WHEATON, Ill. — The Wheaton associate political science director who was placed on leave after she declared in a self-initiated campaign to fight “Islamophobia” that Christians and Muslims worship the same God has now agreed to part ways with the college.
As previously reported, Larycia Hawkins posted to Facebook two photos of herself wearing a hijab last month, and stated in a lengthy explanation that she planned to wear it everywhere she goes during the Advent—including at the Christian college and to church.
“I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor because we are formed of the same primordial clay, descendants of the same cradle of humankind—a cave in Sterkfontein, South Africa that I had the privilege to descend into to plumb the depths of our common humanity in 2014,” Hawkins wrote.
She said that not only does she have a common ancestry with Muslims, but that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” Hawkins asserted. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”
In light of controversy over the matter, the professor was placed on paid administrative leave by university officials while a review would be conducted.
“Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s faith foundations with integrity, compassion, and theological clarity,” the college said in a statement. “As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the college’s evangelical Statement of Faith.”
But talks soon reached a stalemate, and officials soon issued Hawkins a “Notice of Recommendation to Initiate Termination-for-Cause Proceedings.”
On Saturday, just days before a meeting was to be held over the proceedings, Wheaton announced that the two parties had agreed to part ways.
“The administration and Dr. Hawkins have come to a place of resolution and reconciliation,” said President Philip Ryken said in an email to the campus. “With a mutual desire for God’s blessing, we have decided to part ways.”
The college also announced that it has revoked its charges against the professor. Provost Stan Jones that he personally apologized to Hawkins.
“I asked Dr. Hawkins for her forgiveness for the ways I contributed to the fracture of our relationship, and to the fracture of Dr. Hawkins’ relationship with the college,” he explained in a separate email. “I apologized for my lack of wisdom and collegiality as I initially approached Dr. Hawkins, and for imposing an administrative leave more precipitously than was necessary.”
Jones, however, also added, “I stand by my concerns that Dr. Hawkins’s theological statements raised important questions.”
Hawkins is expected to say her goodbyes at a worship service on Tuesday at Edman Memorial Chapel.
“Both parties share a commitment to care for the oppressed and the marginalized, including those who are marginalized because of their religious beliefs, and to respectful dialogue with people of other faiths or no faith,” the college also said in a joint statement on Saturday. “While parting ways, both Wheaton College and Dr. Hawkins wish the best for each other in their ongoing work.”