and/or excellent and meaningful research.

I was told by a regent that the name chosen was of the utmost importance and they felt the regents felt that the inclusion of Augusta in naming the was too unknown. Those of you who know me can probably imagine my comments back to him.

drjoe
32
Points
drjoe 03/19/13 - 12:56 pm
0
0
Save the A? This was not a

Save the A?

This was not a situation where compromise was acceptable. Period.

You failed.

bentman
455
Points
bentman 03/20/13 - 02:14 pm
0
0
Sale on spines

How much did they pay you to shut you up? Hey, Nick. I hear the Kroger butcher shop has a sale on backbones. Stop by and get one.

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