First on 12: Governor signals compromise in name of 'New U'

Gov. Nathan Deal talking the "New U." (WRDW-TV)
Gov. Nathan Deal talking the "New U." (WRDW-TV)
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News 12 at 11 o'clock, Tuesday, October 23, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is responding directly to your concerns about the new name for Augusta's "New U."

You did not stop at protests. You formed an actual chorus of opposition to the new name for the soon-to-be merged Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University -- just recently named Georgia Regents University.

A formal "Save the A" campaign was launched with signs lining the streets pushing state leaders to consider including Augusta in the name.

It all got the attention of Gov. Deal.

"Hopefully, a version of a name that will be satisfactory will emerge," said Gov. Deal, who suggested a compromise may be in the works. "I think both sides are coming together with good intentions and good positions. I hope that compromise can be reached."

The governor recently hosted a meeting in his Atlanta office with "Save the A" members.

Nick Evans said the meeting was "very good and cordial." He is working with other business leaders in the community to make sure Augusta is in the name of the "New U." He says more than 10,000 people have already signed a petition to do that.

"The chancellor himself was there and Board of Regents members," Deal said. "I think we all understood where people were coming from on the issue."

But even after formal demonstrations and campaigns, Deal insists the community should keep one thing in mind.

"The thing that has not been understood is the point of the view that the Regents had," Deal said. "They want this to be an institution that has more than a local or regional impact."

The governor admits, however, the controversy has taken a toll.

"I know the Board of Regents are wanting to move on with this issue. It is not something we want to continue and hang around," he said. "There is a conversation going on, and I think that is encouraging."

Sources have told News 12 that state and local school leaders have been working on branding and naming for Augusta's "New U" in the past week. Some of the suggested branding mentioned in private conversation included Georgia Regents University at Augusta or Georgia Regents University in Augusta.

"New U" President Dr. Ricardo Azziz is said to be "open to conversation."

The Georgia Board of Regents will ultimately have the final say on any decision.

You can see the full interview here:

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