ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A UNM professor's controversial tweet is gaining worldwide attention, but it's not the kind of attention the university wants.
Twitter users are criticizing his post, saying he is discriminating against people struggling with obesity.
The psychology professor tweeted about PhD applicants, suggesting those who are obese wouldn't be able to handle the workload.
He later apologized and said it was part of a research study but not everyone is buying it.
"Dear obese PhD applicants," Geoffrey Miller wrote on Twitter Sunday afternoon. "If you didn't have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won't have the willpower to do a dissertation."
"He is targeting obese people but that has nothing to do with what they can offer or what they know," said Tatiana Burks, a student at UNM.
From New York to the U.K., it is making headlines.
Now, UNM Psychology Chair Jane Smith is responding.
"I was really surprised, I have to say. The idea that the Psychology Department here at UNM or any department at UNM would be discriminating against people because of their size or shape is just outlandish," Smith said.
A UNM spokesperson said Miller is a tenured associate professor at UNM, currently visiting as a professor at NYU.
He has reportedly deleted his post and apologized for a quote "idiotic, impulsive and badly judged tweet."
Miller says it doesn't represent the selection policies of any university, or his own selection criteria.
But UNM said, he has also tried to justify it as part of a research study.
"He is a social psychologist, does work in the evolutionary area and claims that he has been sending out provocative tweets over a number of months now to measure people's reactions to them, and we will be investigating that," Smith said.
Many people on Twitter don't believe it.
One person called the explanation an "empty-calorie excuse" while another pointed out Miller's tweets are now private.
It is unclear exactly when or if Miller will return to UNM.
A UNM spokesperson said Miller was originally supposed to return to UNM in August but recently petitioned to stay at NYU another year.
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