Let me get this clear in my mind: the University of Georgia is lobbying to create an engineering school. This falls under the heading of, Bubba gonna build a bridge!
Can't you just see the new road signs: Built by UGA Engineering, Cross at Your Own Risk. And a conversation between two UGA inga-nears might go:
"Fred, looks like this here I-beam is a tad short."
"Don't worry 'bout it Earl, I got duct tape and putty in the truck."
No doubt having fun at the expense of UGA would be high on the list of a lot of people, especially those students wearing the flying insect on their caps.
But Georgia Tech has had its moments. It was during the now long gone Chattahoochee Raft Race that some Tech boys entered the concrete raft. I recall one Tech lad sitting soaking wet on the banks of the river, his head in one hand and a quart bottle of Budweiser in the other, mumbling, "It shouda floated."
But the idea of an engineering school really falls under serious politics. It is likely UGA will be successful in its bid, mainly because if there is a more visionless and dullard bunch of goobers in one room than the Board of Regents you would have to go to Washington to find them.
An engineering school at UGA is not a bad idea on its face. Colleges and universities everywhere are looking for ways to expand curriculum and sometimes this is a matter of survival.
That is not the case here. While UGA would no doubt produce qualified and competent engineers, the bottom line is such a program is simply not needed.
Whether the Georgia folks want to admit it or not, the North Avenue trade school does a pretty good job in this area. Georgia Tech is steeped in tradition and is consistently ranked as one of the top engineering school in the country.
Fair or unfair, the UGA engineering school will become known as the place people go if they can't get into Tech so no matter how successful it will be viewed as second rate. Boston College has a fine law school but in that part of the world the bull of the woods is a place called Harvard.
This begs the question as to whether or not developing engineering at UGA is the best use of what are increasingly limited resources.
It would seem trying to enhance existing programs or offering study not readily available elsewhere would be a more prudent course of action. Georgia Tech does not have a veterinarian school nor does it need one.
In truth, if there is a new school needed in this state it is a medical school at a public university. Georgia State University would be an ideal place for a new medical college but broach this subject and you hear howls from the Medical College of Georgia, which is a perfect example of politics amongst the Board of Regents.
Meanwhile, folks are huddling up to make sure UGA gets its engineering school.
Wonder if they will offer a class in the use of duct tape and putty?
Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at Rlatarski@aol.com