Ran across this in my facebook feed today and almost wanted to cry. This tweet from Evolutionary Psychology Professor at NYU & U. New Mexico Dr. Geoffrey Miller is really special. It states:
Dear obese PhD applicants: if you don’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation. #truth
Here’s somebody who is at least in theory, well educated and yet he felt that he needed to tweet that absolute garbage. Since the tweet has gone viral, he has taken it down and apologized. But in my opinion, that is way too little and way too late. Plus, I have to say, I find the apology a little bit suspect. Here, let me interpret for you.
Dr. Miller states:
My sincere apologies to all for that idiotic, impulsive, and badly judged tweet. It does not reflect my true views, values, or standards.
Which means, “Oh crap, I could possibly get fired for this. I’d better retract my statement ASAP. I’ll just say I didn’t really mean it. That will work, right?”
Dr. Miller goes on to state:
Obviously my previous tweet does not represent the selection policies of any university, or my own selection criteria.
Which means, “Upon further reflection (or after some very tense phone calls) I realize that some of the folks who were rejected for anything by me or any of the universities at which I teach may be somewhat upset. In fact, they may just sue us into financial oblivion.”
So hey Dr. Miller, here’s my tweet to you:
Nobody believes your stupid and transparently self serving apology. #Find a good lawyer
I can find no excuse for this sort of behavior. None. This guy is supposed to be a teacher. This guy is supposed to be a scientist. And he’s drawing this conclusion based on what evidence? None. He doesn’t like fat people, therefore they are lazy and incapable of doctoral level work. Oh except, not really. He didn’t really mean it.
The fact that this guy clearly gets to make decisions about who gets to apply for a PhD is utterly terrifying to me. And speaking of terrified, I hope that both Professor Prejudice and his university are currently shaking in their shoes. Even if an actual lawsuit from a student who was turned away from the university is not forthcoming, I think might just be the opening breezes of a PR poopmageddon about to go down. In fact, I think there needs to be a social media storm of biblical proportions over this tweet. Do you hear that my dear readers? Let’s start twittering and peeping and let our voices be heard! This is a rare opportunity to talk about bias at the highest levels of our learning institutions. This is an opportunity for us to educate the educators. Let’s get the conversation started and keep it rolling!
The Fat Chick
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Maybe prejudiced people who claim to follow the teachings of Christ think that way, but those of us who really do know that ANY prejudice is NOT okay. (Cuz God loves us all, and that’s what I believe!)
Sorry, Dana, but I disagree. We were created by God, and HE doesn’t condone fat hatred, so pls don’t think that right-wing creationists represent the REAL Christian mindset which is: God loves us all. If you don’t believe that, I don’t mind, but pls don’t think that ppl who do think like that dr.
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The Big Fat Flea cordially invites fatphobic NYU professor Geoffrey Miller to attend our event on Sunday to learn about fat activism and institutional bias and discrimination! https://www.facebook.com/BigFatFlea/posts/407166996063880
His bigoted douche-baggery is so blatant as to not deserve extra comment (besides, you have covered it admirably). I was just amused to see that, in addition to his transparently insincere ‘apologies’, he has now made his tweet stream private. Way to convince people that you’ve changed… NOT. He’s just taken his ignorant, unscientific prejudice underground. May he fester there into a very early and unprofitable retirement.
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So glad I was never a student of his.
Wonder if there are any statistics on weight (BMI, anyone?) of ABDs. . . (there’s a great dissertation for some fat student to pursue!).
I’ve already shared news about this imbecile on Facebook, and I plan to tweet the hell out of him. I’m so angry I can barely see straight.
Love the response though 🙂
Just the fact that he got his PhD in 1993 and he is still an associate professor indicates that he’s not exactly an intellectual powerhouse that his colleagues take seriously. Nothing against associate professors, but that’s TWENTY YEARS without a promotion.
He’s an ass, but I too am a 1993 grad who is currently an Associate Professor. If his current job is not his first, which is likely, he would be right on track. I am eligable to apply for Full Prof for the first (and hopefully last) time next year. Different universities deal with promotion differently–but at my university you can’t even apply for Full until you’ve been there for 15 years. I’d like to say though I wrote my dissertation while at my top weight of 430lbs. So yeah, he’s an ass.
Congrats, Lissa, on your accomplishment! Here’s hoping your application next year will be your final one. *crosses fingers for you*
Unfortunately, I think that legally they can refuse to admit a fat student simply because they are fat. With the exception of a few places, a law suit simply has no legal grounds. This is why many entities are using fat to legally practice illegal discrimination. “We are keeping them out (not hiring them, not giving them a raise, etc.) not because they are Black (of Mexican or indigenous descent, female, disabled etc.), but because they are fat!” Of course, this guy is a douche bag and wrong, but he’s probably in his legal rights to refuse admittance to a fat person. Hence we need to change the law!
This guy sounds like a douchebag not only because of this, but because of his willingness to write articles for men’s magazines about how to “pick up chicks” and make them give you sex using principles of Evolutionary Psychology. I can’t take this guy seriously. This is why PhD sometimes means “Piled higher and deeper.”
The feminist blogosphere has had issues with ev-psych dudebros for quite some time now. Not fun. And the sad part is they’re giving evolution a bad name–we DID evolve, our evolution DID shape how we see things, but they’re not looking honestly at this, they’re taking old prejudices that came from creationists and stapling them on Charles Darwin’s forehead. Not cool.