Norwegian University of Science and Technology is one of Norway's leading universities. Photo: NTNU
Over the weekend, the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology posted a message on its Facebook page for its students on international postings, advising them to heed the latest advice from Norway's foreign ministry on the coronavirus pandemic, and return back to Norway.
“This applies especially,” the message said, “if you are staying in a country with poorly developed health services and infrastructure and/or collective infrastructure, for example the USA.”
But on Monday, after a storm of social media criticism, the message was changed, stripping out all mention of the US.
Anne Dahl, communications advisor for the university's rector, told state broadcaster NRK that the university had decided to change the post because the furore was distracting people from the serious underlying message.
“We do not want the expression of a single phrase to overshadow important information, so the specific wording about the US was removed,” she wrote in an email.
The original wording was quickly picked up by Twitter commentators in the US.
It then got viral news coverage, with both conservative outlets like Fox News, and left-of-centre newspapers like the UK's Independent picking up the story.
Several people flocked to the original post to attack the university in the comments.
The post was then changed on Monday to remove all reference to the US.