The University of Delaware has dropped an adjunct anthropology professor after she said that Otto Warmbier, who died after being imprisoned in North Korea, “got exactly what he deserved” as a “clueless white male.”
“The University of Delaware has announced that Katherine Dettwyler, who last taught in the spring as an adjunct faculty member, will not be rehired to teach at the University in the future,” the school said in a statement.
Ms. Dettwyler was not employed by the university when she posted a June 21 comment blasting the 22-year-old Warmbier, who died June 19 after suffering a severe brain injury as he served a 15-year sentence of hard labor for removing a propaganda poster at his hotel.
“Is it wrong of me to think that Otto Warmbier got exactly what he deserved?” asked Ms. Dettwyler in her since-deleted Facebook post, captured on Campus Reform.
She said Mr. Warmbier, who was visiting the country with a group as a tourist, “acted like a spoiled, naïve, arrogant US college student who had never had to face the consequences of his actions,” and blamed his parents.
“His parents, ultimately, are to blame for his growing up thinking he could get away with whatever he wanted,” Ms. Dettwyler said. “Maybe 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 Otto’s parents who will pay the price for the rest of their lives.”
The post touched off a firestorm on social media that included calls for her firing. The Student Government Association released a statement calling her comments “assumptive and offensive,” according to the University of Delaware Review.
In its statement, the university said that her remarks “in no way reflect the values or position of the University of Delaware.”
“The University of Delaware is committed to providing our students, and our community, with an inclusive and supportive atmosphere characterized by respect and civility,” said the statement.
Mr. Warmbier was released after 17 months in captivity in a coma that North Korean authorities attributed to botulism.
His doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said they found no evidence of botulism but that he was in a state of “unresponsive wakefulness” after suffering extensive loss of brain tissue.
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said Mr. Warmbier was “murdered by the King Jong-un regime,” while Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said that North Korea would held “accountable” for the student’s “unjust imprisonment.”
Mr. Tillerson also said the State Department is working to secure the release of three other Americans who have also been “illegally detained.”