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Georgia Board of Regents - Reassess the Naming of Augusta's New University

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WHEREAS, since the June 15th announcement of six possible names for Augusta's new university, public discourse has suggested that most, if not all, of these names endanger the future reputation of the new institution, as well as those of both the merging institutions, and do not accurately represent our collective identity.

WHEREAS, these six names do not adequately fulfill the qualitative naming criteria previously introduced to the public, which included that the name "reflect statewide and national ambitions", and "reflect who we are...who we want to be...and what our role and influence will be".

WHEREAS, the opinion of the students, faculty, and the surrounding community who attend, work, and interact with the university on a daily basis should in democratic theory exceed the opinions of an unelected board, third-party consulting firm, or external experts.

WHEREAS, neither "Arsenal University" nor "Augusta Arsenal University" reflect the innovative and forward-thinking stature of a world-renown university.

WHEREAS, both "Arsenal University" and "Augusta Arsenal University" refer to an aspect of Augustan history largely unknown to the public outside of Augusta, Georgia.

WHEREAS, both "Noble University" and "Bartram University" refer to relatively obscure historical figures (Noble Jones and William Bartram) unknown to a significant percentage of the population, including a large majority of Augusta’s population.

WHEREAS, "Noble University" is derived from the first name of Noble Jones, which to the greater academic community will likely appear informal, unprofessional, and unorthodox.

WHEREAS, when considering the names proposed for the university, "Augusta University" and "University of Augusta" are the most reputable and acceptable options, but do not necessarily reflect the mission of being a national university and neglect the significance of the fact that the new university will host the vast majority of students across the entire state of Georgia studying within the medical field.

WHEREAS, "George Walton University" should be heavily considered as a naming option if choosing a namesake due to George Walton's significance to the state of Georgia, his signing of the Declaration of Independence, his residence near Augusta, his ties to the university as a trustee of the Academy of Richmond County, his death and burial in downtown Augusta, and the fact that the physical address of ASU and the new university reside on Walton Way.

WHEREAS, the argument that the word "Georgia" should not be included in the name of the university due to the abundance of other institution names that include “Georgia” is largely considered invalid and does not represent a university with statewide and national ambitions.

WHEREAS, in public preference voting for the name of the new university, no write-in option, "None of The Above" option, or additional comments section was included to allow the public to directly express honest opinions.

WHEREAS, names such as “George Walton University”, "Georgia University", “Georgia University of Arts and Sciences/Medicine”, and/or others along these lines, appear to have higher public opinion than the six names proposed and more accurately represent the new university as a whole.

WHEREAS, the option of retaining the name "Augusta State University" and incorporating Georgia Health Sciences University as "The Medical College of Georgia at Augusta State University" was immediately and publicly discounted, athough it is the most fiscally conservative option considering the ongoing financial crisis facing the University System of Georgia and most desirably retains the legacy of both merging institutions.

THEREFORE, we, the concerned citizens and community members of Augusta, Georgia, as well as the concerned students, faculty, and staff of Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University, petition the Georgia Board of Regents to reconsider the naming of Augusta's new university in hopes that the most appropriate name will be selected, and that the name represent a reputable and nationally respected institution and reflect the mission and ambition of our most unique and excellent university.

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