Meet Geoffrey Miller, psychology professor and typical academic at the University of New Mexico. It seems this “esteemed” Yalie doesn’t like fatties. Here’s the Twitter post in which, in typical Progressive fashion, he thought he could vent his spleen without being noticed. Perhaps he was feeling safe in the Progressive bossom of New York University’s Stern School of Business, where he is teaching summer classes. (Probably rightly so. New York University’s response: “[it] was regrettable. Professor Miller apologized for the Tweet and deleted it. NYU considers the matter closed.”)
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/06/04/outrage-over-professors-twitter-post-obese-students#ixzz2VNzzJcNe
Inside Higher Ed
Miller, again unsurprisingly, deleted the comment, but not before someone caught it and disseminated it across the internet. Chris Chambers, a psychologist and neuroscientist at Cardiff University’s School of Psychology in Wales, wants to know whether Miller’s tweet reflects the policy of University of New Mexico regarding admissions criteria for Ph.D. students.
Of course not, Chris — but it is indicative of the smug, soft bigotry that I’ve seen at UNM for the last seven years in the history and English departments. Here’s the Jane Ellen Smith, the Chiar of Psychology responding:
His first retraction floated the idea that it was part of a “research study” — I can’t be much more blunt than “bullshit.” This technique wouldn’t past IRB muster. He followed it up with a pathetic mea culpa using Sophocles. When that didn’t work he went into ful-blown ass-covering mode.
‘Miller then sent out an apology tweet saying, “My sincere apologies to all for that idiotic, impulsive, and badly judged tweet. It does not reflect my true views, values or standards.” One hour after that, he added, in another tweet, “Obviously my previous tweet does not represent the selection policies of any university, or my own selection criteria.” ‘
As to that last part, that his disgust and hatred for obesity doesn’t affect his selection criteria, I am firmly dubious. Even if UNM proved Miller was stringing along his fat students (UNM loves to wring every last dime out of you before they leave you hanging), the university wouldn’t do a damned thing.
When I took the discriminatory practices that the history department uses for their graduate and teaching assistantships as well as their prejudicial attitudes toward political differences, toward white male students, I got the usual brush off that their restricted intellectual diversity was due to the department specializing in “trendy” subject matter. As to the arrogant and lazy qualities of the academics, I was told there was nothing they could do (tenure, you know, and institutional inertia…) They assumed I wanted my dissertation, which was mired by the laziness and lack of support of my committee chair, somehow expedited; it never occurred to them I wanted to try and fix the problem so that other students wouldn’t have to go through the expense in time and money, to simply be left discarded by an institution that rewards sloth and bigotry.
So, while Miller made the mistake of speaking his mind in an open forum (he’s since closed his Tweets to the public), he is emblematic of the current quality of instructors in much of the university.