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Wheaton students protest for professor's reinstatement

Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins was surrounded by supporters at a news conference Jan. 6, 2016. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

About 100 Wheaton College students demonstrated outside the school’s chapel Monday, calling for administrators to reinstate professor Larycia Hawkins, who was placed on leave for saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

The protest coincided with the school’s regular chapel service on the first day of the semester.

Hawkins, who teaches political science, first drew attention when she announced she’d wear a hijab during Advent to show solidarity with Muslims.

Last week Hawkins defended her Christian faith and her devotion to the ideal of academic and spiritual debate during a news conference in downtown Chicago surrounded by religious leaders from across the region.

Hawkins was notified Jan 4. the college had taken steps toward firing her.

The Christian college of 2,400 students in west suburban Wheaton, best known as the alma mater of notable evangelist Billy Graham, announced Hawkins had been suspended last month, claiming statements Hawkins made in a Facebook post that Muslims and Christians “worship the same God” conflicted with the “statement of faith” the school requires all faculty to sign each year. Hawkins had been the first African-American woman granted tenure by the school and had clashed previously with the college administration.

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Read more about the protest at The Daily Herald.