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Govathon II: Civic hackers come back to City Hall for more techno troubleshooting

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  • David Schick
  • Computer programmers at City Hall's second Govathon work on high-tech solutions for Atlanta's age-old problems.



For 24 hours this weekend, an army of programmers, designers, and students took over City Hall for the second time in nine months for Govathon. The 24-hour City Hall-sponsored hackathon brings together Atlanta's tech-savvy set and tasks them with finding modern solutions to the city's woes.

Representatives from City Hall, Atlanta Public Schools, and the Atlanta Police Department teamed up with Start Up Atlanta to challenge code monkeys, computer programmers and app-developers to find ways to make the city's mounds of data more accessible and helpful to citizens and bureaucrats.

About 100 digital gurus packed the Atlanta City Council's old chambers for round two of modernizing the government. Late on Friday night, city officials presented their wishlist to the attendees - they included a pension benefits calculator, a text-message system to remind residents about trash pickups, GPS tracking for your child's school bus, and a crime prediction app. The participants then split into teams and, fueled by Chick-fil-A, Doritos, Cheetos, sodas and plenty of sweets, shared ideas.

Working on presenting the city of Atlanta's finances in a more user-friendly way for #govathon. Finally figured out how prop taxes work.
- Conor Sen (@conorsen) November 16, 2013


#govathon is also one more piece of evidence of Atlanta's insane housing policy.
- Will Stamped (@willstamped) November 16, 2013


After working together throughout the night, 22 teams of sleep-deprived techies then had three minutes each to present their ideas to a panel of judges. The panel chose three top winners and several honorable mentions.

The winners and more pictures after the jump...

? ? ?
1st place - Atlanta Budget Explorer, website that turns the city budget into a query tool and game.
Team members: Jon Keltz, Robert Crocker, Conor Sen, Jarod Apperson, Bob Nguyen, Khia Jackson

2nd place - Municiplanner, website that provides information (where to go and how to get there) on civic-focused events.
Team members: Matt Drake, Alex Oxford, Carson Britt

3rd place - VisAtlanta, an interactive map populated by census data.
Team members: Stan Li, Qian Xie, Fengbo Li, Zhengyang Shen, Shan Li

Honorable mentions included:
"Atlanta just go ahead and implement this" prize
Find My City Council Member, type in your address and find out who represents you.
311 SMS, a text-based system for city customer service questions.

"Great potential" prize
Mobile DL, a mobile app for your driver's license
Airport Parking Spot Tracker, an app for helping you identify available parking spaces at Hartsfield Jackson.

The all-night event is more than just a feelgood exercise. The team that won second place at the last Govathon created a program to help residents and visitors find an Atlanta park by location and specific amenity. Today, Park Find is a fully active website where you can search the city's 352 greenspaces and filter for picnic tables, tennis courts, dog parks and many other services.

"There's more and more momentum behind Govathon, but the city wants to take time to finish and make public apps as quickly as possible," said Terry Allen, one of Govathon's co-founders.

The first and third place teams from the inaugural event - a police blotter app and pay-by-phone parking app - are still around, but might require a little more bureaucracy than just building a website.

"Sometimes it's not about finishing and completing," said Allen. "Sometimes it's about just showing the world what could be."

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More By This Writer

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The law firm ABI uses, Schwimmer notes, is one of the “largest” and “most active” for trademark filings.Fream says she doesn’t know what she will do. “I’d kind of feel like I’d be lying if I called it something else because all of my interviews take place out there or alongside the Beltline. It’s literally the purpose of my blog.” But the warning has not stopped her from posting.Whisenhunt would settle for ABI adopting a “comprehensive and consistent policy” for enforcing its trademark. He said ABI is “using a machete when they need a scalpel.” Whisenhunt says he understands why officials would come after him, or other businesses, but not people starting Facebook groups as a hobby.“Jessie is just a private citizen. 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        David Schick is known troublemaker who occasionally contributes to CL. He has taken a sabbatical from holding down a real job to relentlessly troll government entities who he thinks “need to be knocked down a peg or two.” He lives in a Volklswagen Van and has way too much time on his hands."
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[https://medium.com/@tavani/why-i-changed-the-name-of-my-company-only-a-week-after-we-launched-ab6801dd6c30|In a blog post], Tavani said he was “shocked, disappointed, and somewhat amused.” Tavani could have mounted a “winnable legal case” against the tax-payer funded group, he wrote, “but that just feels ridiculous to even go there.”ABI also bullied [http://www.atlantaloop.com/|Dan Whisenhunt], a journalist friend of mine, to give up his domain names he registered — beltlinenews.com, thebeltlinenews.com, and datelinebeltline.com — to cover news associated with the Beltline.It’s one thing for businesses to [http://georgiaiplit.blogspot.com/2013/01/battle-for-Beltline-atlanta-Beltline.html|cyber-squat] on URL names — according to Whisenhunt, ABI has sent letters regarding roughly 70 domains that have a variation of the Beltline name. It’s OK for ABI to properly police its trademark — something that could be accomplished with cheap and affordable licenses to the public. 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But attempting to identify with the community you’re in business with doesn’t appear to be such a bad thing.ABI also said the group had concerns about not being able to control the information on Fream’s Facebook group. But ABI can’t really control the flow of “Beltline” information. It’s a public institution and open to public scrutiny.In an email, ABI President and CEO Paul Morris said the organization is concerned with “ensuring consistent, favorable, and professional use of the ABI marks,” adding that third parties using its trademarked name could impede ABI’s own use. ABI justifies its overzealous trademark policing by claiming to want to protect “the public from deception or confusion.”But it’s a stretch to think the public will automatically assume that a bike shop located along the Beltline, previously named Beltline Bikes (now known as Atlanta Bicycle Barn), is owned and operated by the same people who run the sidewalk. 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Tuesday October 18, 2016 08:05 pm EDT
Project officials get aggressive with $350,000 spent in legal fees | more...
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  string(6831) "image-1When you’re watching the traditional fireworks display and toasting a champagne flute this New Year’s Eve, know that somewhere else in metro Atlanta, people are dancing under a bonfire mounted upside down on a ceiling.
?  
?  Think Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, just with six domes and fire flowing out of the top of each one. Add a DJ booth, some programmed lights, plus almost a thousand pounds of propane, and you have Incendia. The traveling event venue started in Athens, Ga., and consists of five 20-foot domes strategically placed around a 50-foot dome made of aluminum rods, supplying partygoers with all the sound, sights and heat they expect on the last night of the year.
?   
?  CL sat down with Cory Glenn, the founder of Incendia, to talk about his upcoming NYE event “Fire in the Sky” in Conley, Ga., on the outskirts of Atlanta and the inspiration behind his mobile-party venue.
?  
?  How did you come up with the idea for Incendia, and how long did it take to go from concept to completion?
?  
? We built the effigy for Alchemy a couple of years ago and, through working on that project, we discovered this phenomenon of fire aversion — where fire is trapped beneath an object and prevents it from rising. When it prevents it from rising, it tends to create a really cool, slow motion rolling effect. We found, later on in experimentation, that it also casts a lot of heat and light downwards when you do it in a controlled fashion with propane. We transformed the effect from an uncontrollable wood burning fire trapped beneath a ceiling to a captive propane flame trapped beneath a steel ceiling. And it was reproducible. We could dial it in, manipulate it a little bit better and set it up in an mobile application when we mounted the ceiling.
? 
?  ?jump??   
? About two years ago, when I was devising this step up in scale from this small prototype to the big installation you see now, I spent a month or two in Morocco over the winter time. I was very awe struck by their architecture and all their interior-design elements. The deco and all of their ornate lighting effects — everything about that culture I really loved — played a significant impact in a lot of the aesthetic elements that Incendia has now adopted.
?  
? I spent the whole flight home drawing different iterations of the logo you see now. Even the star logo is derived from Moroccan culture because their flag features a five-pointed star. Everything from the lanterns to the color schemes, and the logo aesthetics are all derived from Arabic culture and, particularly, Moroccan.
?  
?  How do the pyrotechnics work?
?  
? Pyrotechnics generally implies the use of solid fuels, like fireworks. What we do is working strictly with propane, so it's not technically pyrotechnics. It would really be considered flame effects. There's a very distinct difference when you get into regulatory situations, permitting, and insurance.
?  
? But if you ever watch a fire and notice how it is always rising because hot air is less dense than cool air, it always wants to shoot upwards. If you can obstruct that path upwards and contain that upward draft beneath a non-combustible surface, you're able to slow that draft and create an undulating, slow-rolling flame that travels outward instead of upward. There are a lot of finer details in tweaking it, but that's basically how it works.
?  
? The most complicating factor in what we do is trying to use as much propane as we do. We use propane very rapidly. Whenever you're cooking steaks on a grill, you don't encounter the same challenges we do with our propane tanks freezing, and trying to distribute gas in an even and controlled manner. There's a lot of mechanics behind the curtain.
?  
?  Is it hard to get operating permits in Georgia and other states?
?  
? Insurance and safety management are significant costs of our overhead. It's a very essential aspect of what we do. We don't spare any expense ensuring that what we do is as safe as possible for everybody involved. Maintaining a high level of safety is not only good for us as a business, it's good for the industry as a whole.
?  
? Some places are easier to operate in than others. Location, location, location — it really depends where you are. Luckily, in the Atlanta area and the state of Georgia, authorities are relatively permissive.
?  
? The most difficult places to set up are in downtown areas. Higher population density areas are always the most difficult. New York City would be the Fort Knox of doing any sort of fire performance. We've operated within the state of New York, but not within the five boroughs yet.
?  
?  What does it take to set up and how much propane does Incendia use?
?  
? When we set up our full system, it can be up to 7,000 to 8,000 individual pieces including: bolts, nuts, washers, pipes, fire ceilings, propane systems. Just the domes themselves weigh about two tons. There's over a mile of aluminum tubing to create the full system and it takes about two days to set up with a crew of about five to 10 people.
? 
? People may assume what we do leaves a very high carbon footprint, however, for us to run our full system for an entire night creates about as much carbon dioxide as one person's seat on a flight across the Atlantic. Your standard grill tank is 20 pounds. One of our small domes, to run a whole night, will take about five of those. And our full system will burn about five grill tanks an hour.
?  
?  Why should people come out to Fire in the Sky? 
? 
? Since starting the company, we've expanded into other avenues of production. We're now adding in elements of audio and video stimulation. It's a whole experience now. It's not just the fire. We program lights to do things specific to being mounted in a dome. When you come out to be with Incendia, it's a complete sensory experience. You're going to encounter an atmosphere like nothing you've ever seen before. You will experience fire like you've never seen it. While our domes may be outside, and it may be the dead of winter, we guarantee you won't be cold.
?  
?  What’s next for Incendia?
?  
? We're still busy paying off start-up debt, but in the future it's my hope that Incendia can contribute to green-energy initiatives. I'd like us as a society to reduce the use of, and preserve what's left of, our fossil fuel resources for applications where there really is no viable alternative, like Incendia. We're also working steadily to target the corporate market. We want to do more high-end private events. We love doing festivals, but we feel like Incendia should be for everyone. There are plenty of high-end cars that would look great under our fire. I won't be happy until everyone experiences it at least once.
?  
? This Q&A has been condensed and edited for clarity.
? 
"
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  string(6959) "[image-1]When you’re watching the traditional fireworks display and toasting a champagne flute this New Year’s Eve, know that somewhere else in metro Atlanta, people are dancing under a bonfire mounted upside down on a ceiling.
?  
?  Think ''Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome'', just with six domes and fire flowing out of the top of each one. Add a DJ booth, some programmed lights, plus almost a thousand pounds of propane, and you have [http://www.experienceincendia.com|Incendia]. The traveling event venue started in Athens, Ga., and consists of five 20-foot domes strategically placed around a 50-foot dome made of aluminum rods, supplying partygoers with all the sound, sights and heat they expect on the last night of the year.
?   
?  ''CL'' sat down with Cory Glenn, the founder of Incendia, to talk about his upcoming NYE event “[https://www.facebook.com/events/1489475561358377/|Fire in the Sky]” in Conley, Ga., on the outskirts of Atlanta and the inspiration behind his mobile-party venue.
?  
?  __How did you come up with the idea for Incendia, and how long did it take to go from concept to completion?__
?  
? We built the effigy for Alchemy a couple of years ago and, through working on that project, we discovered this phenomenon of fire aversion — where fire is trapped beneath an object and prevents it from rising. When it prevents it from rising, it tends to create a really cool, slow motion rolling effect. We found, later on in experimentation, that it also casts a lot of heat and light downwards when you do it in a controlled fashion with propane. We transformed the effect from an uncontrollable wood burning fire trapped beneath a ceiling to a captive propane flame trapped beneath a steel ceiling. And it was reproducible. We could dial it in, manipulate it a little bit better and set it up in an mobile application when we mounted the ceiling.
? 
?  ?[jump]??   
? About two years ago, when I was devising this step up in scale from this small prototype to the big installation you see now, I spent a month or two in Morocco over the winter time. I was very awe struck by their architecture and all their interior-design elements. The deco and all of their ornate lighting effects — everything about that culture I really loved — played a significant impact in a lot of the aesthetic elements that Incendia has now adopted.
?  
? I spent the whole flight home drawing different iterations of the logo you see now. Even the star logo is derived from Moroccan culture because their flag features a five-pointed star. Everything from the lanterns to the color schemes, and the logo aesthetics are all derived from Arabic culture and, particularly, Moroccan.
?  
?  __How do the pyrotechnics work?__
?  
? Pyrotechnics generally implies the use of solid fuels, like fireworks. What we do is working strictly with propane, so it's not technically pyrotechnics. It would really be considered flame effects. There's a very distinct difference when you get into regulatory situations, permitting, and insurance.
?  
? But if you ever watch a fire and notice how it is always rising because hot air is less dense than cool air, it always wants to shoot upwards. If you can obstruct that path upwards and contain that upward draft beneath a non-combustible surface, you're able to slow that draft and create an undulating, slow-rolling flame that travels outward instead of upward. There are a lot of finer details in tweaking it, but that's basically how it works.
?  
? The most complicating factor in what we do is trying to use as much propane as we do. We use propane very rapidly. Whenever you're cooking steaks on a grill, you don't encounter the same challenges we do with our propane tanks freezing, and trying to distribute gas in an even and controlled manner. There's a lot of mechanics behind the curtain.
?  
?  __Is it hard to get operating permits in Georgia and other states?__
?  
? Insurance and safety management are significant costs of our overhead. It's a very essential aspect of what we do. We don't spare any expense ensuring that what we do is as safe as possible for everybody involved. Maintaining a high level of safety is not only good for us as a business, it's good for the industry as a whole.
?  
? Some places are easier to operate in than others. Location, location, location — it really depends where you are. Luckily, in the Atlanta area and the state of Georgia, authorities are relatively permissive.
?  
? The most difficult places to set up are in downtown areas. [H]igher population density areas are always the most difficult. New York City would be the Fort Knox of doing any sort of fire performance. We've operated within the state of New York, but not within the five boroughs yet.
?  
?  __What does it take to set up and how much propane does Incendia use?__
?  
? When we set up our full system, it can be up to 7,000 to 8,000 individual pieces including: bolts, nuts, washers, pipes, fire ceilings, propane systems. Just the domes themselves weigh about two tons. There's over a mile of aluminum tubing to create the full system and it takes about two days to set up with a crew of about five to 10 people.
? 
? People may assume what we do leaves a very high carbon footprint, however, for us to run our full system for an entire night creates about as much [carbon dioxide] as one person's seat on a flight across the Atlantic. Your standard grill tank is 20 pounds. One of our small domes, to run a whole night, will take about five of those. And our full system will burn about five grill tanks an hour.
?  
?  __Why should people come out to Fire in the Sky?__ 
? 
? Since starting the company, we've expanded into other avenues of production. We're now adding in elements of audio and video stimulation. It's a whole experience now. It's not just the fire. We program lights to do things specific to being mounted in a dome. When you come out to be with Incendia, it's a complete sensory experience. You're going to encounter an atmosphere like nothing you've ever seen before. You will experience fire like you've never seen it. While our domes may be outside, and it may be the dead of winter, we guarantee you won't be cold.
?  
?  __What’s next for Incendia?__
?  
? We're still busy paying off start-up debt, but in the future it's my hope that Incendia can contribute to green-energy initiatives. I'd like us as a society to reduce the use of, and preserve what's left of, our fossil fuel resources for applications where there really is no viable alternative, like Incendia. We're also working steadily to target the corporate market. We want to do more high-end private events. We love doing festivals, but we feel like Incendia should be for everyone. There are plenty of high-end cars that would look great under our fire. I won't be happy until everyone experiences it at least once.
?  
? ''This Q&A has been condensed and edited for clarity.''
? 
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  string(7090) "       2015-12-31T17:12:00+00:00 Behold! Incendia, a fire-spitting dome and music experience   David Schick 7344241 2015-12-31T17:12:00+00:00  image-1When you’re watching the traditional fireworks display and toasting a champagne flute this New Year’s Eve, know that somewhere else in metro Atlanta, people are dancing under a bonfire mounted upside down on a ceiling.
?  
?  Think Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, just with six domes and fire flowing out of the top of each one. Add a DJ booth, some programmed lights, plus almost a thousand pounds of propane, and you have Incendia. The traveling event venue started in Athens, Ga., and consists of five 20-foot domes strategically placed around a 50-foot dome made of aluminum rods, supplying partygoers with all the sound, sights and heat they expect on the last night of the year.
?   
?  CL sat down with Cory Glenn, the founder of Incendia, to talk about his upcoming NYE event “Fire in the Sky” in Conley, Ga., on the outskirts of Atlanta and the inspiration behind his mobile-party venue.
?  
?  How did you come up with the idea for Incendia, and how long did it take to go from concept to completion?
?  
? We built the effigy for Alchemy a couple of years ago and, through working on that project, we discovered this phenomenon of fire aversion — where fire is trapped beneath an object and prevents it from rising. When it prevents it from rising, it tends to create a really cool, slow motion rolling effect. We found, later on in experimentation, that it also casts a lot of heat and light downwards when you do it in a controlled fashion with propane. We transformed the effect from an uncontrollable wood burning fire trapped beneath a ceiling to a captive propane flame trapped beneath a steel ceiling. And it was reproducible. We could dial it in, manipulate it a little bit better and set it up in an mobile application when we mounted the ceiling.
? 
?  ?jump??   
? About two years ago, when I was devising this step up in scale from this small prototype to the big installation you see now, I spent a month or two in Morocco over the winter time. I was very awe struck by their architecture and all their interior-design elements. The deco and all of their ornate lighting effects — everything about that culture I really loved — played a significant impact in a lot of the aesthetic elements that Incendia has now adopted.
?  
? I spent the whole flight home drawing different iterations of the logo you see now. Even the star logo is derived from Moroccan culture because their flag features a five-pointed star. Everything from the lanterns to the color schemes, and the logo aesthetics are all derived from Arabic culture and, particularly, Moroccan.
?  
?  How do the pyrotechnics work?
?  
? Pyrotechnics generally implies the use of solid fuels, like fireworks. What we do is working strictly with propane, so it's not technically pyrotechnics. It would really be considered flame effects. There's a very distinct difference when you get into regulatory situations, permitting, and insurance.
?  
? But if you ever watch a fire and notice how it is always rising because hot air is less dense than cool air, it always wants to shoot upwards. If you can obstruct that path upwards and contain that upward draft beneath a non-combustible surface, you're able to slow that draft and create an undulating, slow-rolling flame that travels outward instead of upward. There are a lot of finer details in tweaking it, but that's basically how it works.
?  
? The most complicating factor in what we do is trying to use as much propane as we do. We use propane very rapidly. Whenever you're cooking steaks on a grill, you don't encounter the same challenges we do with our propane tanks freezing, and trying to distribute gas in an even and controlled manner. There's a lot of mechanics behind the curtain.
?  
?  Is it hard to get operating permits in Georgia and other states?
?  
? Insurance and safety management are significant costs of our overhead. It's a very essential aspect of what we do. We don't spare any expense ensuring that what we do is as safe as possible for everybody involved. Maintaining a high level of safety is not only good for us as a business, it's good for the industry as a whole.
?  
? Some places are easier to operate in than others. Location, location, location — it really depends where you are. Luckily, in the Atlanta area and the state of Georgia, authorities are relatively permissive.
?  
? The most difficult places to set up are in downtown areas. Higher population density areas are always the most difficult. New York City would be the Fort Knox of doing any sort of fire performance. We've operated within the state of New York, but not within the five boroughs yet.
?  
?  What does it take to set up and how much propane does Incendia use?
?  
? When we set up our full system, it can be up to 7,000 to 8,000 individual pieces including: bolts, nuts, washers, pipes, fire ceilings, propane systems. Just the domes themselves weigh about two tons. There's over a mile of aluminum tubing to create the full system and it takes about two days to set up with a crew of about five to 10 people.
? 
? People may assume what we do leaves a very high carbon footprint, however, for us to run our full system for an entire night creates about as much carbon dioxide as one person's seat on a flight across the Atlantic. Your standard grill tank is 20 pounds. One of our small domes, to run a whole night, will take about five of those. And our full system will burn about five grill tanks an hour.
?  
?  Why should people come out to Fire in the Sky? 
? 
? Since starting the company, we've expanded into other avenues of production. We're now adding in elements of audio and video stimulation. It's a whole experience now. It's not just the fire. We program lights to do things specific to being mounted in a dome. When you come out to be with Incendia, it's a complete sensory experience. You're going to encounter an atmosphere like nothing you've ever seen before. You will experience fire like you've never seen it. While our domes may be outside, and it may be the dead of winter, we guarantee you won't be cold.
?  
?  What’s next for Incendia?
?  
? We're still busy paying off start-up debt, but in the future it's my hope that Incendia can contribute to green-energy initiatives. I'd like us as a society to reduce the use of, and preserve what's left of, our fossil fuel resources for applications where there really is no viable alternative, like Incendia. We're also working steadily to target the corporate market. We want to do more high-end private events. We love doing festivals, but we feel like Incendia should be for everyone. There are plenty of high-end cars that would look great under our fire. I won't be happy until everyone experiences it at least once.
?  
? This Q&A has been condensed and edited for clarity.
? 
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Article

Thursday December 31, 2015 12:12 pm EST

image-1When you’re watching the traditional fireworks display and toasting a champagne flute this New Year’s Eve, know that somewhere else in metro Atlanta, people are dancing under a bonfire mounted upside down on a ceiling.
?
? Think Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, just with six domes and fire flowing out of the top of each one. Add a DJ booth, some programmed lights, plus almost a thousand...

| more...
array(80) {
  ["title"]=>
  string(21) "The GPC-GSU conundrum"
  ["modification_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-06-16T01:50:07+00:00"
  ["creation_date"]=>
  string(25) "2017-12-25T18:04:26+00:00"
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  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(29) "ben.eason@creativeloafing.com"
  }
  ["date"]=>
  string(25) "2015-01-14T09:00:00+00:00"
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  string(21) "The GPC-GSU conundrum"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline"]=>
  string(12) "David Schick"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline_exact"]=>
  string(12) "David Schick"
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  ["tracker_field_description"]=>
  string(57) "The many unanswered questions of an out-of-nowhere merger"
  ["tracker_field_description_raw"]=>
  string(57) "The many unanswered questions of an out-of-nowhere merger"
  ["tracker_field_contentDate"]=>
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  string(31) "Content:_:The GPC-GSU conundrum"
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  string(4664) "When Troi Charity first applied to Agnes Scott College, her application was declined. So she turned to Georgia Perimeter College, a two-year college with five campuses around the metro region. That launched her to Georgia State University.

"I believe GPC was very important for me to figure out what I wanted to do career-wise after switching my major," Charity says. "It helped me adjust to college life after graduating high school and made the transition to Georgia State easier. I did better my first semester at Georgia State because of GPC."

Georgia students might lose that as an option under a new proposal to merge GPC with GSU. The Board of Regents last week approved the proposal, putting the Downtown research behemoth on the path to become the largest public higher education institution overseen by the University System of Georgia.

Some within the GSU community have applauded the move, arguing that it adds clout and could add more students to the ever-expanding university. Others have expressed concern over whether the school is prepared. What's been less discussed is the future of GPC's campuses — and more importantly, its students and the role it plays for others seeking higher education.

For the past few decades, the 51-year-old GPC has attracted many students because it's accessible and affordable. (Full disclosure: I attended GPC — where I served as editor of the student newspaper and quarreled with school leadership and the USG over Open Records, leading to a lawsuit — and GSU.)

For years, GPC has offered many minority, non-traditional, military veteran, and even undocumented students the opportunity to get a toehold in higher education. In the fall of 2014, GPC's reported enrollment consisted of 42 percent African-American students, the highest percentage within the university system. GPC has several programs in place to assist low-income and educationally disadvantaged students.

"GPC is a stepping stone to other colleges such as Georgia State," says Charity.

GSU says the GPC campuses will "continue to admit students into its associate's and certificate programs by standards consistent with the college's access mission." But the missions of these two institutions are different. GSU has evolved from a commuter school into a research university that is climbing the national college rankings. GPC is focused on getting students enrolled in school and prepared for major coursework in other colleges and universities. GSU's per credit hour cost is three times more than GPC's.

GPC is known to cater to students who are in need of "learning support" classes, which help bring students up to speed on topics they struggle with — and it's uncertain if a research university, such as GSU, would continue that work. Anthony Tricoli, a former GPC president who resigned over a $25 million budget deficit, questions how those two cultures can blend.

"Asking these two institutions to 'merge' ... could either result in a watered down mission for Georgia State, or a mission for GPC that simply doesn't support about 70% of the incoming student population it enrolls," he wrote in an online response to what he said were reporters' questions. "Without a focus on access, this merger will result in a loss of students attending this merged institution."

There are other issues as well, some of which GSU officials still haven't solved, including the geography students might have to navigate under the new system. Mike Eden, a graduate of GSU who also transferred from GPC, wonders how some students would be able to access classes, some of which are only taught at specific campuses.

"Would GSU's buses go out to the old GPC campuses? I doubt it," he says. "Having five campuses, and then downtown Georgia State, I don't know. It just seems — it's massive — and I feel like a lot of students could get displaced."

The GSU-GPC merger is the latest consolidation proposed by the USG in recent years. During his reign, Chancellor Hank Huckaby has reduced the number of USG's institutions from 35 to 29. Last year, some students and faculty protested the merger of Southern Polytechnic State University and Kennesaw State University.

Each time, USG has made the announcements with little to no notice and zero public input or collaboration. It claims that such consolidations and mergers such as what's been proposed for GSU and GPC save cash. Yet it has not provided any projections about how much will be saved or, with past mergers, shown proof of how much money was saved.

The Board of Regents must still approve the GSU-GPC consolidation plan, which is expected to come together over the next year."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(5244) "When Troi Charity first applied to Agnes Scott College, her application was declined. So she turned to Georgia Perimeter College, a two-year college with five campuses around the metro region. That launched her to Georgia State University.

"I believe GPC was very important for me to figure out what I wanted to do career-wise after switching my major," Charity says. "It helped me adjust to college life after graduating high school and made the transition to Georgia State easier. I did better my first semester at Georgia State because of GPC."

Georgia students might lose that as an option under a new [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2015/01/06/surprise-georgia-state-georgia-perimeter-to-merge|proposal] to merge GPC with GSU. The Board of Regents last week approved the proposal, putting the Downtown research behemoth on the path to become the largest public higher education institution overseen by the University System of Georgia.

Some within the GSU community have applauded the move, arguing that it adds clout and could add more students to the ever-expanding university. Others have expressed concern over whether the school is prepared. What's been less discussed is the future of GPC's campuses — and more importantly, its students and the role it plays for others seeking higher education.

For the past few decades, the 51-year-old GPC has attracted many students because it's accessible and affordable. (Full disclosure: I attended GPC — where I served as editor of the student newspaper and quarreled with school leadership and the USG over Open Records, leading to a lawsuit — and GSU.)

For years, GPC has offered many minority, non-traditional, military veteran, and even undocumented students the opportunity to get a toehold in higher education. In the fall of 2014, GPC's [http://www.usg.edu/research/documents/enrollment_reports/SER_Fall2014.pdf|reported enrollment] consisted of 42 percent African-American students, the highest percentage within the university system. GPC has several programs in place to assist low-income and educationally disadvantaged students.

"GPC is a stepping stone to other colleges such as Georgia State," says Charity.

GSU says the GPC campuses will "continue to admit students into its associate's and certificate programs by standards consistent with [the college's] access mission." But the missions of these two institutions are different. GSU has evolved from a commuter school into a research university that is climbing the national college rankings. GPC is focused on getting students enrolled in school and prepared for major coursework in other colleges and universities. [http://sfs.gsu.edu/files/2012/11/FY15-Undergrad1.pdf|GSU's per credit hour cost] is three times more than [http://depts.gpc.edu/~gpcsacct/resources/tuition_and_fees.html|GPC's].

GPC is known to cater to students who are in need of "learning support" classes, which help bring students up to speed on topics they struggle with — and it's uncertain if a research university, such as GSU, would continue that work. Anthony Tricoli, a former GPC president who resigned over a $25 million budget deficit, questions how those two cultures can blend.

"Asking these two institutions to 'merge' ... could either result in a watered down mission for Georgia State, or a mission for GPC that simply doesn't support about 70% of the incoming student population it enrolls," he wrote in an online response to what he said were reporters' questions. "Without a focus on access, this merger will result in a loss of students attending this merged institution."

There are other issues as well, some of which GSU officials still haven't solved, including the geography students might have to navigate under the new system. Mike Eden, a graduate of GSU who also transferred from GPC, wonders how some students would be able to access classes, some of which are only taught at specific campuses.

"Would GSU's buses go out to the old GPC campuses? I doubt it," he says. "Having five campuses, and then downtown Georgia State, I don't know. It just seems — it's massive — and I feel like a lot of students could get displaced."

The GSU-GPC merger is the latest consolidation proposed by the USG in recent years. During his reign, Chancellor Hank Huckaby has reduced the number of USG's institutions from 35 to 29. Last year, some [http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:kUv7j-qS6_cJ:www.ajc.com/weblogs/get-schooled/2013/nov/08/why-outhern-polytechnic-state-university-should-no/ &cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us|students and faculty protested] the merger of Southern Polytechnic State University and Kennesaw State University.

Each time, USG has made the announcements with little to no notice and zero public input or collaboration. It claims that such consolidations and mergers such as what's been proposed for GSU and GPC save cash. Yet it has not provided any projections about how much will be saved or, [http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/regents-give-final-ok-to-merge-georgia-colleges/nTqH4/|with past mergers], shown proof of how much money was saved.

The Board of Regents must still approve the GSU-GPC consolidation plan, which is expected to come together over the next year."
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  string(4904) "    The many unanswered questions of an out-of-nowhere merger   2015-01-14T09:00:00+00:00 The GPC-GSU conundrum   David Schick 7344241 2015-01-14T09:00:00+00:00  When Troi Charity first applied to Agnes Scott College, her application was declined. So she turned to Georgia Perimeter College, a two-year college with five campuses around the metro region. That launched her to Georgia State University.

"I believe GPC was very important for me to figure out what I wanted to do career-wise after switching my major," Charity says. "It helped me adjust to college life after graduating high school and made the transition to Georgia State easier. I did better my first semester at Georgia State because of GPC."

Georgia students might lose that as an option under a new proposal to merge GPC with GSU. The Board of Regents last week approved the proposal, putting the Downtown research behemoth on the path to become the largest public higher education institution overseen by the University System of Georgia.

Some within the GSU community have applauded the move, arguing that it adds clout and could add more students to the ever-expanding university. Others have expressed concern over whether the school is prepared. What's been less discussed is the future of GPC's campuses — and more importantly, its students and the role it plays for others seeking higher education.

For the past few decades, the 51-year-old GPC has attracted many students because it's accessible and affordable. (Full disclosure: I attended GPC — where I served as editor of the student newspaper and quarreled with school leadership and the USG over Open Records, leading to a lawsuit — and GSU.)

For years, GPC has offered many minority, non-traditional, military veteran, and even undocumented students the opportunity to get a toehold in higher education. In the fall of 2014, GPC's reported enrollment consisted of 42 percent African-American students, the highest percentage within the university system. GPC has several programs in place to assist low-income and educationally disadvantaged students.

"GPC is a stepping stone to other colleges such as Georgia State," says Charity.

GSU says the GPC campuses will "continue to admit students into its associate's and certificate programs by standards consistent with the college's access mission." But the missions of these two institutions are different. GSU has evolved from a commuter school into a research university that is climbing the national college rankings. GPC is focused on getting students enrolled in school and prepared for major coursework in other colleges and universities. GSU's per credit hour cost is three times more than GPC's.

GPC is known to cater to students who are in need of "learning support" classes, which help bring students up to speed on topics they struggle with — and it's uncertain if a research university, such as GSU, would continue that work. Anthony Tricoli, a former GPC president who resigned over a $25 million budget deficit, questions how those two cultures can blend.

"Asking these two institutions to 'merge' ... could either result in a watered down mission for Georgia State, or a mission for GPC that simply doesn't support about 70% of the incoming student population it enrolls," he wrote in an online response to what he said were reporters' questions. "Without a focus on access, this merger will result in a loss of students attending this merged institution."

There are other issues as well, some of which GSU officials still haven't solved, including the geography students might have to navigate under the new system. Mike Eden, a graduate of GSU who also transferred from GPC, wonders how some students would be able to access classes, some of which are only taught at specific campuses.

"Would GSU's buses go out to the old GPC campuses? I doubt it," he says. "Having five campuses, and then downtown Georgia State, I don't know. It just seems — it's massive — and I feel like a lot of students could get displaced."

The GSU-GPC merger is the latest consolidation proposed by the USG in recent years. During his reign, Chancellor Hank Huckaby has reduced the number of USG's institutions from 35 to 29. Last year, some students and faculty protested the merger of Southern Polytechnic State University and Kennesaw State University.

Each time, USG has made the announcements with little to no notice and zero public input or collaboration. It claims that such consolidations and mergers such as what's been proposed for GSU and GPC save cash. Yet it has not provided any projections about how much will be saved or, with past mergers, shown proof of how much money was saved.

The Board of Regents must still approve the GSU-GPC consolidation plan, which is expected to come together over the next year.             13081529 13203126                          The GPC-GSU conundrum "
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Article

Wednesday January 14, 2015 04:00 am EST
The many unanswered questions of an out-of-nowhere merger | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(46) "Former GPC president disapproves of GSU merger"
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  string(11709) "The former president of Georgia Perimeter College says a recently proposed merger with Georgia State University is not the right move for the two-year college — or its students.

Anthony Tricoli resigned from GPC amidst a $25 million shortfall in July 2012. In May of last year, he filed a lawsuit in which he claimed that top officials within the University System of Georgia, which oversees the state’s public colleges and universities, conspired to force him out. Tricoli is appealing a DeKalb County judge’s decision to throw out the case.

He now points to his removal as a first step process in an alleged “planned action” to reduce GPC’s enrollment to make the merger possible. The consolidation of the university, one of many proposed by Chancellor Hank Huckaby, must still be approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools before being implemented by the Board of Regents.

Tricoli claims Huckaby told him and other colleges presidents in 2011 about his plan to merge several institutions. In a phone conversation, Huckaby allegedly claimed the mergers were “strictly financial.” 

“When I asked him if GPC was part of that plan he said, no,” Tricoli wrote in series of answers to questions that he says were sent by reporters. “He explained that we were so large with nearly 30,000 students that we would stand on our own.  If these mergers are really all about saving money, then the Georgia Senate and House Education Committees and Georgia taxpayers should be told right up front exactly how much money is being saved by this merger.”

Tricoli disagrees with the merger for several reasons, including: the trouble of collaboration between two institutions with different missions; a lack of “dollar savings data” that shows the potential monetary benefits; and diminished access to higher education in Georgia — a move that will adversely affect minority students the most. Read the entire Q&A after the jump.

UPDATE, 3:18 p.m. "Given that the former president has pending litigation with the University System of Georgia, it would be inappropriate for us to engage with his comments," Charles Sutlive, the USG's vice chancellor for communications, said in an emailed statement.

?      ?        jump?        
Q) Did Chancellor Huckaby ever talk with you about merging GPC? 
A) In 2011 Chancellor Huckaby communicated with the college presidents about his desire to merge several institutions.  As he explained it to me in a telephone conversation, the goal of such mergers were strictly financial.  When I asked him if GPC was part of that plan he said, no.  He explained that we were so large with nearly 30,000 students that we would stand on our own.  If these mergers are really all about saving money, then the Georgia Senate and House Education Committees and Georgia taxpayers should be told right up front exactly how much money is being saved by this merger.    
 
Q) As you may know, the enrollment at GPC has dropped every semester since you left the college.  Do you believe that was planned in order to make merging more likely? 
A) Let me start by saying that I am all about access to college.  Georgia needs institutions that are accessible to the population.  There was no reason for GPC’s enrollment to drop off, unless that drop was a planned action.  Before I left GPC in 2012, we (Dr. Alan Jackson, Dr. Lisa Fowler and me) were in the final days of a contract negotiation with Fort Gordon that would have brought 6,500 new students to GPC in the fall of 2012.  That would have raised our total enrollment to 33,500 students in the fall of 2012.  It’s sad for me to see that over 7,000 less students per semester are currently being admitted to the college.  Over a period of six semesters, that’s a total of 42,000 students who have been negatively impacted and are not getting an education at GPC.
 
Q) Is this merger between GPC and Georgia State University a good idea or a bad idea?  
A) These are two very different institutions with very different constituents, and very different missions.  I led the strategic planning process at GPC, and I can tell you that the process we used was collaborative and took place over several months, involving students, faculty, staff and community constituents.  We created our strategic plan to be in line with the plan that ed. then-Chancellor Erroll Davis adopted for the University System.  I have to imagine that the strategic plan that Georgia State University has in place was completed in very much the same way, with significant input from the university constituents and stakeholders.
 
Q) What about the missions; are they at least compatible?  
A) A look at the Georgia State University website shows that many missions exist at GSU.  It appears that each college within the university has their own mission.  I could find none of those that match GPC’s singular mission.  GPC's mission is all about providing access and opportunity.  Georgia State University has graduate and doctoral programs, professional and academic schools and degrees, and an important research agenda.  I could not find no alignment of overarching missions between these two institutions.  The populations of students these two very different institutions are meant to serve are as different as their founding principles.  For the past 100 years, GPC (formerly DeKalb College) has been serving a large "learning support" population.  That mission is typical and expected of a community college. 
 
Asking these two institutions to "merge" their institutional vision, mission and values could either result in a watered down mission for Georgia State, or a mission for GPC that simply doesn't support about 70% of the incoming student population it enrolls.  That may be challenging for the BOR and USG to understand, but that's a fact, and that’s where the rubber meets the road; again it’s all about access; and access is where student success begins.  The welfare of students, their educational challenges and their educational goals, in my opinion, should always be placed first in these discussions.  Without a focus on access, this merger will result in a loss of students attending this merged institution. 
 
Q)  Does it make any sense to eliminate GPC? 
A)GPC is the only “community college” outside of the urban (downtown) area of Atlanta within a reasonable driving distance to most residents; its five campuses makes that possible.  If you take the only access mission institution away from millions of people, then you end up with no place for these students to turn in the USG.  Fortunately, the technical college there in Clarkston is a very good institution, and I certainly see a great value in technical colleges in America today, and I support them 100%.  We need technical colleges to keep our communities economic engine strong.  But then again, not all students would make that choice. If they would have made that their choice, then they would have done so from the start and not attended GPC. 
 
Q) Would you have supported this merger?
A) With the scant amount of information that has been provided to the public at this point (i.e. no dollar savings data, no published plan for reorganization, no clarity on faculty and staff layoffs, no hard plan for continued access for students, no solid information on academic compatibility (faculty meeting with faculty), no clarity on mission statements, and no published plan describing how this merger will help learning support students, I could not have supported the BOR's decision to takeover GPC, as it does not appear to be in the best interest of the students I represented as GPC's president.  At face value, without data, this does not appear to be the right thing to do to GPC's students. 
 
Q) In 2011, you were recognized as the top college governance president in the nation.  There appears to have been little to no input from those who study or work at these two institutions, is that the best shared-governance approach to use in a merger of institutions and people?  
A) I would have thought that the constituents of these two institutions would have been involved in a well-developed consultation process from the start, so they could share their ideas and concerns "before" the BOR made a decision and rushed it through.  We all know that support is generated by "including" people in decision making processes, not "surprising" them with decision in which they have played no part.  I couldn't imagine doing that to the faculty, staff and students I was there to support; and had I still been at GPC. I simply wouldn't have implemented any part of this without consultation of the employees and students prior to any decision being made.  The most highly effective institutions of higher education engage in collegial governance as a standard operating practice, there appears to be no evidence of that taking place in this “merger.”
 
In addition, and unfortunately that's not the way this current administration in the USG operates.  The non-renewal of my contract was the first clear example of "Ready, Shoot, Aim.”  If you would review the audits of the budget during my tenure you would see that the college budget never finished in the red, we always had funds to cover our expenses.  So, here now are two examples of “Ready, Shoot Aim:” 1) my removal; and 2) this merger.  Some other leaders in Georgia have said the elimination of Southern Polytechnic State University was another example of “Ready, Aim, Shoot.”
 
 Q)Due to the Metropolitan Atlanta being one of the most diverse locations in the nation; a question that we should all be asking is how will this merger impact the racial, ethnic and cultural communities that these two institutions serve?
A) Upon starting as GPC's president I was told by my USG Sector Head that I was to reduce GPC's student enrollment by 7,000 in Gwinnett County. However, I quickly learned that many of those particular students were classified as under-served.  Unfortunately, that point didn't seem to concern the person to whom I reported. 

Nor did he care when I shared with him that the mission and role of a community college is to serve the under-served, and that those particular students who would be harmed the most by this decision were the under-served (African-American and Hispanic students).  For five years, I vigorously pursued increasing GPC’s access to the minority student population in the five metro-Atlanta communities served by GPC.  The success of those efforts is well documented.  Community colleges have a mission to serve all populations, as such; it was my job to open the door of opportunity to students of all races.
 
In 2010, I worked with Mayor Shirley Franklin and Congressman Hank Johnson to bring the community together to discuss ways to increase the college-going African-American male population.  We even held community open forum discussions for interested community members to discuss this very important topic on GPC's Clarkston Campus.  Unfortunately, this program also didn't go over very well with my USG Sector Head.  A year or so later, I worked with the leaders from the Goizueta Foundation to create GPC's first program to fund scholarships to deserving Hispanic students.  The Hispanic population deserved the same opportunity as all other student populations to attend college, and I wanted these students to see GPC as their college.  That program is called GEAP and has enabled hundreds of Hispanic students to attend college at GPC thanks to the kindness of the Goizueta Foundation's generous gift. I hope these two populations of students are not forgotten in this "merger.""
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  string(12102) "The former president of Georgia Perimeter College says a [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2015/01/06/surprise-georgia-state-georgia-perimeter-to-merge|recently proposed merger with Georgia State University] is not the right move for the two-year college — or its students.

Anthony Tricoli resigned from GPC amidst a $25 million shortfall in July 2012. In May of last year, he filed a lawsuit in which he [”http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/get-schooled/2014/may/09/former-georgia-perimeter-college-president-files-l/”|claimed] that top officials within the University System of Georgia, which oversees the state’s public colleges and universities, conspired to force him out. Tricoli is appealing a DeKalb County judge’s decision to throw out the case.

He now points to his removal as a first step process in an alleged “planned action” to reduce GPC’s enrollment to make the merger possible. The consolidation of the university, one of many proposed by Chancellor Hank Huckaby, [http://www.usg.edu/news/release/regents_approve_proposal_to_consolidate_georgia_state_university_and_georgi|must still be approved] by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools before being implemented by the Board of Regents.

Tricoli claims Huckaby told him and other colleges presidents in 2011 about his plan to merge several institutions. In a phone conversation, Huckaby allegedly claimed the mergers were “strictly financial.” 

“When I asked him if GPC was part of that plan he said, no,” Tricoli wrote in series of answers to questions that he says were sent by reporters. “He explained that we were so large with nearly 30,000 students that we would stand on our own.  If these mergers are really all about saving money, then the Georgia Senate and House Education Committees and Georgia taxpayers should be told right up front exactly how much money is being saved by this merger.”

Tricoli disagrees with the merger for several reasons, including: the trouble of collaboration between two institutions with different missions; a lack of “dollar savings data” that shows the potential monetary benefits; and diminished access to higher education in Georgia — a move that will adversely affect minority students the most. Read the entire Q&A after the jump.

__UPDATE, 3:18 p.m.__ "Given that the former president has pending litigation with the University System of Georgia, it would be inappropriate for us to engage with his comments," Charles Sutlive, the USG's vice chancellor for communications, said in an emailed statement.

?      ?        [jump]?        
__Q) Did Chancellor Huckaby ever talk with you about merging GPC?__ 
__A)__ In 2011 Chancellor Huckaby communicated with the college presidents about his desire to merge several institutions.  As he explained it to me in a telephone conversation, the goal of such mergers were strictly financial.  When I asked him if GPC was part of that plan he said, no.  He explained that we were so large with nearly 30,000 students that we would stand on our own.  If these mergers are really all about saving money, then the Georgia Senate and House Education Committees and Georgia taxpayers should be told right up front exactly how much money is being saved by this merger.    
 
__Q) As you may know, the enrollment at GPC has dropped every semester since you left the college.  Do you believe that was planned in order to make merging more likely? __
__A)__ Let me start by saying that I am all about access to college.  Georgia needs institutions that are accessible to the population.  There was no reason for GPC’s enrollment to drop off, unless that drop was a planned action.  Before I left GPC in 2012, we (Dr. Alan Jackson, Dr. Lisa Fowler and me) were in the final days of a contract negotiation with Fort Gordon that would have brought 6,500 new students to GPC in the fall of 2012.  That would have raised our total enrollment to 33,500 students in the fall of 2012.  It’s sad for me to see that over 7,000 less students per semester are currently being admitted to the college.  Over a period of six semesters, that’s a total of 42,000 students who have been negatively impacted and are not getting an education at GPC.
 
__Q) Is this merger between GPC and Georgia State University a good idea or a bad idea? __ 
__A)__ These are two very different institutions with very different constituents, and very different missions.  I led the strategic planning process at GPC, and I can tell you that the process we used was collaborative and took place over several months, involving students, faculty, staff and community constituents.  We created our strategic plan to be in line with the plan that ''[ed. then-Chancellor Erroll Davis]'' adopted for the University System.  I have to imagine that the strategic plan that Georgia State University has in place was completed in very much the same way, with significant input from the university constituents and stakeholders.
 
__Q) What about the missions; are they at least compatible? __ 
__A)__ A look at the Georgia State University website shows that many missions exist at GSU.  It appears that each college within the university has their own mission.  I could find none of those that match GPC’s singular mission.  GPC's mission is all about providing access and opportunity.  Georgia State University has graduate and doctoral programs, professional and academic schools and degrees, and an important research agenda.  I could not find no alignment of overarching missions between these two institutions.  The populations of students these two very different institutions are meant to serve are as different as their founding principles.  For the past 100 years, GPC (formerly DeKalb College) has been serving a large "learning support" population.  That mission is typical and expected of a community college. 
 
Asking these two institutions to "merge" their institutional vision, mission and values could either result in a watered down mission for Georgia State, or a mission for GPC that simply doesn't support about 70% of the incoming student population it enrolls.  That may be challenging for the BOR and USG to understand, but that's a fact, and that’s where the rubber meets the road; again it’s all about access; and access is where student success begins.  The welfare of students, their educational challenges and their educational goals, in my opinion, should always be placed first in these discussions.  Without a focus on access, this merger will result in a loss of students attending this merged institution. 
 
__Q)  Does it make any sense to eliminate GPC?__ 
__A)__GPC is the only “community college” outside of the urban (downtown) area of Atlanta within a reasonable driving distance to most residents; its five campuses makes that possible.  If you take the only access mission institution away from millions of people, then you end up with no place for these students to turn in the USG.  Fortunately, the technical college there in Clarkston is a very good institution, and I certainly see a great value in technical colleges in America today, and I support them 100%.  We need technical colleges to keep our communities economic engine strong.  But then again, not all students would make that choice. If they would have made that their choice, then they would have done so from the start and not attended GPC. 
 
__Q) Would you have supported this merger?__
__A)__ With the scant amount of information that has been provided to the public at this point (i.e. no dollar savings data, no published plan for reorganization, no clarity on faculty and staff layoffs, no hard plan for continued access for students, no solid information on academic compatibility (faculty meeting with faculty), no clarity on mission statements, and no published plan describing how this merger will help learning support students, I could not have supported the BOR's decision to takeover GPC, as it does not appear to be in the best interest of the students I represented as GPC's president.  At face value, without data, this does not appear to be the right thing to do to GPC's students. 
 
__Q) In 2011, you were recognized as the top college governance president in the nation.  There appears to have been little to no input from those who study or work at these two institutions, is that the best shared-governance approach to use in a merger of institutions and people? __ 
__A)__ I would have thought that the constituents of these two institutions would have been involved in a well-developed consultation process from the start, so they could share their ideas and concerns "before" the BOR made a decision and rushed it through.  We all know that support is generated by "including" people in decision making processes, not "surprising" them with decision in which they have played no part.  I couldn't imagine doing that to the faculty, staff and students I was there to support; and had I still been at GPC. I simply wouldn't have implemented any part of this without consultation of the employees and students prior to any decision being made.  The most highly effective institutions of higher education engage in collegial governance as a standard operating practice, there appears to be no evidence of that taking place in this “merger.”
 
In addition, and unfortunately that's not the way this current administration in the USG operates.  The non-renewal of my contract was the first clear example of "Ready, Shoot, Aim.”  If you would review the audits of the budget during my tenure you would see that the college budget never finished in the red, we always had funds to cover our expenses.  So, here now are two examples of “Ready, Shoot Aim:” 1) my removal; and 2) this merger.  Some other leaders in Georgia have said the elimination of Southern Polytechnic State University was another example of “Ready, Aim, Shoot.”
 
 __Q)Due to the Metropolitan Atlanta being one of the most diverse locations in the nation; a question that we should all be asking is how will this merger impact the racial, ethnic and cultural communities that these two institutions serve?__
__A)__ Upon starting as GPC's president I was told by my USG Sector Head that I was to reduce GPC's student enrollment by 7,000 in Gwinnett County. However, I quickly learned that many of those particular students were classified as under-served.  Unfortunately, that point didn't seem to concern the person to whom I reported. 

Nor did he care when I shared with him that the mission and role of a community college is to serve the under-served, and that those particular students who would be harmed the most by this decision were the under-served (African-American and Hispanic students).  For five years, I vigorously pursued increasing GPC’s access to the minority student population in the five metro-Atlanta communities served by GPC.  The success of those efforts is well documented.  Community colleges have a mission to serve all populations, as such; it was my job to open the door of opportunity to students of all races.
 
In 2010, I worked with Mayor Shirley Franklin and Congressman Hank Johnson to bring the community together to discuss ways to increase the college-going African-American male population.  We even held community open forum discussions for interested community members to discuss this very important topic on GPC's Clarkston Campus.  Unfortunately, this program also didn't go over very well with my USG Sector Head.  A year or so later, I worked with the leaders from the Goizueta Foundation to create GPC's first program to fund scholarships to deserving Hispanic students.  The Hispanic population deserved the same opportunity as all other student populations to attend college, and I wanted these students to see GPC as their college.  That program is called GEAP and has enabled hundreds of Hispanic students to attend college at GPC thanks to the kindness of the Goizueta Foundation's generous gift. I hope these two populations of students are not forgotten in this "merger.""
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  string(11942) "       2015-01-09T15:16:00+00:00 Former GPC president disapproves of GSU merger   David Schick 7344241 2015-01-09T15:16:00+00:00  The former president of Georgia Perimeter College says a recently proposed merger with Georgia State University is not the right move for the two-year college — or its students.

Anthony Tricoli resigned from GPC amidst a $25 million shortfall in July 2012. In May of last year, he filed a lawsuit in which he claimed that top officials within the University System of Georgia, which oversees the state’s public colleges and universities, conspired to force him out. Tricoli is appealing a DeKalb County judge’s decision to throw out the case.

He now points to his removal as a first step process in an alleged “planned action” to reduce GPC’s enrollment to make the merger possible. The consolidation of the university, one of many proposed by Chancellor Hank Huckaby, must still be approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools before being implemented by the Board of Regents.

Tricoli claims Huckaby told him and other colleges presidents in 2011 about his plan to merge several institutions. In a phone conversation, Huckaby allegedly claimed the mergers were “strictly financial.” 

“When I asked him if GPC was part of that plan he said, no,” Tricoli wrote in series of answers to questions that he says were sent by reporters. “He explained that we were so large with nearly 30,000 students that we would stand on our own.  If these mergers are really all about saving money, then the Georgia Senate and House Education Committees and Georgia taxpayers should be told right up front exactly how much money is being saved by this merger.”

Tricoli disagrees with the merger for several reasons, including: the trouble of collaboration between two institutions with different missions; a lack of “dollar savings data” that shows the potential monetary benefits; and diminished access to higher education in Georgia — a move that will adversely affect minority students the most. Read the entire Q&A after the jump.

UPDATE, 3:18 p.m. "Given that the former president has pending litigation with the University System of Georgia, it would be inappropriate for us to engage with his comments," Charles Sutlive, the USG's vice chancellor for communications, said in an emailed statement.

?      ?        jump?        
Q) Did Chancellor Huckaby ever talk with you about merging GPC? 
A) In 2011 Chancellor Huckaby communicated with the college presidents about his desire to merge several institutions.  As he explained it to me in a telephone conversation, the goal of such mergers were strictly financial.  When I asked him if GPC was part of that plan he said, no.  He explained that we were so large with nearly 30,000 students that we would stand on our own.  If these mergers are really all about saving money, then the Georgia Senate and House Education Committees and Georgia taxpayers should be told right up front exactly how much money is being saved by this merger.    
 
Q) As you may know, the enrollment at GPC has dropped every semester since you left the college.  Do you believe that was planned in order to make merging more likely? 
A) Let me start by saying that I am all about access to college.  Georgia needs institutions that are accessible to the population.  There was no reason for GPC’s enrollment to drop off, unless that drop was a planned action.  Before I left GPC in 2012, we (Dr. Alan Jackson, Dr. Lisa Fowler and me) were in the final days of a contract negotiation with Fort Gordon that would have brought 6,500 new students to GPC in the fall of 2012.  That would have raised our total enrollment to 33,500 students in the fall of 2012.  It’s sad for me to see that over 7,000 less students per semester are currently being admitted to the college.  Over a period of six semesters, that’s a total of 42,000 students who have been negatively impacted and are not getting an education at GPC.
 
Q) Is this merger between GPC and Georgia State University a good idea or a bad idea?  
A) These are two very different institutions with very different constituents, and very different missions.  I led the strategic planning process at GPC, and I can tell you that the process we used was collaborative and took place over several months, involving students, faculty, staff and community constituents.  We created our strategic plan to be in line with the plan that ed. then-Chancellor Erroll Davis adopted for the University System.  I have to imagine that the strategic plan that Georgia State University has in place was completed in very much the same way, with significant input from the university constituents and stakeholders.
 
Q) What about the missions; are they at least compatible?  
A) A look at the Georgia State University website shows that many missions exist at GSU.  It appears that each college within the university has their own mission.  I could find none of those that match GPC’s singular mission.  GPC's mission is all about providing access and opportunity.  Georgia State University has graduate and doctoral programs, professional and academic schools and degrees, and an important research agenda.  I could not find no alignment of overarching missions between these two institutions.  The populations of students these two very different institutions are meant to serve are as different as their founding principles.  For the past 100 years, GPC (formerly DeKalb College) has been serving a large "learning support" population.  That mission is typical and expected of a community college. 
 
Asking these two institutions to "merge" their institutional vision, mission and values could either result in a watered down mission for Georgia State, or a mission for GPC that simply doesn't support about 70% of the incoming student population it enrolls.  That may be challenging for the BOR and USG to understand, but that's a fact, and that’s where the rubber meets the road; again it’s all about access; and access is where student success begins.  The welfare of students, their educational challenges and their educational goals, in my opinion, should always be placed first in these discussions.  Without a focus on access, this merger will result in a loss of students attending this merged institution. 
 
Q)  Does it make any sense to eliminate GPC? 
A)GPC is the only “community college” outside of the urban (downtown) area of Atlanta within a reasonable driving distance to most residents; its five campuses makes that possible.  If you take the only access mission institution away from millions of people, then you end up with no place for these students to turn in the USG.  Fortunately, the technical college there in Clarkston is a very good institution, and I certainly see a great value in technical colleges in America today, and I support them 100%.  We need technical colleges to keep our communities economic engine strong.  But then again, not all students would make that choice. If they would have made that their choice, then they would have done so from the start and not attended GPC. 
 
Q) Would you have supported this merger?
A) With the scant amount of information that has been provided to the public at this point (i.e. no dollar savings data, no published plan for reorganization, no clarity on faculty and staff layoffs, no hard plan for continued access for students, no solid information on academic compatibility (faculty meeting with faculty), no clarity on mission statements, and no published plan describing how this merger will help learning support students, I could not have supported the BOR's decision to takeover GPC, as it does not appear to be in the best interest of the students I represented as GPC's president.  At face value, without data, this does not appear to be the right thing to do to GPC's students. 
 
Q) In 2011, you were recognized as the top college governance president in the nation.  There appears to have been little to no input from those who study or work at these two institutions, is that the best shared-governance approach to use in a merger of institutions and people?  
A) I would have thought that the constituents of these two institutions would have been involved in a well-developed consultation process from the start, so they could share their ideas and concerns "before" the BOR made a decision and rushed it through.  We all know that support is generated by "including" people in decision making processes, not "surprising" them with decision in which they have played no part.  I couldn't imagine doing that to the faculty, staff and students I was there to support; and had I still been at GPC. I simply wouldn't have implemented any part of this without consultation of the employees and students prior to any decision being made.  The most highly effective institutions of higher education engage in collegial governance as a standard operating practice, there appears to be no evidence of that taking place in this “merger.”
 
In addition, and unfortunately that's not the way this current administration in the USG operates.  The non-renewal of my contract was the first clear example of "Ready, Shoot, Aim.”  If you would review the audits of the budget during my tenure you would see that the college budget never finished in the red, we always had funds to cover our expenses.  So, here now are two examples of “Ready, Shoot Aim:” 1) my removal; and 2) this merger.  Some other leaders in Georgia have said the elimination of Southern Polytechnic State University was another example of “Ready, Aim, Shoot.”
 
 Q)Due to the Metropolitan Atlanta being one of the most diverse locations in the nation; a question that we should all be asking is how will this merger impact the racial, ethnic and cultural communities that these two institutions serve?
A) Upon starting as GPC's president I was told by my USG Sector Head that I was to reduce GPC's student enrollment by 7,000 in Gwinnett County. However, I quickly learned that many of those particular students were classified as under-served.  Unfortunately, that point didn't seem to concern the person to whom I reported. 

Nor did he care when I shared with him that the mission and role of a community college is to serve the under-served, and that those particular students who would be harmed the most by this decision were the under-served (African-American and Hispanic students).  For five years, I vigorously pursued increasing GPC’s access to the minority student population in the five metro-Atlanta communities served by GPC.  The success of those efforts is well documented.  Community colleges have a mission to serve all populations, as such; it was my job to open the door of opportunity to students of all races.
 
In 2010, I worked with Mayor Shirley Franklin and Congressman Hank Johnson to bring the community together to discuss ways to increase the college-going African-American male population.  We even held community open forum discussions for interested community members to discuss this very important topic on GPC's Clarkston Campus.  Unfortunately, this program also didn't go over very well with my USG Sector Head.  A year or so later, I worked with the leaders from the Goizueta Foundation to create GPC's first program to fund scholarships to deserving Hispanic students.  The Hispanic population deserved the same opportunity as all other student populations to attend college, and I wanted these students to see GPC as their college.  That program is called GEAP and has enabled hundreds of Hispanic students to attend college at GPC thanks to the kindness of the Goizueta Foundation's generous gift. I hope these two populations of students are not forgotten in this "merger."             13081476 13162872                          Former GPC president disapproves of GSU merger "
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Article

Friday January 9, 2015 10:16 am EST

The former president of Georgia Perimeter College says a recently proposed merger with Georgia State University is not the right move for the two-year college — or its students.

Anthony Tricoli resigned from GPC amidst a $25 million shortfall in July 2012. In May of last year, he filed a lawsuit in which he claimed that top officials within the University System of Georgia, which oversees the...

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  string(61) "PETA files complaint with USDA over alleged Yerkes violations"
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  string(3162) "Yerkes National Primate Research Center is facing allegations from an animal rights advocacy group over possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Earlier this week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the Emory University research center's recent practices.

The complaint comes several weeks after Yerkes received a five-year, $9.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health to study oxytocin, the brain chemical that scientists say plays a role in the bond formed between a mother and baby. Yerkes plans to use the funds to study how oxytocin responds to certain sets of stimuli through experiments performed on animals such as rodents and rhesus monkeys. 

Yerkes' track record of past violations  -  including alleged incidences where rhesus monkeys have been harmed due to negligence  -  doesn't bode well for the potential animal research subjects, according to PETA's complaint. 

"The NIH was aware of these ongoing egregious problems and then they turn around give them more money," PETA laboratory oversight specialist Alka Chandra tells CL. "The lack of accountability is really what pushed us to try and get another governmental agency involved."

PETA's complaint is based on information it obtained from a recent Freedom of Information Act request that looked into emails between the NIH's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare and Yerkes between December 2011 and February 2013. After reviewing these documents, the animal rights advocacy group says it discovered possible violations, including some that might compromise research animals' well-being, that USDA inspectors failed to identify.

In one case, the group claims that an infant rhesus monkey died inside its cage after becoming entangled in a frayed fire hose. Chandra says that PETA is extremely disappointed in the NIH's "over the top failure" to enforce research facilities adhering to the minimal guidelines.

Lisa Newbern, Yerkes public affairs spokeswoman, says Emory remains "committed to providing the best care for animals used in research" and that it followed the "proper process" for reporting these issues. In particular, she notes that the research center informed Emory's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, who in turn reported it to the USDA.

"We worked with IACUC to ensure the matters were thoroughly reviewed and investigated as needed," says Newbern, adding that OLAW didn't see a need to take further action.

Chandra thinks the NIH is "falling down on the job" given that Yerkes received more than $280 million in grant money in 2012.

"The governmental agencies are not perfect, none of them," says Chandra. "But the USDA is powered to cite facilities, and that has legal consequences. And that's what we're hoping for, citations and fines."

USDA says they have received the complaint and are currently looking into it. 

"We take all complaints seriously and encourage all of our Stakeholders to let us know if they believe someone is mistreating animals that fall within the Animal Welfare Act," Tanya Espinosa, USDA public affairs specialist, tells CL in an email."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(3259) "Yerkes National Primate Research Center is facing allegations from an animal rights advocacy group over possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Earlier this week, [http://www.peta.org|People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the Emory University research center's recent practices.

The complaint comes several weeks after Yerkes [http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-08/ehs-yrc081213.php|received] a five-year, $9.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health to study oxytocin, the brain chemical that scientists say plays a role in the bond formed between a mother and baby. Yerkes plans to use the funds to study how oxytocin responds to certain sets of stimuli through experiments performed on animals such as rodents and rhesus monkeys. 

Yerkes' track record of past violations  -  including alleged incidences where rhesus monkeys have been harmed due to negligence  -  doesn't bode well for the potential animal research subjects, according to PETA's complaint. 

"The NIH was aware of these ongoing egregious problems and then they turn around give them more money," PETA laboratory oversight specialist Alka Chandra tells ''CL''. "The lack of accountability is really what pushed us to try and get another governmental agency involved."

PETA's complaint is based on information it obtained from a recent Freedom of Information Act request that looked into emails between the NIH's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare and Yerkes between December 2011 and February 2013. After reviewing these documents, the animal rights advocacy group says it discovered possible violations, including some that might compromise research animals' well-being, that USDA inspectors failed to identify.

In one case, the group claims that an infant rhesus monkey died inside its cage after becoming entangled in a frayed fire hose. Chandra says that PETA is extremely disappointed in the NIH's "over the top failure" to enforce research facilities adhering to the minimal guidelines.

Lisa Newbern, Yerkes public affairs spokeswoman, says Emory remains "committed to providing the best care for animals used in research" and that it followed the "proper process" for reporting these issues. In particular, she notes that the research center informed Emory's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, who in turn reported it to the USDA.

"We worked with IACUC to ensure the matters were thoroughly reviewed and investigated as needed," says Newbern, adding that OLAW didn't see a need to take further action.

Chandra thinks the NIH is "falling down on the job" given that Yerkes received more than $280 million in grant money in 2012.

"The governmental agencies are not perfect, none of them," says Chandra. "But the USDA is powered to cite facilities, and that has legal consequences. And that's what we're hoping for, citations and fines."

USDA says they have received the complaint and are currently looking into it. 

"We take all complaints seriously and encourage all of our Stakeholders to let us know if they believe someone is mistreating animals that fall within the Animal Welfare Act," Tanya Espinosa, USDA public affairs specialist, tells ''CL'' in an email."
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  string(3424) "       2013-09-12T19:42:00+00:00 PETA files complaint with USDA over alleged Yerkes violations   David Schick 7344241 2013-09-12T19:42:00+00:00  Yerkes National Primate Research Center is facing allegations from an animal rights advocacy group over possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Earlier this week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the Emory University research center's recent practices.

The complaint comes several weeks after Yerkes received a five-year, $9.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health to study oxytocin, the brain chemical that scientists say plays a role in the bond formed between a mother and baby. Yerkes plans to use the funds to study how oxytocin responds to certain sets of stimuli through experiments performed on animals such as rodents and rhesus monkeys. 

Yerkes' track record of past violations  -  including alleged incidences where rhesus monkeys have been harmed due to negligence  -  doesn't bode well for the potential animal research subjects, according to PETA's complaint. 

"The NIH was aware of these ongoing egregious problems and then they turn around give them more money," PETA laboratory oversight specialist Alka Chandra tells CL. "The lack of accountability is really what pushed us to try and get another governmental agency involved."

PETA's complaint is based on information it obtained from a recent Freedom of Information Act request that looked into emails between the NIH's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare and Yerkes between December 2011 and February 2013. After reviewing these documents, the animal rights advocacy group says it discovered possible violations, including some that might compromise research animals' well-being, that USDA inspectors failed to identify.

In one case, the group claims that an infant rhesus monkey died inside its cage after becoming entangled in a frayed fire hose. Chandra says that PETA is extremely disappointed in the NIH's "over the top failure" to enforce research facilities adhering to the minimal guidelines.

Lisa Newbern, Yerkes public affairs spokeswoman, says Emory remains "committed to providing the best care for animals used in research" and that it followed the "proper process" for reporting these issues. In particular, she notes that the research center informed Emory's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, who in turn reported it to the USDA.

"We worked with IACUC to ensure the matters were thoroughly reviewed and investigated as needed," says Newbern, adding that OLAW didn't see a need to take further action.

Chandra thinks the NIH is "falling down on the job" given that Yerkes received more than $280 million in grant money in 2012.

"The governmental agencies are not perfect, none of them," says Chandra. "But the USDA is powered to cite facilities, and that has legal consequences. And that's what we're hoping for, citations and fines."

USDA says they have received the complaint and are currently looking into it. 

"We take all complaints seriously and encourage all of our Stakeholders to let us know if they believe someone is mistreating animals that fall within the Animal Welfare Act," Tanya Espinosa, USDA public affairs specialist, tells CL in an email.             13075404 9223880                          PETA files complaint with USDA over alleged Yerkes violations "
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Article

Thursday September 12, 2013 03:42 pm EDT

Yerkes National Primate Research Center is facing allegations from an animal rights advocacy group over possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Earlier this week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the Emory University research center's recent practices.

The complaint comes several weeks after Yerkes received a...

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