Everyone is talking about Wheaton College and Larycia Hawkins. Even the president of the other Wheaton College is getting heat for it.
Over the past week or so I have been in communication with a few Wheaton faculty members to learn more about what is happening in this whole Larycia Hawkins affair. What I have learned is that the faculty seem to know just as much as everyone else.
Noah Toly is one of Hawkins’s colleagues in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Wheaton. He also directs the college’s Center for Urban Engagement. He is the first Wheaton professor to write something publicly about what is happening.
Here is a taste:
In recent weeks, many have asked why more Wheaton College faculty have not spoken publicly about the recent controversy surrounding the college’s actions against our colleague, Dr. Larycia Hawkins. To some outside of higher education, the relative quiet of our faculty has seemed to suggest either fear or agreement. There are indeed some who fear reprisal – not only those who don’t defend Dr. Hawkins for fear of administrative and board action, but those who don’t defend the institution for fear of alienating many colleagues. There certainly are some who disagree with Dr. Hawkins. There may be some who agree with the administration’s decision to place her on administrative leave and ultimately to initiate termination proceedings. (It is important to note that disagreeing with Dr. Hawkins does not imply agreeing with the administration’s actions.) But I don’t believe these reasons account for the low volume of the faculty response.
Speaking for myself: I have not spoken publicly about the affair until the past two days. I have fielded a barrage of questions from friends, acquaintances, and professional associates (family mercifully spared me from this conversation during holiday visits). I have written letters of concern to the college administration and to our faculty representatives. But I have kept most of my commentary “in-house” and none of it has been public.
My reasons for keeping this conversation in-house until now are neither fear nor agreement. Though John Fea has written that it’s possible “no one at Wheaton College is safe,” I don’t fear whims or witch-hunts. There may be many reasons for that. Some may say that I’m constitutionally defective in my sense of fear. Some will say that because I’m a white male, I have nothing to worry about. And perhaps I rightly trust our administration and board, even when I think the college has done something wrong. In any case, no – it’s not fear.
Read the rest here.