I am taking a U.S. Government course this semester, as required of all college students by Texas State law. The course is pretty much a waste of time, as the professor spends almost as much time talking about himself as he spends talking about our government. This morning, however, he crossed the line with me. He spend 45 minutes of class time promoting a turmeric extract called curcumin as a cure for cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and a host of other ailments. Several students walked out while he was discussing this, but four or five were enthusiastic about curcumin and wanted more information. I asked if there were any studies other than the one published in 2003 that he showed the class, and the professor pointed to a Word document on the class electronic blackboard. I discussed this with my wife his evening, and she adamantly suggested I send the department chairman an e-mail informing him of my professor’s behavior. Rather than rehash the e-mail I posted it here. (Names redacted.)
Dear Mr. ****,
This morning in my U.S. Government class Prof. R*** G*** spent 45 minutes of our class time promoting a substance called curcumin as a cure for cancer. I have two major issues with this behavior.
1) Prof. G*** is not qualified to give medical advice. Despite this, he promoted curcumin as a cure for cancer, and even said it is safer than chemotherapy. Several students got very excited about this and gave feedback indicating they will purchase this product and use it. A cursory Google search shows there have been no clinical trials testing the safety and efficacy of curcumin on humans.
2) Because he spent so much time promoting an alternative medical substance over proven, tested treatments, Prof. G*** only got through half of today’s planned lecture. He has wasted much class time this semester talking about things other than U.S. Government during his lectures, but today’s talked crossed the line from harmless time wasting into potentially dangerous and deadly medical advice.
In addition to talking about curcumin in class, Prof. G*** has posted links to articles promoting the substance on Blackboard. The articles are buried under United States Government (210F-17697-GOVT-2305-130>Lectures>Unit 3 Lecture: Chapter 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12>Review of two interest groups. He also posted a file titled “Here are a few websites that illustrate all the research that has been done with curcumin.” The first five links in the document take you to a web site selling curcumin, not to any scientific research on the substance.
Further, Prof. G*** told us that people in India who eat large amounts of curry in their food never get cancer or Alzheimer’s Disease because of the curcumin in curry. A cursory Google search shows this is patently false.
I am not getting what I paid for in this class. I signed up to learn about our United States Government, not the professor’s personal life and certainly not to listen to a college professor promote untested alternative medicines over science-based medicines. This is highly unethcial behavior for a college professor. I trust you will treat this matter with the urgency and seriousness it deserves.