Hours after Wheaton College Provost Stanton Jones issued an apology to Dr. Larycia Hawkins — the professor who had been put on administrative leave following comments that Christians and Muslims worship the 'same God' — the college and Hawkins released a joint statement announcing that they will part ways.
The statement indicated they found "a mutual place of resolution and reconciliation."
“Wheaton College sincerely appreciates Dr. Hawkins’ contributions to this institution over the last nine years,” says Wheaton College President Dr. Philip Graham Ryken. “We are grateful for her passionate teaching, scholarship, community service and mentorship of our students.”
In reflecting on her years at Wheaton, Dr. Hawkins says, “I appreciate and have great respect for the Christian liberal arts and the ways that Wheaton College exudes that in its mission, programs, and in the caliber of its employees and students.” Both parties share a commitment to care for the oppressed and the marginalized, including those who are marginalized because of their religious beliefs, and to respectful dialogue with people of other faiths or no faith. While parting ways, both Wheaton College and Dr. Hawkins wish the best for each other in their ongoing work.
Over a month after recommending the termination of Larycia Hawkins for her comment that Christians and Muslims worship the "same God," Wheaton Provost Stanton Jones has changed his mind.
In a letter to Wheaton faculty on Feb. 6 hours before the joint statement was released, Jones issued a number of apologies to Hawkins and announced that he revoked his notice recommending her termination, and "turned resolution of administrative leave over to President Ryken."
This joint statement comes just days after an internal memo from a Wheaton College faculty diversity committee described the college's actions as “discriminatory on the basis of race and gender, and, to a lesser extent, marital status.” The memo, obtained by TIME, was clear to say "discrimination can and does occur even when people of goodwill don’t intend it."
In his letter to faculty, Jones still maintained that Hawkins' statements "raised important theological questions," but now confesses his "earlier deficiences," and says "Dr. Hawkins’ Theological Response was a promising start toward answering satisfactorily some of the questions that I was raising."
Jones also apologized for his "lack of wisdom and collegiality as I initially approached Hawkins" and for publicly announcing disciplinary action without adequately consulting Hawkins.
Wheaton College will hold a joint press conference with Hawkins at 10 a.m. on Feb. 10 at Chicago Temple First United Methodist Church. According to the joint statement, neither party will speak to the news media before then.