Posts Tagged ‘Geoffrey Miller’

Fat-Bashing Prof Censured

August 22nd, 2013

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.


NYU Professor Insults Obese Students

June 4th, 2013

The New York Daily News reports that visiting professor Geoffrey Miller wrote on Twitter, “Dear obese Ph.D. applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation.”

Miller is reported to be a prominent professor of evolutionary psychology from the University of New Mexico.  After an onslaught of criticism, he self-renounced, calling his tweet, “idiotic, impulsive, and badly judged.” Doh? According to the Daily News story, he has told his department chair that the tweet was part of a research project. (“On what?” one might ask.)

While he is summering in New York, the Professor might want to get from the library a couple of books in his field.  I’d suggest “The Changing Body, Health, Nutrition and Human Development in the Western World since 1700” by Roderick Floud, Robert W. Fogel (the Nobel Prize winner in Economics) , Bernard Harris and Sok Chul Hong, (Cambridge Press, 2011), also, “The Evolution of Obesity” by Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin, (Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 2009), and, “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human” by Richard Wrangham, (Basic Books New York, 2009)

To understand the rather limited role “willpower” plays against the body’s physiological inheritance which favors weight gain and defends against weight loss, he should ask for some time in New York with Jules Hirsch, Professor Emeritus and Physician-in-Chief Emeritus at the Laboratory of Human Behavior and Metabolism at Rockefeller University,  Rudy Leibel, at Columbia University and Louis Aronne at New York Presbyterian Hospital who is both a researcher and clinician, seeing these processes at work in patients.  There are about a dozen other experts within a few miles of the NYU campus he could also contact.

Maybe he could write up this study and interviews under, “What I did on my summer vacation”?