From the Editorial Board: About the Merger


On Jan. 11, the University System of Georgia announced that Georgia Southern University and Armstrong State University would consolidate into a singular institution, ending what would have been 83 years of the school’s history in the fall of 2018.

This announcement was met with a variety of emotions from students of both institutions. Many ASU students expressed extreme disdain for the University System of Georgia’s decision, while some GS students conveyed general excitement at the opportunities this merger may allot.

However, our reaction here at The George-Anne has been closer to the middle of the spectrum. Although many of us here on the editorial board can see the potential benefits of the consolidation, some have also indicated the possible issues we may face as a student body later on down the line.

There’s no denying the perks we here at Southern would be able to enjoy. With this merger we move up to the fourth largest university in Georgia in student population, and the first largest in terms of acreage. Our research opportunities could also expect a large benefit now that we will be able to utilize ASU’s resources as well. Our nursing program is now closer to Savannah where many of our students complete their practical training. Basically, GS stands a lot to gain from this consolidation.

There are however, many potential drawbacks we may have to face. Now that the universities are merging the fact of the matter is that some faculty and staff members may have to face the reality of losing their positions. Simply put, there’s no plausible reason we would have two vice presidents of business and finance, so it’s only natural that one of them would have to move on. This scenario would likely repeat for most duplicate positions for both universities. Not to mention the jeopardy student-athletes may face when it comes time to start dealing out scholarships.

The transition is set to take place over the course of 18 months, led by a committee of individuals from both campuses, and as the process is just beginning, there are plenty of questions that have yet to be answered, even addressed in some cases. It’s important to be patient and take into consideration that although we may not know much about the exact details now, the transition team was formed specifically to solve these problems in a fair and effective manner, so although it may take time to see these issues resolved, hopefully in 18 months we’ll have the answers to these questions and then some.

All that being said, the editorial board as a whole felt that most of our concerns spread from our uncertainty of the future. How will this merger affect academic standards for both schools? Are there going to be funding restraints? Logistically how will the university decide who attends Statesboro’s campus and who attends Savannah’s? There are a lot of potential ups and downs ahead and while we may not be sure of all the ramifications this consolidation may bring, one thing is for certain. It’s happening.