It seems a lot of the uproar surrounding Dr. Geoffrey Miller has died down. But a new study out of Bowling Green University helps to confirm that this issue of discrimination against fat college applicants is real and maybe it’s really, really important that we don’t stop talking about it.
For those of you who might not remember, Dr. Geoffrey Miller got himself in just a little hot water for tweeting:
“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”
As I predicted, the PR poo storm did indeed hit “Biblical proportions”–at least for a while. Dr. Geoffrey tried a multitude of evasion tactics, including a half-hearted, insincere apology and claiming that he was doing some sort of research experiment.
Many of us, including me called shenanigans on his post tweet wiggling. And the University of New Mexico pledged to look into the whole “research experiment” claim. They did. And not surprisingly, they decided that the claim was baseless, that the tweet doesn’t qualify as research and they are continuing a disciplinary investigation. UNM suggests that the investigation would take several more weeks. NYU, has not indicated they have any intent of pursuing disciplinary action against the tweeting professor.
Since then, the world has not paid much attention to Dr. Geoffrey Miller or the issue of fat discrimination in college. And that’s not good.
Because the study out of Bowling Green indicates that this business of fat discrimination for college applicants is a really big problem. And as the amazing Lesley Kinzel of Two Whole Cakes points out in her brilliant article in xoJane, this is hardly the first study to indicate that fat bias in college admissions.
But the Bowling Green study looks very specifically at the issue of when college students experience the discrimination and the disproportionate effect the discrimination may have on women. The study found that when fat and thin students did an in-person interview, the fat applicants were less likely to be admitted to college. However, the study found, when applicants were interviewed over the phone, fat students were admitted at about the same rate as thin ones.
So my dear readers, I suggest that this is no time to be quiet on the subject of Dr. Geoffrey Miller, his ill-considered tweets or the subject of discrimination in college admissions. Maybe now would be a good time to write some letters to NYU and UNM to let them know that Dr. Geoffrey Miller should not be let off the hook and that we are deeply concerned about college admissions discrimination.
The Fat Chick
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