News 12 at 6 o' clock/ September 7, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga.--There were two forums today held for students and members of the community to answer your questions about the GHSU/ASU consolidation.
Dozens of people came to have their questions answered, but as you may guess, the number one question still: is the new name final?
"The decision is final. The regents have been very clear on 2 or 3 separate occasions--they voted, they considered it--it is final," Dr. Azziz tells a crowded auditorium of people.
Even though Dr. Azziz tried to steer the conversation away from the name, it was still the big talker at the forum.
One member of the community questioned the decision on the new name, saying, "The city of Augusta seems to think that you [Dr. Azziz] don't hold the community of Augusta in very high regard."
Dr. Azziz said he didn't not persuade the Board of Regents one way or the other. He said he was actually out of the country for two weeks before the final decision.
"Do we love the name--Georgia Regents University? Ladies and gentlemen, we don't know GRU yet, none of us has a history with it, memories about it, it's just a name," he said.
But a lot of students and members of the community seem to think it's more than just a name. Some have even gone as far as hosting rally's and writing songs.
In the forum, Dr. Azziz pointed out the Board of Regents removed city names from all 4 of the universities being consolidated across the state.
Brett Heimlich, a fourth year student at GHSU, said, "Ii think it's probably time for us to start accepting that our name is going to be different, and that we're a new institution."
Despite the name chaos, a lot of people seem to finally be coming around to the idea of making the 'New U' great.
"It's an open slate, it is what we make it. We have the ability to make an excellent research university and ultimately the name has very little to do with that," he said.
Another important issue discussed during the forum: low faculty morale.
One faculty member said, "The consolidation may be great, but it's killing us, I mean what we are being asked to do, and there's no compensation, and no real regard for those of us who have been here for years and years."
The state budget hasn't allowed a pay raise for GHSU faculty in four years.
Dr. Azziz and the interim President of ASU, Dr. Kenny will host forums monthly to continue the dialouge.