In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Board of Regents approved the merger just a few days after the plan was announced. Some Albany State students support a merger with Darton College, but a lot of other folks have strong opinions against it.
News of the merger spread quickly across Albany State University's campus.
Supporters see great value in bringing the strengths of the schools together. Critics think the move will hurt the missions of both schools and say Darton's identity will disappear.
William Tillman, ASU Senior from Savannah says, "Came about out of nowhere. Been here four years. Best move they could have made."
Kaile Holloman, ASU Freshman said "Ummm, it's going to be different."
The news caught some students by surprise at Darton, too. Freshman Ashleigh Moore, a Nursing Major says "We were talking about it yesterday, they are going to call it West Albany. No, Albany State University. Oh, Wow! That is interesting."
Interesting, but nearly every student of the more than a dozen students we spoke to felt like the merger held benefits for both schools. William Tillman says, "I am a member of the marching band and this will add more people who want to march from that school to our school."
Kayla Hughes, Freshman from Savannah says "I think it is good because I use to play a sport here and they actually took it away, I am a swimmer, so maybe this will help out the athletic system here."
But the response to the merger online has been very different then what we heard from students face to face. On Facebook, comments, like one from viewer Joshua Williams says "This is not wanted by most people who are affected by this situation."
And another viewer commented that the positive student reactions don't "come close" to what she is hearing about the merger. But face-to-face the students seemed okay with the change, as long as it doesn't hurt their education.
Kaile Holloman says "I love Albany, it's a great school, but I do care about my education and if it affects me in the long run I would have to go where it will help me (most) with my career."
Tyler Jaworski, a Darton Freshman from Florida says "I think it will bring diversity to the school and overall be a good thing." As for the name of the newly merged campuses, one Darton student did admit she will miss the Darton name.
Sophomore Presley Fennell from Tifton says "Yeah, it's going to be Darton to me, I don't care, I still went to Darton." Only one student we spoke with today, a Darton freshman, had strong negative feelings about the merger, worried about the quality of her nursing education, but she wouldn't talk to us on camera.
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