The fight over what to call the merger of two Augusta colleges isn't subsiding a month after state officials chose the name Georgia Regents University. A group of local businessmen plans to lobby Gov. Nathan Deal and University System officials to put the word "Augusta" back into the school's name.
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 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.
Students, faculty and alumni now know who will be implementing consolidation plans at Georgia public colleges. University system officials released the names of stake-holders who'll be serving on committees to turn eight institutions into four. But they haven't yet specified how much the consolidations could save.
Merging eight of Georgia's public colleges will likely involve layoffs, the elimination of some academic programs, and name changes at the long established institutions. And at least one campus president will lose his title once his campus merges with another college.
The state Board of Regents has approved the unprecedented merger of eight colleges to reduce costs, shrinking the university system from 35 to 31 institutions for the first time ever. University system Chancellor Hank Huckaby announced the move last week after visiting each campus to talk with administrators face-to-face.