The college that placed a professor on leave for wearing a Hijab in December has now issued a “Notice of Recommendation to Initiate Termination-for-Cause Proceedings” against the woman.
Larycia Hawkins, Associate Professor of Political Science at Wheaton College, was put on administrative leave “to explore significant questions regarding the theological implications of her recent public statements, including but not limited to those indicating the relationship of Christianity to Islam” the school said via a statement.
Hawkins, who continues to do research, states that her projects are “the moral framing of the black policy agenda” and “black political churches, according to her biography. Beginning on the night that she posted on Facebook, she made a vow that she would show “embodied solidarity” by wearing a hijab while on campus, in the city of Chicago, in the airport, and in church.
While the school states that they support the free exercise of religion, their actions oppose their declarations. According to the New York Daily News, Wheaton College’s administration thinks that her Facebook statuses conflict with the institution’s religious claims, particularly when Hawkins stated that Christians and Muslims “worship the same God.”
Aside from her Facebook posts, Hawkins has declined to further explain her religious views. The school is currently debating whether or not she should be allowed to teach American government, religion, and policy. The Wheaton College Board of Trustees will conclude that debate in 30 days.
Larycia Hawkins stated in a Facebook post, “I stand in religious solidarity because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book” as she wore her hijab in solidarity with Muslims after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernandino.
A Washington Post op-ed made the bold claim that the Wheaton professor’s suspension was not about theological opinions, but rather anti-Muslim bigotry. The author, Miroslav Wolf, asserted the statement that counteracts Hawkins’ critics, “What is theologically wrong with asserting that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, according to Hawkins’s opponents — and mine?”
(Photo Credit: Stevan Sheets / Flickr)