Wheaton College’s faculty council has unanimously asked the Illinois school’s administration to withdraw its recommendation that Larycia Hawkins have her tenure and employment terminated.
Hawkins, an associate professor of political science, told CT she felt “strengthened” by the decision. Wheaton told CT the college “respects the viewpoints” of the council, but plans for a hearing (as spelled out in the faculty handbook) will continue.
Wheaton faculty were informed of the council’s vote yesterday. “Following recent discussions between faculty council, President [Philip] Ryken and Provost [Stanton] Jones, [we] unanimously recommended to administration that the administrative leave and the notification of termination ‘for cause’ of Dr. Larycia Hawkins be withdrawn due to grave concerns about the process,” wrote New Testament professor Lynn Cohick on behalf of the council.
The Faculty Council is distinct from the Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC), the body in front of which Hawkins and the administration will make their cases at a February hearing. (The chair of the FPC abstained from the council’s vote.)
In its email, the council listed five questions that faculty intend to ask administrators during a listening session this afternoon:
Does the College have a position on what can or cannot be said regarding the question: “Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?”
What is the process for determining acceptable interpretations of the Statement of Faith? Do faculty have a role in this process? How will faculty know if their views and/or statements are in danger of being judged unacceptable?
Is it considered proper process to place a faculty member on leave based on public statements that could be outside the statement of faith before there is a process of interpretation?
What is Administrative Leave, and how does the Employee Handbook relate to the Faculty Handbook in the case of disciplinary situations?
What policies are in place for administration to deal with “emergency” social media situations?