Larycia Hawkins is an associate professor at Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts school near Chicago, but perhaps not for much longer. Hawkins has come under fire from the school’s administration for statements she wrote in a Facebook post, which explained her decision to wear a hijab during the Advent season leading up to Christmas.
, but she thinks the hijab is one of the reasons she could get fired from her position as a tenured professor of political science, despite Wheaton’s insistence that it’s not.
“I can’t speak for Wheaton, but some of the constituents who really plug into Wheaton, and that Wheaton is concerned about, have a problem with [the hijab],” Hawkins told INSIDER.
Wheaton hasn’t responded to questions submitted for comment.
The school insists that the reason they have started a termination proceeding against Hawkins is because of something she wrote on Facebook. Announcing her plan to wear a hijab in December, she explained in the post “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.”
According to a statement, Wheaton is concerned that Hawkins’ public statements don’t align with the college’s Christian statement of faith.
“Contrary to some media reports, social media activity and subsequent public perception, Dr. Hawkins’ administrative leave resulted from theological statements that seemed inconsistent with Wheaton College’s doctrinal convictions, and is in no way related to her race, gender, or commitment to wear a hijab during Advent,” Wheaton’s administration said in a statement released December 16th.
But Hawkins said that some of Wheaton’s constituents who didn’t like the image of a professor at Wheaton wearing a hijab may have had an impact on the action taken against her by the administration.
“I saw some responses that seemed to imply that there was something about a black, female body in a hijab, who claims to be a Christian, was off. That the optic really did matter to them. It wasn’t just the ‘same God’ statement,” Hawkins said. “Why I’m being treated differently than other people on campus who have said the same thing, I don’t know.”
Wheaton College’s Board of Trustees will have the final say as to whether Hawkins is fired or not.
Story and editing by Andrew Fowler
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