Wheaton College and Embattled Professor to Part Ways

The private evangelical school and Dr. Larycia Hawkins released a joint statement announcing their "mutual place of resolution" on Saturday

An associate professor at Wheaton College who who asserted Christians and Muslims worship the same God will leave her post at the Christian school, according to a joint statement released Saturday.

In a statement posted on Wheaton's website, the school and Dr. Larycia Hawkins said they "have reached a confidential agreement under which they will part ways." The statement didn't go into details.

Hawkins, an associate professor of political science, had taught at the private evangelical school since 2007. She was placed on administrative leave in December after beginning to wear a hijab and posting several messages on Facebook in "religious solidarity" with Muslims. 

The school said it was Hawkins' words, not her clothing, that necessitated the suspension, saying she made statements "that seem inconsistent with Wheaton College's doctrinal convictions, which she voluntarily agreed to support and uphold when she entered into an employment agreement with the college."

Wheaton College began efforts to fire Hawkins in January after officials said Hawkins refused to participate in "clarifying conversations" about theological issues.

College officials and Hawkins said in the statement that neither will speak publicly about their relationship before a joint news conference scheduled for Wednesday.

"Wheaton College sincerely appreciates Dr. Hawkins’ contributions to this institution over the last nine years," Wheaton College President Dr. Philip Graham Ryken said in the statement. "We are grateful for her passionate teaching, scholarship, community service and mentorship of our students."

Hawkins had maintained that nothing about her views contradict the college's statement of faith, which all instructors sign. Among other things it affirms belief in "one sovereign God," views on Adam and Eve and the existence of Satan.

"I appreciate and have great respect for the Christian liberal arts and the ways that Wheaton College exudes that in its mission, programs, and in the caliber of its employees and students," Hawkins said in the statement.

Nearly 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students attend Wheaton College, which is roughly 30 miles from Chicago.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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