According to Wikipedia, a fall guy refers to “a person to whom blame is deliberately and erroneously attributed in order to deflect responsibility or blame from another party.”
I have a theory. It is a bit of a conspiracy theory. It is farfetched. It is a little absurd. Still, I think it is worth sharing. It is about the details surrounding Dr. Ricardo Azziz’s resignation as president of Georgia Regents University.
After reading a June 15 article published by The Augusta Chronicle entitled, “Azziz June 30th Resignation Accepted,” I began to ask the question that I always ask: Why?
Why is Dr. Azziz resigning? Why now? Why is he being paid so much if he is voluntarily resigning?
A particular quote in the article stood out to me. The article stated that state Rep. Barbara Sims (R-Augusta) remarked that “[Dr.] Azziz was hired to perform a mission and he has.”
Exactly what was the mission?
I do not know who the decision makers are at Georgia Regents University. I doubt that many Augustans do. If I am right about that, then the decision makers at Georgia Regents University have the freedom of anonymity. In other words, they have the ability to act without being held directly accountable for their actions. Interestingly, many Augustans do know one name. It is the name that has appeared in countless satirical cartoons. It is the name that has surfaced again and again during heated debates on Facebook and local blogs.
It is Dr. Ricardo Azziz.
Now, if I were a decision maker at an iconic, multimillion dollar institution and I wanted to make changes that would be largely unpopular, how would I go about it?
Simple, I would bring in someone to do the job for me. Someone to get their hands dirty. Someone that would be easy for the public to turn on. Someone that I could hide behind. Someone that I would probably have to pay off to take the heat of public condemnation.
A fall guy.
How about a person that is not from Augusta, and also has a foreign sounding name?
Dr. Azziz was hired to do a job. It may not have been his idea to do any of the tasks that were completed under his presidency. Even so, his face has become synonymous with everything Augustans hate about the changes made to Augusta State University and the Medical College of Georgia.
Now Dr. Azziz is moving on. The anger of those that dislike him will dissipate, but the changes that were made under his leadership will probably remain. If Dr. Azziz was solely responsible for the changes to ASU and MCG, then surely they could easily be undone in his absence?
But will they?
Obviously, this little theory of mine is for entertainment purposes only. I do not have any palpable evidence to support my theory. Nevertheless, if the next president of Georgia Regents University turns out to be someone with “universal appeal” that miraculously does everything right and is also popular, then I may have to upgrade this theory from wild speculation to serious possibility.
David Walker is a lifestyle photographer and graphic designer. He also publishes weekly essays and short podcast talks on his blog, TheAugustan.com.