Wheaton College, professor said to be trying to reconcile
A Wheaton College professor suspended for saying Muslims and Christians worship the same God said Thursday she has submitted a theological statement requested by school administrators, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday night.
"I am committed to engaging in dialogue with appropriate colleagues at Wheaton toward the goal of reaching reconciliation so that I may continue to live out my vocation as a Christian scholar and teacher with my faculty colleagues and my remarkable students," Larycia Hawkins said in a statement Thursday, according to the Tribune.
The Tribune also said students who have protested the professor's suspension have met with the college's president and provost and said they believe the two sides are working toward reconciliation.
Hawkins said on Facebook that Christians and Muslims worship the same God as part of an explanation of why she chose to wear a hijab, a Muslim head scarf, during Advent. She said she was showing solidarity for Muslim women facing discrimination.
College President Philip Ryken said in a statement the issue wasn't Hawkins wearing a hijab but the "theological implications" of what she said, which may not have "faithfully represented" the college's Statement of Faith. She is suspended through the spring semester.
On Wednesday, as the story made national news headlines, nearly 100 Wheaton students and alumni rallied outside the college's Blanchard Hall holding signs and chanting "Reinstate Doc Hawk!" and "We love Wheaton College. Jesus is love." A few people in the crowd came out in support of Ryken's decision.
The peaceful protesters held a "sit-in" in Ryken's office, delivering a letter to him and Provost Stan Jones. The letter (now part of an online petition) demands that Hawkins receive an apology and be immediately reinstated. It also praised Hawkins as a person and a professor, calling her "an example of Christian leadership to us all."
But some Wheaton College students told ABC 7Hawkins was in the wrong.
"To say we worship the same God is completely not true, and it misrepresents the student body. It misrepresents the institution itself," Nathan Simon told ABC 7.
During a news conference Wednesday in Chicago, Hawkins, surrounded by Christian ministers, said she stands by her online comments and does not believe she violated the school's Statement of Faith.
"This Advent I'm standing with my Muslim neighbors out of my love for Jesus and the love I believe he has for all of the world," according to a report on abc7chicago.com.