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Emotions run high at latest ASU/GSU consolidation committee meeting

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GSU President Jaimie Hebert and CIC table organization and structure recommendations until May 24th meeting.(Credit:Robert Catanese)

On Wednesday, Georgia Southern University hosted the latest Consolidation Implementation Committee meeting.

The meeting was different than all previous meetings. After essentially moving through the Operational Working Groups recommendations, GSU President Jaimie Hebert opened the floor to discussion over the OWG’s consent agenda item regarding organization and structure of the new university.

The discussion made way for some contentious debate.

Leading that contention was Georgia Southern University professor Richard Flynn. Flynn voiced concern over the OWG not including the faculty when making structural recommendations.

“The point of contention is not among the faculty, it's between a committee that was composed between deans and administrators making this decision without consulting us,” said Flynn.

Recognizing that this was going to be a hot button issue, President Hebert acknowledged the concerns of faculty and staff.

“They [OWG] really felt that faculty would recognize that this was an appropriate compromise to move forward. That was clearly was not the case,” said Hebert.

The new organizational structure suggested there be nine colleges including, the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing, College of Arts and Humanities, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, the Don and Cindy Waters College of Health Professions, the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, College of Science and Mathematics and the J.N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies.

The opposing voices from both ASU and GSU professors came from their position that splitting the College of Arts and Humanities and the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences as suggested by the OWG would cause issues for both faculty and students.

Opposition voices said that this measure would administratively segregate professors.

After heated debate, President Hebert decided to table the recommendation and have it brought up at the next meeting.

Hebert told FOX 28 his goal for doing this was to allow everyone concerned to have an opportunity to feel they had contributed to the structural recommendation.

“I do have hope that we can come to consensus without having to have a hard and fast vote. We will have an academic structure after we leave the next meeting, we have to,” said Hebert.

The next CIC meeting is scheduled for May 24 at the Armstrong Campus.

“We will come up with a faculty led recommendation. We will take that recommendation and the recommendation from the OWG. We will determine whether or not we can get to a compromising position between those two or whether we have to go to a vote on one or the other,” said Hebert.