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Prof who said Otto Warmbier ‘got what he deserved’ known for injecting politics into teaching


The University of Delaware professor who posted on social media that now-deceased college student Otto Warmbier “got exactly what he deserved” as a prisoner in North Korea is known for injecting her politics into her teaching.

Earlier last week Katherine Dettwyler put up a post on Facebook (since deleted, but screencaps have been saved on Twitter among other platforms) which said Warmbier “acted like a spoiled, naive, arrogant US college student who never had to face the consequences of his actions.”

She also said Warmbier possessed the “typical mindset of a lot of the young, white, rich, clueless males” she sees in class, and that he was like the “same kids who cry about their grades, or instead of crying, they bluster and threaten their female professors.”

Dettwyler’s RateMyProfessors page features numerous comments about her giving “attitude” when you ask questions, being “easily the rudest professor” ever at the school, and being “way too opinionated to the point where she becomes unprofessional.”

The Review reports that according to U. Delaware junior Nicolas Diclaudio, Dettwyler “would routinely go on political tangents, oftentimes making derogatory remarks about President Donald Trump and his supporters.”

Diclaudio said that Dettwyler’s classroom activity became seriously unacceptable when she began to include her political beliefs in academic assessments, asking questions with intentional ideological bias.

“I would always pick the answer that I knew she wanted because I didn’t want it to affect my grade,” Diclaudio said. “Me and some of my friends would stop going to class and just read the textbook because her lectures got out of hand.”

The Facebook post did not surprise Diclaudio, who referred to it as “The most Kathy thing I’ve ever seen.”

The Review article also includes a photo of a multiple choice test “question” from one of Dettwyler’s classes which states the Trump administration is “diametrically opposed” to traditional American values. The only answer choice is “true.”

That’s because, as the professor told The Review, “the question is clearly true.”

“A couple of students complained about my comments in class about Trump, when what I did was talk about statements he himself had made, and lead the students through and analysis of the underlying cultural beliefs they reflected.” Dettwyler stated. “This is part of my job as an anthropology professor.”

She noted that students were not penalized for bubbling in a different choice on their answer sheet, nor for opting to leave the answer blank altogether.

The College Fix heard from others who had taken classes with the professor. One said “I wouldn’t call her the sharpest tool in the shed … VERY opinionated teaching style” and “may have been one of the only professors I’ve taken the time to rate [on RateMyProfessors].”

Another said Dettwyler was “very dismissive” of students’ opinions and seemed to have an obsession about sports being an “unnatural” human activity.

On Friday, the university responded to the controversy with the following:

UPDATE 2: The Review is reporting that as of approximately 5pm this afternoon, U. Delaware announced Professor Dettwyler “will not be rehired to teach classes at the school in upcoming semesters.”

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include Professor Dettwyler’s response to The Review regarding her test question on President Trump.

Read the full Review story.

MORE: Professor: ‘Spoiled’ Otto Warmbier ‘got exactly what he deserved’

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