The Chronicle of Higher Education has weighed-in on the Larcyia Hakwins case at Wheaton College. Here is a taste:
Yet Ms. Hawkins and others question how welcoming Wheaton is of diverse viewpoints and styles. “All evangelical colleges have to ask what diversity means,” said Gary M. Burge, a professor of New Testament who added that he finds Ms. Hawkins’s views in keeping with the faith statement. “Genuine diversity is going to stretch the margins of what’s comfortable for us.”
Michael S. Hamilton, an associate professor of history at Seattle Pacific University who has written about Wheaton and other religious colleges, said Wheaton is often uncomfortable with people who don’t fit into its Northern, white, fundamentalist tradition. “If you don’t sit in that tradition, then you don’t fit at Wheaton. But if you don’t fit in that tradition, they will pin your nonconformity to the faith statement,” he said. “That’s what’s happening in the case of Larycia Hawkins.”
Faculty members also worry about how much external constituents’ prejudices are pressuring the administration. Time magazine excerpted an email that Mr. Jones sent to another professor, in which he described Ms. Hawkins’s Facebook statements as “innocuous” but noted that “the media are pounding on our door asking for comments about our faculty who are endorsing Islam.”
Ms. Hawkins said that Mr. Jones had told her that hundreds of students had already withdrawn their applications. Mr. Jones said that’s not accurate. “We did, however, discuss the numerous responses the college was receiving, and that this could have negative implications for applications,” he said.
“I don’t think the administration is being racist in singling her out for her recent comments,” said Mr. Toly. “I fear that in the background of many concerns raised by external constituencies there may be systemic undercurrents of racial issues that are at play that we don’t want to acknowledge.”
Ms. Hawkins’s case may be resolved within the next month. The administration has compiled a roughly 40-page memo, she said, outlining why she should be fired, including her assertion of religious solidarity with Muslims and Jews, and that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
Christianity Today, the voice of American evangelicalism, has also published an editorial on the matter. The magazine will not take a side, but it calls for reason and reconciliation.