UNM probe finds professor's tweet not part of project

Posted at: 07/02/2013 10:46 PM
Updated at: 07/02/2013 10:56 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Geoffery Miller
Geoffery Miller

An investigation into a UNM professor’s social media jab heard around the country is partially finished.

UNM associate psychology professor Geoffery Miller is teaching at New York University this summer.

It is there that he took to Twitter with this statement:

“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 #truth”

Miller apologized for that tweet, saying it was part of a research project. UNM's Institutional Review Board found such a project doesn't exist. The IRB would have to sign off on it first.

Miller hasn’t said what exactly he was researching.

The IRB determined Miller’s tweeting was “self-promotional… and that key elements were absent in order to classify his actions as ‘research’… therefore, the IRB will no longer investigate Miller’s past tweets.”

But the investigation isn’t over. KOB Eyewitness News 4 asked UNM students if Miller should lose his job.

"If he's a good teacher, as long as he doesn't violate anything else it doesn't mean he should be disqualified as a teacher. It just means he should probably be more respectful to his students," said Emily Trujillo.

Omar Torres is not sure.

"If I ever had him as a teacher I wouldn't have that much respect for him as a person,” Torres said.

"I don't think he should lose his job but I definitely think they should evaluate who he is accepting and make sure no one is being discriminated against,” Candola Garrett said.

This upsets Joshua Gallegos, who hopes to get his PhD in psychology.

"You know, I've been bullied. I used to be overweight. I've been working on all that and I've been exercising and I do that constantly now and I know how it feels," Gallegos said. "It does stick with you, like when someone comes in and starts pointing, not making fun of you, just pointing things out in harsh ways that does stick with people and that's cruel."

UNM says the tweet does not reflect the university’s admission standards.

A disciplinary investigation is now underway. UNM says it will take a couple of weeks to complete.

It will determine whether Miller will be able to continue and even extend his time at NYU by another year, which he has asked for.

Miller is a tenured professor which UNM says makes it more difficult for him to be fired.