CHICAGO — A professor at a US Christian college who courted controversy after donning a hijab in solidarity with Muslims and was suspended for saying Muslims and Christians worship the same God has agreed to leave her tenured position.
Larycia Hawkins, who’s Christian, posted her views on Facebook and wore a headscarf to show solidarity with Muslims.
Wheaton College officials said she refused to participate in “clarifying conversations” about theological issues. The private evangelical college last Tuesday initiated termination-for-cause proceedings.
Hawkins said she met with administrators several times and provided statements explaining her beliefs, which she believes are line up with the college’s mission. She says she was initially told further discussion wasn’t required. She said then college officials changed requirements, saying her tenure would be revoked while she would have to participate in two years of conversations.
Hawkins said she was standing “in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book.”
Her statement came amid a swell of Islamophobia in the wake of attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.
The school faced a backlash in which it was accused of bigotry and curtailing academic freedom.
Administrators at the suburban Chicago evangelical college said the problem was not the fact that Hawkins donned a hijab, but that she wrote “we worship the same God.”
The idea that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is a direct contradiction of the core of the college’s statement of faith, which affirms that salvation is achieved through Christ alone.
Faculty and staff members are expected to commit to “accept and model” the college’s statement of faith with “integrity, compassion and theological clarity,” Wheaton said in a statement.
While Hawkins received a groundswell of support that included demonstrations on campus, some Muslims also expressed unease at her assertions that they share the same God.
Some also criticized her very act of wearing a hijab.
After initiating a termination process in January, the college and Hawkins said in a joint statement Monday that they had “found a mutual place of resolution and reconciliation.”
The statement said the two parties reached “a confidential agreement under which they will part ways.”