The University of Delaware teacher who stirred outrage with her comments about an American student who died after a year of imprisonment in North Korea won’t return to teaching at the school, officials said.
Katherine Dettwyler, 62, taught at the school’s anthropology department in the spring as an adjunct professor. She “will not be rehired to teach at the University in the future,” according to a statement released by the school.
Dettwyler could not be reached for comment Sunday.
The comments that led to her dismissal focused on Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student who was sentenced in 2016 to 15 years hard labor in North Korea after being convicted of stealing a propaganda poster. Earlier this month, though, Warmbier was released and returned home nearly comatose, a result of extensive brain damage. He died a few days later. It remains unclear what led to his medical condition.
In comments on her now-deleted Facebook profile, Dettwyler said 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,” Dettwyler wrote. “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.”
In a comment on the National Review website, she said she loved the “hard-working, sincere, non-arrogant college students.”
“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.”
On Friday University of Delaware released a statement saying Dettwyler did not speak for the school and was not an employee there when she made her comments.
“Those comments in no way reflect the values or position of the University of Delaware,” the statement reported.