Sensitivity training for obesity Tweet professor

A US professor who Tweeted that if overweight PhD applicants “didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs” then they “won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation” has been formally censured by his university.

August 7, 2013

Geoffrey Miller, associate professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico, apologised after sending the Tweet, which he subsequently deleted. He later told UNM it had been part of a research project – a claim dismissed by the university.

The institution has now formally censured Professor Miller for “misrepresenting to his department chair and colleagues the motivation for a Tweet”.

“Miller at first claimed his Tweet was part of a research project, but investigations by the Institutional Review Board at New York University where he was a visiting professor, and the IRB at UNM where he is a tenured professor, concluded that was not correct,” a statement from his university read.

As part of the censure, Professor Miller will be required to develop “a plan for sensitivity training as it pertains to obesity” in cooperation with the UNM psychology department, and apologise to colleagues for his behavior.

Professor Miller, who can appeal the censure, will also have his work monitored by the chair of the psychology department, and will be assigned a faculty mentor for three years, with whom he will meet on a regular basis to discuss potential problems.

An investigation into Professor Miller’s dealings with students and colleagues found no evidence that he had discriminated against people who are overweight.

chris.parr@tsleducation.com

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Reader's comments (1)

Such unacceptable behavior on a social media service should also compel the Review Board to provide training for Miller. Basic instructions regarding what a tenured professor should be using Twitter for may help this man.

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