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Suspended 'Hijab Prof' Larycia Hawkins: 'Everyone's in Danger of the Inquisition at Wheaton'

Suspended 'Hijab Prof' Larycia Hawkins: 'Everyone's in Danger of the Inquisition at Wheaton'

Wheaton College students protesting the school's decision to suspend tenured professor Larycia Hawkins on December 16, 2015. | (Photo: Screengrab/ABC 7)

Hawkins refuses to back down from her theological beliefs and seemingly views her ordeal as a campus battle for freedom of speech and conviction. Hawkins has also received the backing of members of the Wheaton faculty, students and alumni, who have called on the administration to reinstate Hawkins.

"There's also this misnomer that I'm creating all of this media for attention," Hawkins said in the Sojourners interview. "No, this is because I'm fighting for my tenure, and my position, and also for my colleagues who are now in danger. If I'm in danger of the inquisition, then so are they. Everyone's in danger of the inquisition at Wheaton. Anything they say could be used against them."

Hawkins also said that she believes that Jones and the Wheaton administration took her Facebook posts out of context.

"One misconception that I have seen is this idea that I must have said Muslims and Christians are the same or I must have said Islam and Christianity are the same," Hawkins explained. "Otherwise, the provost wouldn't have presented me with these charges. And the reality is that's not true. The provost's charges are quite baseless. He took clauses from my two Facebook posts and extrapolated things, and I think that's what people really need to understand."

With Hawkins' Feb. 11 hearing coming up, she hopes that it provides an opportunity for due process.

"My hope for the Feb. 11 hearing is that it will be fair, that the college will hear my witnesses and actually be committed to a rigorous review and due process that I haven't been afforded thus far," Hawkins said. "Prayerfully my colleagues will not be fearful. The problem is plenty of people on campus — faculty, colleagues — are fearful. And I lament that I have to put them in the position of deciding whether to go on the record. But they have knowledge and information that's very helpful."

Earlier this month, Wheaton's Faculty Council voted unanimously to support the professor and call on the school to drop its termination proceedings. However, the school is moving forward with the termination process despite the council's recommendation.

"President [Philip] Ryken and the Faculty Council have discussed a review of current policies and processes, with a view to addressing or clarifying areas of concern," a statement from the college reads. "However, Dr. Ryken has also asked Faculty Council to understand that the Faculty Personnel Committee hearing is the method through which the particulars of Dr. Hawkins' personnel matter will be addressed."

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