Students, alumni gather at ASU to protest 'New U's' new name

ASU protest

The protest at Augusta State University's campus. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 20, 2012)

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Monday was the first day of school at Augusta State, but it wasn't a quiet day on campus.

Hundreds of students and alumni showed up to protest the school's very unpopular new name.

Local radio personality Austin Rhodes organized the event.

"This name was established by dictatorial edict and it was one of the biggest con jobs pulled in Augusta history, and we're just not going to stand for it," he said.

Students, community members and alumni gathered to share their opinions. Even Commissioner Joe Bowles made an appearance at the event, stating the new name was a "slap in the face."

"We all agree this was an awful decision and we will not take it laying down," Rhodes said.

He encouraged the community to come express their anger over the Board of Regents' decision to name the newly-merged school Georgia Regents University.

Jerod Gay, an ASU student, says, "We're the second biggest city in Georgia, and I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be able to have our name reflected in the merger of the new school."

He channeled his frustrations about the new name into song.

Along with Gay, many are upset about the way the name was chosen.

They feel like their voices were not heard in the decision.

"The total lack of honesty, there is no way in the world that they can get away with trying to make people believe that there was a conversation about his name ... there was not," Rhodes said.

Courtney Bowen, a student at ASU, said, "Nobody wanted it, I mean he really didn't listen to anyone that went here and that's not fair to us because we have to have it on our diploma."

Despite the backlash, Dr. Azziz says the name is final, and the community needs to support the Board of Regents' decision.

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