Wheaton College

Wheaton College Will Fire Professor After God Issues

Wheaton College
By Christoffer Lukas Müller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Wheaton moves to fire professor Larycia Hawkins over talk on Islam.

Larycia Hawkins, a professor of Wheaton College who wore a hijab to teach her classes, was subject to proceedings related to termination for cause. The college, situated in suburban Chicago, said that she did not participate in the clarification of theological issues. Hawkins, on her part, said that she will continue to give support to the Muslim community.

Wheaton College Will Fire Professor After God Issues[/tweetthis]

The problems for Hawkins started when she quoted Pope Francis and said that both Muslims and Christians pray to the same God. The college said in its statement that contrary to a few media reports and social media activity, the paid administrative leave of Dr. Hawkins was a result of theological statements made by her which contradicted the doctrinal convictions of Wheaton College. The authorities pointed out that Hawkins had voluntarily consented to uphold and support the same convictions at the time of signing her employment documents. Wheaton also stated that the events were independent of her gender or race. Hawkins holds the post of Associate Professor, Political Science and she is a Christian.

Wheaton College has put Hawkins on paid administrative leave beginning December. She had begun to wear a hijab, the headscarf usually worn by Muslim women. Incidentally, she wore the hijab during the Advent season.

Hawkins was clearly defiant when she interacted with the media from the church pulpit inside the downtown-located Chicago Temple Building. With her hair uncovered and down, she was flanked by a number of religious leaders. Hawkins praised Wheaton College but questioned the commitment of the school to foster discussions concerning faith and support for people who do not follow the Christian faith. She lauded the school for its high position among the liberal arts colleges in the United States.

Wheaton College presently has about 2,400 students in its register. It is located in the west suburbia of Wheaton. The college is known as the alma mater of Billy Graham, the noted evangelist. Incidentally, Hawkins was the first African-American woman who was granted tenure by Wheaton. The school had given a notice to Hawkins stating that it had started a process which may culminate in her termination. The college, in its previous statement, said that Hawkins declined to have any dialogue with the college officials to clarify the statements she had made. Hawkins countered the statement made by the college and said that she had written a statement as per the request made by the college.


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