Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science at Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian university in Illinois, was suspended Tuesday after saying that Muslims and Christians worship the same god. Wheaton College stated Hawkins was placed on leave because, “in response to significant questions regarding the theological implications of statements that [Hawkins] has made about the relationship of Christianity to Islam.” these views conflict with the college’s statement of faith, to which all faculty members pledge to commit.
Hawkins has been wearing a hijab for the last month to show an “embodied solidarity” with Muslims this month and said she’d wear it throughout Advent season.
Hawkins posted her stance on Facebook last week:
Students have been showing support for the tenured professor and issued a statement to the college via a petition requesting her to be reinstated:
The statement reads in part:
“In the midst of a toxic socio-political environment where Muslims are the target of stigmatization, acts of aggression, and proposed policy which targets and alienates them, Dr. Hawkins acted in love and in solidarity to be an example of how Christ would respond. We believe there is nothing in Dr. Hawkins’ public statements that goes against the belief in the power and nature of God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit that the Statement of Faith deems as a necessary requirement for affiliation with Wheaton College.”
Hawkins is the first African-American woman to become a tenured professor at Wheaton.