Professor: Obese People Can't Get PhDs

By Chris Hoenig


Is there a stout scholar in the house How about a big-boned brainiac According to one nutty professor, there’s probably not.

Geoffrey Miller, an associate professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of New Mexico, is being railed around the internet after making that assertion on Twitter last weekend. Miller, who is on leave from UNM and currently working as a visiting professor at NYU tweeted: “Dear obese PhD applicants: If you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation.” And if you weren’t sure whether or not that tweet was a joke (he couldn’t have been serious, right), he included “#truth” at the end.

The anti-portly PhDs professor was recently on the lookout for new doctoral students for his lab, posting on his UNM faculty page: “I am looking for bright, motivated, conscientious students with very strong GRE scores (above 700), a strong commitment to a research career in evolutionary psychology, good research experience, and solid academic training in psychology, biology, and/or anthropology. Interested students should contact me directly by email.”

Fellow NYU professor Jay Rosen fails to agree, calling Miller “fat-shaming” and his claims mind boggling.

NYU is letting Miller keep his job, telling The Observer that what Miller “said on Sunday on his personal Twitter account was regrettable. Professor Miller apologized for the tweet and deleted it. NYU considers the matter closed.” Miller’s home school, however, is a different story. “We are deeply concerned about the impact of the statement, which in no way reflects the policies or admission standards of UNM. We are investigating every aspect of this incident and will take appropriate action,” the university said in a statement, adding that Miller claimed the tweet, which has since been deleted, was part of a research project. “We are looking into the validity of this assertion, and will take appropriate measures.” Both NYU and UNM say the tweet does not meet the standards necessary to be classified as “research.”

There are, of course, some PhDs out there who carry a little extra weight both physically and in their work. Dr. Cat Pause, a “fat studies” lecturer in New Zealand, went as far as to start a blog celebrating that fact. Her “F**k Yeah! Fat PhDs” site (WARNING: the site does not include the “**”) has received dozens of submissions from across the U.S. (including NYU), Australia, Canada and England.

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