Delaware school cuts professor over post on North Korea captive

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 26, 2017 3:28 PM

By Riham Alkousaa

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The University of Delaware has cut ties with an anthropology professor who posted on Facebook that an American student who died last week after his release from a North Korean prison "got exactly what he deserved."

Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student, was "typical of a mindset of a lot of the young, white, rich, clueless males who come into my classes," wrote Katherine Dettwyler, 62, who taught at the university during the spring semester under a now-expired contract.

"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," the adjunct professor said in a comment about a National Review article.

Warmbier, who was 22, was arrested in January 2016 and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after being accused of stealing a propaganda poster from his Pyongyang hotel. On June 13, a North Korean state court had ordered him released, but he returned home with a severe, unexplained neurological injury.

Dettwyler blamed the student’s parents for "his growing up thinking he could get away with whatever he wanted."

In response to her comments, which no longer appear online, the University of Delaware said it would not rehire her.

"The comments of Dettwyler do not reflect the values or position of the University of Delaware," it said in a statement on Sunday.

On Monday, the professor declined to comment on the decision.

"Because of all the death threats directed at me and members of my extended family, I have made the decision not to speak on the record to anyone in the media," Dettwyler said in an email.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa in New York; editing by Frank McGurty and Grant McCool)