The Inside Story: Azziz declares it 'within university's power' to include Augusta in 'New U' branding

New U naming
University officials are reaching out to the community to choose a name for the newly-consolidated schools. (WRDW-TV / June 15, 2012)
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- GHSU President Dr. Ricardo Azziz is talking to News 12 tonight about a possible emerging compromise in the controversy surrounding the new name for Augusta's "New U."

Dr. Azziz says he is open to conversation and flexible. "Saving the A" may mean focusing on branding.

Your protests and songs and Save the A campaigns geared at pushing state leaders to include Augusta in the new name for the soon-to-be merged ASU and GHSU made it all the way to the governor's office.

"I have encouraged the parties that are involved in that process to continue to talk to each other in hopes that a reconciliation and a good compromise can be reached," said Gov. Nathan Deal after speaking in Augusta Tuesday night.

Azziz went even further than he did in our exclusive sit-down interview just last week when he called into our weekly radio segment this morning on 96.3 KISS FM with Fattz and Cher.

"I'm hearing you say that there is something within the university's power that would allow you to include Augusta in the new naming?" we asked Azziz.

"Absolutely," Azziz replied. "That is something that we have stressed to those who would listen. We as a university remain flexible and really open to discussion involving things like branding and logo; in other words, the official logo of the university ... the official way we are going to brand ourselves. What people don't realize is we have not created the official logo and the official brand of the university."

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.

"There are lots of ways of addressing the community's concerns and actually highlight what Augusta brings to many things, including some of our athletic and golf programs," Azziz said.

This all comes after Azziz has his yard covered in the "Save the A" signs and signs bearing his name defaced.

"He has taken a lot of heat here," News 12's Chris Thomas said to Gov. Deal about Azziz. "Do you still have full confidence in his abilities?"

"Absolutely," he replied. "We are fortunate to have someone of his quality here leading this effort. He is the one who had the vision. He is the one who had the dream."

So what next? Sources tell News 12 members of "Save the A" met with school leaders today. Talks are "ongoing." The formal name goes before the Regents in January.

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