ASU students, alumni continue protest against possible merger with GSU

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The possible merger between Georgia Southern University and Armstrong State University has left many Armstrong students and alumni upset as they face the possibility of losing their identity.

Armstrong has a historic past in Savannah, dating back to its inception in 1935. Generations of locals and others have attended the public university to receive a higher level of education.

"I go here, my brother goes here, my parents went here, my grandfather went here. I mean, obviously you know when it used to be in downtown," said freshman, McKenna Cummings.

Nevertheless, after the University System of Georgia announced last week that the Board of Regents would hold a vote deciding on the merger between GSU and ASU, students and alumni alike decided to break with tradition and assemble in protest.

Students are protesting for a number of reasons. They're concerned that this could mean hikes in tuition, or even the possibility of having to commute between Statesboro and Savannah, as well as what this could mean for athletic departments.

One student is simply upset with the way he found out about the merger.

"No one knew about it until the very last minute. Most of us found out about through Facebook, not even on emails or anything, that's how it got around," said freshman Drew Motes.

However, to some Armstrong Alumni, this mistreatment comes as no surprise.

"Savannah, it's your loss. You have never supported us like you should have, and if you had, maybe this wouldn't have happened," said B.J. Ford, Armstrong alumni of 1976.

One student is simply disappointed with the board's lack of interest in speaking about the matter.

"The discussion is the most important thing. If they're for it, that's perfectly fine, but to disregard everyone's opinion about it, it's not great, it's not good, it does not make sense at all," said Jesus Miguel Dealba, ASU student.

One student says she is really concerned about the potential difference in tuition costs between the two universities.

"I pay for school out of pocket, I'm totally on my own, my parents don't help me. I either have to get scholarships or take out loans, and I cannot afford to go to Southern. It's about a 3-thousand dollar difference per semester just base tuition and fees, compared to Armstrong as it is to Southern," said Mikala Williams, ASU sophomore.

The Board of Regents is expected to take a vote in Atlanta on Wednesday, which also includes a proposed consolidation between Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) and Bainbridge College.

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