Ga. Tech syllabus under fire for ‘scamdemic’ comments

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Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 12:13 PM EST
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ATLANTA (WGCL/CBS46) - A math class at Georgia Tech feels more like a philosophical discourse when a professor’s syllabus stirred controversy among students and alumni.

Jace, a third-year student who asked his last-name to be omitted, said he had seen debate over social media and amongst his classmates after associate professor John McCuan’s syllabus began circulating.

“For the students in the class - we’re just trying to learn and make it through,” explained Jace. “Free speech is important, but it doesn’t mean freedom of consequences.”

Three sentences in the seven page syllabus for MATH 3406M Spring 2022 caught students’ eyes.

In a section labelled “Caronavirus” McCuan writes,

“If you want an instructor who is hysterical concerning the scamdemic, perhaps I’m not your guy. I would hope you’re not going to complain about me not wearing a mask. I hope you’re not going to complain about me not being injected with experimental pharmaceuticals.”

In a statement to CBS46, McCuan said he hoped to encourage students to think for themselves:

“I wanted to make it clear to my students that their health decisions are none of my business particularly and that they need to think for themselves (as far as I am concerned).  I did happen to mention my own personal health decisions.  These also are no one else’s business as far as I am concerned, but obviously there are many many administrators (and others with control issues) who are very forward to make these decisions of mine their business.”

While some students have discussed dropping the course, Jace said most of his classmates are focused on their coursework.

“I didn’t think it’d get as much attention as it did,” said Jace. “In the classroom he’s teaching us math and he’s not going into his personal opinions. I’m willing to take the class if he’s willing to stay in math, which he has. And he’s actually a decent math teacher.”

McCuan said he is unaware of student concerns regarding the syllabus, and any students with concerns should see him individually.

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