Professor: Otto Warmbier got ‘what he deserved'

WILMINGTON, Del. — People from all over the country are calling for a University of Delaware adjunct professor to be fired after she wrote on Facebook that Otto Warmbier "got exactly what he deserved" after being taken into custody by North Korea, falling into a coma and dying.

On her personal Facebook page, Kathy Dettwyler, an anthropology professor, wrote Tuesday that Warmbier 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."

Read more:

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Dettwyler made similar remarks in the comments section of an article published by the National Review. Her Facebook page has since been taken down or made private.

Warmbier, who died on Monday, was a University of Virginia student visiting North Korea in January 2016 when he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years hard labor after being accused of stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel.

Two months after his sentence he suffered a neurological injury and went into a coma. He was returned to his family last week and died shortly thereafter.

The university released the following statement regarding Dettwyler's online comments about Warmbier:

"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.

"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."

The tweet has been shared by thousands, many of whom called for Dettwyler's resignation/termination and said they would not be sending their children to the university in light of her comments.

When asked if any disciplinary action would be taken against Dettwyler, university spokeswoman Andrea Boyle said, "We are not able to comment on the specifics of her employment. Personnel matters are confidential."

Dettwlyer, reached by email, had no comment.

Follow Jessica Bies on Twitter: @jessicajbies

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