Professor at Christian college who wore hijab in 'solidarity' with Muslims leaves school
A political science professor from Wheaton College, a small Christian school outside of Chicago, who wore a hijab to proclaim her "solidarity" with Muslims, has "found a mutual place of resolution and reconciliation” with the school and the two will part ways.
Larycia Hawkins also said that her gesture was an acknowledgment that Muslims and Christians worship the same god.
After recommending that she be fired, the college's Provost withdrew his request and turned the matter over to the college president who reached the confidential agreement with Hawkins that has led to her leaving the school without being fired.
Wheaton Provost Stanton Jones told professors in an email Saturday night that he had turned over the decision of whether to vacate the administrative leave of their colleague Larycia Hawkins to college president Philip Ryken.
“I stand by my concerns that Dr. Hawkins’ theological statements raised important questions,” Jones wrote to faculty. “However, in light of the deficiencies in my early responses, and recognizing that Dr. Hawkins’ Theological Response was a promising start toward answering satisfactorily some of the questions that I was raising at the time, I revoked the (recommendation for termination) and turned resolution of the administrative leave over to President Ryken.”
In January, the college’s faculty council, 10 professors elected by their peers, unanimously recommended withdrawing Hawkings’ suspension and halting termination proceedings against the associate professor of political science, “due to grave concerns about the process.”
In December, Hawkins, 43, announced on Facebook that she would don a hijab as part of her Advent devotion to show support for Muslims who had been under scrutiny since mass shootings in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif.
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” she posted on Facebook, along with a photograph of herself in a hijab. “And as Pope Francis stated … we worship the same God.”
Within days, the college placed Hawkins on paid administrative leave through the spring semester, pending a review.
According to the private evangelical college, not clarifying what makes Christianity distinct from Islam put Hawkins in conflict with Wheaton’s statement of faith.
Though she submitted a theological response to questions about her statement of solidarity, Jones said it did not resolve the issues.
Hawkins said the college had recommended she resign. She said the college also proposed a two-year revocation of her tenure, during which time she would continue conversations about the theological implications of her statements and her decision to wear the hijab.
Wheaton's "statement of faith" appears to be a pile of mush. You can point out the differences between Christianity and Islam without being a bigot. But such a stance requires courage these days - something Wheaton authorities apparently lack.
That the Wheaton administrators bowed to political correctness on such a fundamental issue of faith is troubling. If I were a parent and was sending my child to a Christian school because of its purported dedication to Christian principles, I would think twice about enrolling them in Wheaton.