A college professor was suspended for her decision to wear a hijab. According to the Chicago Tribune, Dr. Larycia Hawkins was punished by Wheaton College.
Hawkins, who serves as a political science professor, wanted to support Muslims who were ridiculed following the attacks in San Bernardino and Donald Trump’s suggestion that Muslims be banned from entering the United States. Hawkins is Christian, but she declared her support for Muslims on a recent Facebook post. She said that she would wear a hijab everyday until Christmas to go against the rhetoric of some Christians who believe all Muslims are terrorists.
However, administrators at Wheaton College disagreed with Hawkins’ stance. In a statement, the school said, “There are fundamental differences between (Islam and Christianity).” The school eventually decided to suspend Hawkins for her actions by suggesting that she should have told administrators before deciding to wear the hijab.
The school does not have rules against wearing hijabs and Dr. Hawkins did not need to seek approval from administrators, according to the school’s policy. But the suspension could backfire against the school in multiple ways.
From a legal standpoint, Dr. Hawkins could potentially file a discrimination lawsuit against Wheaton College. On the other hand, the school’s choice to suspend Dr. Hawkins comes off as insensitive and counterproductive when professors are encouraged to teach students to have open ideas about society.
Since her suspension, Dr. Hawkins has yet to share her thoughts on her Twitter or Facebook page.