The University of Delaware has cut ties with an adjunct professor who posted on social media that US student Otto Warmbier “deserved to die” after being imprisoned in North Korea and slipping into a coma from which he never awakened. Warmbier died last week at a hospital in Cincinnati. His family has blamed the viciousness of the North Korean regime for his death.
UD released a statement Sunday which said the former professor, Kathy Dettwyler, "will not be rehired to teach at the University in the future." Dettwyler was not a member of the faculty when she made her inflammatory comments, according to Delaware Online.
In her inflammatory post, Dettwyler wondered if it was “wrong” to think Warmbier “got exactly what he deserved.”
Warmbier, she continued, was “typical of a mindset of a lot of the young, white, rich, clueless males who come into my classes.”
"These are the same kids who cry about their grades because they didn't think they'd really have to read and study the material to get a good grade... His parents ultimately are to blame for his growing up thinking he could get away with whatever he wanted. Maybe in the US, where young, white, rich, clueless white males routinely get away with raping women. Not so much in North Korea. And of course, it's Ottos' parents who will pay the price for the rest of their lives,” she wrote in the post, which has since been taken down.
But, as Dettwyler should’ve known before one unfortunate social media post cost her a job and possibly her career, it’s very difficult to scrub things from the internet.
Dettwyler made similar remarks in the comments section of an article published by the National Review, where she said that she loved the “hard-working, sincere, non-arrogant college students,” according to Philly.com.
“If you knew some of these kids, you’d be appalled,” Dettwyler wrote. “They think nothing of raping drunk girls at frat parties and snorting cocaine, cheating on exams, and threatening professors with physical violence.”
Thousands shared the story about Dettwyler’s comments on social media and many said they would not be sending their children to UD because of them, according to Delaware Online.
Initially, the university hesitated to fire Dettwyler; instead it sought to distance itself from her as fallout over her comments fallout grew.
In a statement issued by the university issued last week, the school said it condemns messages that endorse hatred.
"The comments of Katherine Dettwyler do not reflect the values or position of the University of Delaware. We condemn any and all messages that endorse hatred and convey insensitivity toward a tragic event such as the one that Otto Warmbier and his family suffered," read a statement issued last week.”
"The University of Delaware values respect and civility and we are committed to global education and study abroad; therefore we find these comments particularly distressing and inconsistent with our values. Our sympathies are with the Warmbier family."
Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was arrested while visiting North Korea, where he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after being accused of stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel. He suffered a neurological injury and went into a coma. He was returned to the United States in that condition and died June 18.
As Philly.com noted, Dettwyler, 62, taught at the school’s anthropology department in the spring as an adjunct professor.