Report: Wheaton College, suspended professor in stalemate
Talks between Wheaton College officials and a political science professor who was suspended after saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God have reached a stalemate, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday night.
Larycia Hawkins, a Christian who has posted photos of herself on social media wearing a hijab to show solidarity with Muslim women, told the newspaper she will not accept the college's proposal to teach again next fall in exchange for revoking her tenure for at least two years. Hawkins said the college appears to be moving toward termination, while she has rejected suggestions to resign, the Tribune reported.
"I was naively thinking they wanted to cooperate," she said. "I have tenure, and I have to fight for that."
In a statement to the Tribune, the college said discussions toward reconciliation are at an impasse.
"On the part of the college, further theological clarification is necessary before such reconciliation can take place, and unfortunately Dr. Hawkins has stated clearly her unwillingness to participate in such further clarifying conversations," the college's statement said.
Hawkins was put on administrative leave on Dec. 15 for the spring semester, pending a full review, which she is entitled to as a tenured faculty member.
Her comments about Islam and Christianity came Dec. 10 in a posting on Facebook.
"I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity," she wrote. "I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God."
In a previous statement, the college said it had "significant questions regarding the theological implications" of what Hawkins said about the relationship of Christianity to Islam.
"While Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, we believe there are fundamental differences between the two faiths, including what they teach about God's revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation, and the life of prayer," the college said.