Polytech students rally against proposed merger - CBS46 News

Polytech students rally against proposed merger

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Students at a small state engineering college are protesting a controversial proposal to merge it with a larger liberal arts school.

State university officials are considering a proposal to consolidate Southern Polytech University with Kennesaw State University. 

Students said Polytech has a great reputation as an engineering school, but it would lose that reputation if it's merged with Kennesaw State.

Hundreds of students crowded the campus square to tell state university officials to keep their hands off Polytech.

Jacob Smith, a senior, chose Polytech because it's a small engineering university where professors know his name and because future employers know his school's name.

"Our reputation is that we can come out after we graduate  and know that we are technologically oriented," Smith said.

Smith and other students fear a degree from Kennesaw State would not carry the same currency on the job market as a degree from Polytech.

"Once they get our engineering program, it won't be treated as if it were an engineering program, it'll be just something they have," Smith said.

University officials said the merger would make the schools more efficient and save money.

Kennesaw State President Dan Papp insisted Polytech would not suffer.

When asked if the Kennesaw State name would devalue the Polytech degree, Papp answered, "I don't believe so."

Shantal Michael, a junior, feared Polytech would lose its identity. 

"We will lose our name SPSU if we turn into KSU," Michael said.

The State Board of Regents would vote January 2015 on whether to approve the proposed merger.

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