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One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other.

If you know anything about us, it is that we are huge defenders of speech and the First Amendment. We will fight, argue and advocate for increasing the “marketplace of ideas” rather than government censorship or the government allowing others to censor people while at a government event.

We may find the ideas that people espouse to be ridiculous and vile, but we will defend their rights to be sphincter muscles.

There are two case going around and frankly, we have been disappointed in the response from conservatives on at least one of them.

First is the case of Essex County College Adjunct Professor Lisa Durdin.

Earlier this month, political commentator Lisa Durden gave a fiery interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, defending a Black Lives Matter chapter’s decision to host a Memorial Day event exclusively for black people.

“Boo-hoo-hoo,” Lisa Durden, who is also an adjunct professor at Essex County College in Newark, said in the June 6 television appearance. “You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your ‘white privilege’ card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter’s all-black Memorial Day celebration.”

In the heated exchange, Carlson responded by calling her “hostile and separatist and crazy.”

“You’re demented actually,” he said. “You’re sick and what you’re saying is disgusting and if you were a Nazi I would say the same thing to you.”

Durden’s remarks spurred both criticism and praise on social media. But what happened less than 48 hours later prompted an even stronger reaction.

On June 8, with about a week left of her summer session of teaching, Durden’s employers at Essex County College suspended her. About two weeks later, Durden was fired from the community college.

The college’s president announced the decision in a lengthy statement Friday, days after Durden met with school officials in a community forum.

It is stunning to us that a college professor would not only sanction, but advocate for segregation. Furthermore, what white person wants to sit in a class taught by a woman who thinks they have some sort of “white privilege” card. How can anyone in that class think they are being graded on the basis of their work and not the color of their skin?

There are a lot of people in this world who like to make outrageous statements to get attention and perhaps that is what Durden was doing. It doesn’t mean that Durden’s comments don’t reflect what she thinks.

Either way, Durden’s comments came back onto the college who fired her.

She’s a bully, a racist, a bigot and now she’s unemployed.


Then there is the case of the University of Delaware adjunct professor Katherine Dettwyler.

Dettwyler made the comment 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 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.”

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.

In case you aren’t aware of who Otto Warmbier was:

Otto Frederick Warmbier (December 12, 1994 – June 19, 2017) was an American university student who, while visiting North Korea as a tourist in January 2016, was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after being convicted of stealing a propaganda banner from his hotel.

Two months after his imprisonment, Warmbier suffered severe neurological injury from an unknown cause. North Korean authorities said Warmbier’s coma was a result of botulism and a sleeping pill, although U.S. physicians found no evidence of botulism. The United States made diplomatic efforts to seek Warmbier’s release, and Warmbier was released in June 2017, while in a coma after nearly 18 months in captivity. Warmbier arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 13 and was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center for immediate evaluation and treatment.

Warmbier died on June 19, 2017, six days after his return to the United States. Some U.S. officials blamed North Korea for his death. He was one of 16 American citizens detained by North Korea since 1996, including three who are still in custody.

This is the content of the Facebook post which has since been deleted:

Is it wrong of me to think that Otto Warmbier got exactly what he deserved?

He went to North Korea for f*** sake, and then acted like a spoiled, naive, arrogant, US college student who never had to face the consequences of his actions.

I see him crying at his sentencing hearing and think ‘What did you expect?’

How about the moments of thought give to all the other people in North Korea who are suffering under the repressive government there? Just because they are north Koreans, and not US citizens, we shouldn’t care about them?

I’ve spent my life teaching folks just like Otto (I’m a 62 year old college professor of anthropology) and Otto is typical of the mindset of a lot of the young, white, rich, clueles (sic) 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. They simply deserve a good grade for being who they are.

Or instead of crying, they bluster and threaten their female professors. 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 Otto’s parents who will pay the price for the rest of their lives.

Even if Warmbier did steal a poster (and there seems to be evidence that he did not) no one deserves to be sentenced to 15 years hard labor for a poster. No one deserves to be brutalized and tortured for a poster. Most of all, no one deserves to die over a poster.

Yet Dettwyler, a teacher of young men and woman, decided that Warmbier “got what he deserved.”

And she said this not even 24 hours after Warmbier’s death. His body wasn’t even cold and she thought it was right and appropriate to say “he got what he deserved.”

This is a vile, racist, bigoted woman who lacks morals and any empathy at all.

The University of Delaware responded saying her comments did not reflect that of the University. (Glad to hear that.)

The University said that they had gotten many calls, letters and emails from families and students attending the school as well as those who were thinking of attending the school. Many of the communications from parents said they would not send their sons and daughters to the school.

Faced with that response from people paying the bills, the University of Delaware cut ties with Dettwyler and sent her on her way.


Conservatives called for both women to be let go and we have seen articles reveling in the women not teaching at the college level anymore.

There are problems with that glee as far as we are concerned.

First, both women (vile as they are) were not speaking as representative of their respective schools. Durden was introduced as an “author and political commentator.” Dettwyler’s comments were made from and on her private Facebook account which did not identify her as working for or representing the University of Delaware.

Secondly, both woman worked at public institutions. Neither college is private. That means that the government took action against both women in response to their speech – speech that was not associated with their schools.

That’s a problem.

Yet there is a key difference between the two cases.

In Durden’s case, she was teaching at the time she made the comments. She was also fired from her job while teaching. In firing her, the government punished her for her speech.

Dettwylyer, on the other hand was not teaching any summer courses. She was not in the employment of the school.

As adjunct professors, both women were hired on a contractual basis each semester or academic year.

Durden was fired while in the middle of her contract for her speech. The government punished her for her speech.

Instead of applauding her firing, conservatives and supporters of the First Amendment should be upset at the woman’s rights being violated. (Vile, nasty people have rights too.)

Dettwyler was no longer an employee of the University of Delaware. She was not under contract and the school has every right not to hire her back. We know that we wouldn’t want such a mean spirited, horrific witch working for us, much less teaching our kids. Why should the University of Delaware not feel the same way?

Unfortunately Durden will probably sue Essex County College and she will most likely win. Her bigotry and racism will cost taxpayers money to pay her off.

Dettwyler is different though. She doesn’t have the same claim.

In case we haven’t made this point clear, Dettwyler and Durden are horrific people who embody the worst in mankind. Their ideas are as reprehensible as they are, but in at least one case, the ideas are protected speech.

Frankly, we would have much preferred that students and other faculty engaged them in a dialogue over their hatred and when that failed, boycott their classes. Make it known on campus what horrible women these two are.

We support their right to make statements that prove they are not worthy of being called “human beings.” We would rather the darkness in their hearts and souls be exposed where it can be attacked by other speech rather than the government censoring them.

Sometimes it is difficult in trying to be a principled defender of the First Amendment.



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