City leaders in Augusta will decide Tuesday whether to take sides in the controversy over the name chosen for a new college being formed by merging Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University.
Augusta residents upset at the name chosen for the city's new university are getting a chance to face the school's president. The president of the merged schools, Ricardo Azziz, (ah-ZEEZ) , has scheduled two forums Thursday to discuss the consolidation.
Augusta Chronicle publisher William S. Morris III resigned from an advisory board at Georgia Health Sciences University after the Board of Regents voted last Tuesday to call two combined Augusta schools Georgia Regents University.
The Georgia Board of Regents will consider the names for two merged universities and its budget request for next year at two days of meetings starting Tuesday. Gov. Nathan Deal has directed state agencies to plan for 3 percent reductions for next fiscal year and for the second half of the budget that began last month. That will include cuts at the 35 state colleges and universities.
The new merged Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University still doesn't have a name, but the presidents say a working group will submit a list of six possible names for public comment by the middle of the month. Meanwhile, Middle Georgia State College does have a new name and is looking for new school colors and a mascot.
State officials have put a deadline on merging eight public colleges into four. University system officials said Tuesday that the newly formed institutions will launch in January, a year after Chancellor Hank Huckaby announced the merger plan as a way to save money by reducing administrative costs across the state.