WILMINGTON, Del. – An American professor is in hot water over comments she made regarding the death of a U.S. student who was held captive in North Korea.
Last week, U.S. student Otto Warmbier died after being held in North Korea for the past 17 months.
The 22-year-old college student suffered severe brain damage during his 17 months of detention, doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said. After returning to the United States, Warmbier continued to suffer from “unresponsive wakefulness,” also known as a persistent vegetative state, meaning he was awake at times but not aware of his surroundings or himself.
“When Otto returned to Cincinnati late on June 13th he was unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands,” his parents explained Monday, describing his appearance as “very uncomfortable — almost anguished.”
Less than a week after returning to the U.S., Warmbier died from severe brain injuries.
Now, an American professor is in hot water for comments she made on social media following Warmbier’s death.
According to The Wilmington News Journal, University of Delaware anthropology professor Kathy Dettwyler wrote on her personal Facebook page that Otto 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,” the professor reportedly continued. “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.”
The University of Delaware issued a statement on Twitter, saying that the Dettwyler’s views “do not reflect the values or position of the University of Delaware.”
“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 statement read.