SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - There were lots of mixed emotions on Armstrong State's campus Wednesday following the Georgia Board of Regent's decision to consolidate ASU and Georgia Southern University.
Some people are for it, some are against it, and some say they just don't have an opinion. This makes the state's eighth time, consolidating 16 schools, since the Board of Regents announced back in 2011 that they were planning to reduce the number of public schools in the state as a way to be more efficient with resources and to save money. Since 2011, we've gone from 35 public colleges and universities to 27 - including this one.
The Board of Regents follows a list of guiding principles when selecting schools to consolidate, and they stated at Wednesday's meeting in Atlanta that a study revealed enrollment numbers had declined at Armstrong while they had risen at Georgia Southern. For many folks in Savannah on campus, there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered.
"Does that mean I'm going to have to stay extra semesters? Am I going to have to retake classes; retake core? It's just not fair," said ASU student, James Shockley.
"It's kind of awkward because I'm coming in as a Pirate, but I'm going to be leaving as an Eagle," said ASU student, Alexis Irwin.
The process itself will take a while, so the consolidation isn't expected to take effect until Fall 2018. The new consolidated institution will be called Georgia Southern University. There will be campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, and Hinesville. Dr. Jaime Hebert will serve as the president.
A Consolidation Implementation Committee will be formed in a few weeks, which will be comprised of representatives from both schools.
"For me, as an engineering student, it gives me the opportunity to actually stay here instead of having to switch to another school," said ASU student, Tavion Bonner.
"I'm afraid once I'm gone, there's going to be no record; like Armstrong is wiped off the face of the earth and people will say, 'Armstrong, what?" said ASU student, Destiny Reed.
According to the facts that have been released on the consolidation websites for both schools, officials say the Armstrong name will continue to be honored and recognized on the new Georgia Southern campus. Also, students who are currently enrolled may have a choice when it comes to the institutional name on their diploma.
For more information on the Board of Regents consolidation process, click here.
For more information on the consolidation between Armstrong State and Georgia Southern, click here.