Only on 12: Regent slams 'misdirected' anger, calls Dr. Azziz 'a blessing' after student protest of 'New U' name

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email
Azziz sign

University President Dr. Ricardo Azziz's parking sign was defaced. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 23, 2012)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Members of the Board of Regents are in town days after students staged a formal protest of the new name for Augusta's "New U."

Board members say the recent anger at school President Dr. Ricardo Azziz is "misdirected."

"So let's hear it for our great leader Dr. Ricardo Azziz," sang student Jerod Gay at this week's protest of the new name for Augusta's "New U."

Songs have been written about him. Signs have been defaced bearing his name. It is fair to say Georgia Regents University Azziz is under fire.

"You can tell that he's not from here and that name will never stay," says Gay in his song.

The Board of Regents recently approved Georgia Regents University as the new name for the soon-to-be-merged Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University. ASU students staged a protest of the name on Monday.

"It seems like it is very misdirected. The Board of Regents has made the final say on this," said Regent Tommy Hopkins. "Dr. Azziz couldn't change it if he wanted to. The decision has been made. It will not be taken up again."

The Board of Regents is pledging $150 million in next year's budget alone for Georgia Regents University.

"Which is three times more than any other university or college in the system," Hopkins said.

Meanwhile, Augusta's mayor pro tem is taking to the airwaves talking up a commission resolution asking the Board of Regents to reconsider the name.

"Yes," said Bowles on our weekly radio segment on 96.3 KISS FM with Fattz and Cher, "if I were a college student or looking for a college, the name is just not very appealing."

The naming process has also been controversial. The $45,000 survey was mostly ignored.

"Did you see those study results?" we asked Hopkins.

"No," he replied.

"We paid to be ignored by a carpet-bagging tool," sings Gay in reference to the study.

Hopkins says students will soon sing a new tune.

"Dr. Azziz is a blessing to this school," he said. "His vision, if allowed to proceed by this community, will transform what is going on here. This is going to be a tremendous health center."

The regents were in town for the GHSU Board of Directors meeting.

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