Students speak up at 'New U' forum

By: Carter Coyle Email
By: Carter Coyle Email

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, June 6, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There was more talk at Wednesday's forum on the "New U" as Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities prepare to become one, consolidated university.

Leaders say the physical details of consolidation haven't been hammered out yet. In theory, however, the schools are already starting to understand themselves as "one."

Dr. Ricardo Azziz answered students' concerns about GHSU overpowering the culture of Augusta State.

"It's going to be a great institution. It's not going to be GHSU overshadowing anything. It's going be 'us,'" Azziz said.

Both he and ASU President Bill Bloodworth insist that unity will help create one identity for the "New U."

"What this institution will bring to the new university is strength in the culture of students, student engagement and student activities," Bloodworth said.

Student involvement is the number one concern of Isis Nezbeth. She's an orientation leader for new students at ASU and raised questions at the forum about what exactly to tell those students.

"I feel like it's going to serve as confusing to some of the new incoming students here as well as the students already here. As far as what our new name is going to be and becoming one university," she said.

Nezbeth had the choice of graduating in December with the last ASU class or waiting until next year to graduate with the first class of the "New U."

"I decided to stay until spring just because I wanted to make sure before I leave that things are still as I remember them to be and want to continue on for the rest of the students coming here," she said.

Some departments will be shifted around between the two campuses.

"Should we go ahead and start gathering up boxes and packing for July 1st?" asked one concerned faculty member jokingly.

Dr. Azziz says for now, the only scheduled move is for ASU nursing students in December, who will move their studies to the GHSU campus.

"It's going cause a lot of students to say, 'I want to come to ASU.' Not, I'm gonna go to the 'New U' just because my parents live here, or I'm gonna go here and then transfer to UGA. Becoming one of those larger research institutions is a very, very big thing. I'm very excited about it," Nezbeth said.

Nursing is the only major program that both universities have, so that is the first program that will merge. Recently the ASU students were able to tour the facilities at GHSU, where they'll move in this December.

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