A University of New Mexico professor is under fire for tweeting that obese people do not have what it takes to earn a PhD.

Dr. Geoffrey Miller is an assistant professor of psychology at UNM. He posted the following comment on his Twitter account: “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.”

The tweet sparked loads of reaction on the professor’s Twitter account. Several people have also contacted the university.

Psychology department Chairwoman Professor Jane Ellen Smith was shocked when she heard what he’d written.
“The idea that the psychology department here at the UNM or any department at UNM would be discriminating against people because of their size or shape It's just outlandish,” Smith said. “It’s nothing we would ever do.”

Miller has now posted an apology on his account, and said the tweet does not reflect his PhD selection process.

Smith said Miller told her the tweet was part of a research project. Miller, who was already on unpaid leave and working at New York University when he posted the tweet, told UNM officials he’s been sending provocative tweets for months and is measuring reaction to them. UNM is investigating that claim.

Action 7 News reached out to Miller via email for his reaction to the story and to learn more about the reported research project, but he did not return our request for comment.