Could a college student become so outraged over a bad grade that they would order a “hit” on their professor?
That’s the question now being asked at Miami Dade College’s Kendall campus, as police continue to investigate a brutal attack against music professor Marc Magellan. The professor appears to have been specifically targeted, and it was not a robbery — none of his personal items were taken.
As Magellan was leaving campus last week, a man called out “Professor Marc,” according to a Miami-Dade Police report. When Magellan turned around, he was sucker-punched in the face.
That unexpected blow knocked Magellan, 31, to the ground of the campus parking garage. From there, the attacker continued beating the professor “unmercifully,” according to police. At one point, Magellan says, the assailant “was powerfully punching the side of my head against the concrete floor of the garage.”
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The professor’s injuries included a broken nose, broken hand, and other injuries to his head, face, arms, knees and feet.
Magellan did not recognize his attacker as a student, but in an e-mail to the Miami Herald, Magellan’s mother — who is also an MDC instructor — wrote “we are all suspicious of the aggressor being put up by a student.”
“For me, I just can’t imagine that any student would have such a vacant brain as to resort to something so stupid as a physical attack,” she wrote. “Yet, we don’t know what else we’re facing here.”
Marc Magellan, who responded to several questions via e-mail, said he considers himself “very lucky” to have avoided more-serious injuries. Being punched against the concrete, he wrote, “could have killed me.”
Asked about the possibility of this attack coming from a student, he responded: “I'm a very peaceful and loving person. There is nobody I can think of who would have wanted to attack me so brutally unless there was some sort of grudge or chip on their shoulder. In my business, yes, the only people who hold grudges are the ones who I’ve had to drop or fail. It comes with the territory I guess.”
As he recovers, Magellan said he’s received tons of support from those in the MDC community.
“I very much look forward to getting back in the classroom as soon as possible,” he wrote.
The attack happened just before 6 p.m. April 15. MDC spokesman Juan Mendieta called it “disturbing” that someone would commit such a violent act at a well-populated campus during daylight. Mendieta said the extent of crimes at the campus, 11011 SW 104th St., is typically limited to vandalism or theft — never something like this.
Security has been increased at the campus as a precaution, Mendieta said.
According to Magellan and information on the police report, the assailant was about 5-10, 180 pounds, and either of Hispanic or African-American descent. He wore a white shirt, white pants and red shoes. After the attack, he sped away from the campus in a blue sports car. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the confidential Crime Stoppers hotline at 305-471-TIPS(8477).
Magellan, who plays guitar, teaches a variety of music courses at MDC, including music appreciation, music theory, and jazz and popular music in America.
Several students who posted reviews of Magellan on ratemyprofessors.com praised him as a wonderful instructor.
“Best professor ever!” wrote one student.”He really knows his stuff and makes it interesting for you.”
“This professor inspired me to change my major to Art History,” wrote another.
But the most recent review on the site, from April 2, complained that Magellan’s class was too difficult.
“DO NOT TAKE THIS GUY,” that student wrote, adding that Magellan was “ridiculously hard for an elective.”