Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Waycross College Will Merge with South Georgia; Several Other Schools Are Merging Too, as State Tries to Cut Administrative Costs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Waycross College Will Merge with South Georgia; Several Other Schools Are Merging Too, as State Tries to Cut Administrative Costs

Article excerpt

Byline: Walter C. Jones

ATLANTA | The merger of Waycross College with South Georgia College and six other public colleges into three won unanimous approval Tuesday from the University System of Georgia's Board of Regents.

The move also combines Augusta State University with Georgia Health Sciences University, Gainesville State College with North Georgia College & State University and Macon State College with Middle Georgia College.

While dozens of Waycross supporters watched quietly in the meeting room and via closed-circuit television in a nearby room for the overflow crowd, the board heard a 30-minute presentation from two staffers and then voted without any discussion.

The Waycross contingent wore T-shirts with a large W and "Do your homework," a reference to allegations that the regents needed to delay the vote to allow for more analysis. Each regent had a shirt waiting for them on their chair when they arrived.

"We understand how difficult this decision is to some communities," said Ben Tarbutton, chairman of the regents.

The implementation is scheduled to be complete by 2013. University System officials say the goals are to expand opportunities for students and to increase efficiency within the system.

Waycross leaders say they fear that the merger is the first step toward closing the Waycross facility, creating a large economic loss for the community.

"It's on the quality of education. It's on the students," said Chancellor Hank Huckaby. "It's not on preserving the administrative structure. In the long run, if you benefit students, you'll benefit the community."

"We're not recommending closing any campus," said Steve Wrigley, assistant chancellor.

The Rev. Bishop Alton Carter, senior pastor of the Brunel Street Church of God in Waycross, said he expected the outcome. …

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