Twenty political scientists who graduated from Wheaton College wrote an open letter to their alma mater. The professors are asking Wheaton College’s president and board of trustees to reinstate Professor Larycia Hawkins, halt the process of terminating her with cause, and work toward reconciliation.
“We implore Wheaton College to find a way to allow Professor Hawkins to continue her service to the college and its students as a tenured professor,” the signers wrote. “We believe that a good first step will be to reinstate Professor Hawkins and suspend the termination process so that everyone can work toward a common goal of reconciliation.”
The signers said that they are very concerned that the college violated Professor Hawkins’ right to due process and to academic freedom. The signers expressed how the college’s actions have unfairly Professor Hawkins, hampered the ability of alumni to pursue an academic vocation in political science, and damaged the ability to attract excellent faculty (particularly female and minority faculty).
University of Tennessee professor Jana Morgan said, “As colleagues and alumni of Wheaton, we are saddened by what appears to be an egregious violation of due process and a serious threat to academic freedom at the College. Wheaton College should be a model of how Christian communities work through differences in love, of believing the best not assuming the worst.”
Point Loma professor Linda Beail said, “Solidarity is quite different than conflating identity. Solidarity is a way of recognizing important differences, while trying to build understanding across them. In attempting to embody solidarity with Muslims who might have been feeling frightened in public after the horrific Paris attacks, Professor Hawkins was not blurring the lines and conflating Islam with Christianity. Rather, she was acknowledging her very different faith as a Christian while offering love and understanding rather than fear, hate or demonization.”
A full copy of the letter can be found HERE or at tobingrant.religionnews.com/2016/02/02/wheaton-alumni-political-scientists-letter-larycia-hawkins/