Psychology Professor Geoffrey Miller has been formally censured by the University of New Mexico for a tweet he published in June telling Ph.D. candidates who are obese not to apply to his program.
At first, Miller claimed his tweet was part of a research project but the Institutional Review Board at New York University, where he was a visiting professor, and the IRB at UNM concluded that was not correct.
As part of the censure, Miller cannot serve on any admission committee for the duration of this time as a faculty member, must work with co-advisors to develop a sensitivity training program as it relates to obesity, be assigned a faculty mentor for three years with whom he will meet on a regular basis to discuss potential problems, have his work monitored by the chair of the Psychology Department and apologize to the department and colleagues for his behavior.
The investigation by UNM found no evidence Miller had discriminated against people who are overweight. In light of the concerns raised by his tweet, the university is bringing an obesity stigma expert to UNM to help educate the community on obesity stigma. Miller can appeal the decision.
NYU is allowing Miller to complete his contract until August 31.
A study in the May issue of Obesity found that applicants to graduate school in psychology who were obese fared worse when they had face-to-face interviews than when they had telephone interviews. This relationship was stronger for females than males. Higher BMI was related to more positive adjectives in letters of recommendation.