The timeline and actors in the movement to get Dr. Hawkins reinstated have been expedient and elusive to most, if only because of the little time students had left on campus before leaving for Christmas break. Transparency is something that I personally value, so that all involved know the moving pieces, and how we got to where we are today. It’s difficult to have an opinion of, much less a stake in, the goings on without first understanding them. For this purpose, I (Andrea Artis) have put together a timeline of the student movement in response to Dr. Hawkins’ administrative leave, as reported and edited by Alicia Artis, Wyatt Harms, and Kimi Bryson.
UPDATE (12/22/15): As things continue to evolve over break, I have updated the timeline to include the events from the 18th-22nd. In the spirit of transparency, I have also changed some of the original phrasing after more conversations with those directly involved to more accurately represent the content of meetings. None of the facts of the timeline have changed; in fact, detail has been added, but the phrasing has slightly shifted in order to more fully communicate the accounts of all those involved.
Monday, December 14:
Email received from the President’s Office, written and posted on December 11th
Many of you are aware that the College has received significant media and social media attention in recent days regarding the College’s theological position in relation to Islam. The College has posted the following statement to:
Tuesday, December 15th:
Second email sent to student body from the President’s Office:
In response to significant questions regarding the theological implications of statements that Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Larycia Hawkins has made about the relationship of Christianity to Islam, Wheaton College has placed her on administrative leave, pending the full review to which she is entitled as a tenured faculty member.
Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s faith foundations with integrity, compassion and theological clarity. As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the College’s evangelical Statement of Faith.
9:30pm: Students and alumni meet off campus to determine community action.
Reinstate Dr Hawkins before Spring Semester. At this point we begin the media campaign #reinstatedochawk, and instruct students to share personal stories of impact. Focus on the positive effect that Dr. Hawkins has on campus, and her value to the community
Decide on Embodied Protest in the President’s Office, taking into consideration the little time left to show support for Dr. Hawkins as well as the speed at which administration was moving. Those to meet and give demands to President Ryken are Josh Fort, Morgan Jacobs, Kimi Bryson, and Wyatt Harms
Decide to intentionally not involve Dr. Hawkins.
Draft an open letter from students to administration with demands and rationale, written by alumni Leya Petrovani, Clara Kent, Andrew Shadid, Isaac Butler, Amber Washington, Elizabeth Brown, and email@example.com and students Alicia Artis, Annikka Bouwsma, Myra Hooks, Wyatt Harms, and Kirkland An. Student Body President Josh Fort and Student Body Vice President Morgan Jacob agree to facilitate delivery and encourage prayer.
Wednesday, December 16th:
Students disperse the open letter and demands, #reinstatedochawk trends on facebook
12:30pm– Students meet outside Blanchard, chant “Reinstate Doc Hawk”, “We Love Wheaton”, and “Jesus is Love”
12:45pm– Students march to President’s Office, meet with President Philip Ryken, and Provost Stanton Jones
4:30pm– Jones asks students to leave the office, so as not to inconvenience his staff. Some students leave to watch Dr. Hawkins’ press conference, the remaining clean the President’s Office and sit outside Jones’ office
5:15pm– Students leave President’s Office with Jones
5:30-8pm– A group of Students determine demands to present the following morning, emailed to Ryken and Jones
Matt Adams becomes a point person for Media Relations
6:11pm– Kimi Bryson posts Next Steps for Students, as discussed by the student group, on the Support Doc Hawk Facebook Page:
Thursday, December 17th
8am– Students go to president’s office, door is locked, so sit-in continues outside. Demands are presented outside the office.
9:30am– Josh Fort, Wyatt Harms, Kimi Bryson, Morgan Jacob, and Alicia Artis meet with Dean of Student Engagement Steve Ivester and Vice President of Student Development Paul Chelsen to discuss demands. The discussion was that of the town hall to take place at 12:45. The administration is not interested in a town hall, and suggests that Student Government organize a town hall at the beginning of spring semester. Student representatives push for a need for transparency to increase unity and give students information before break begins, to de-escalate the situation that would only build over break as administrative decisions are made in students’ absence. A consensus is made among those present that a pre recorded video interview moderated by Bryson with questions submitted by students and compiled and edited by students be filmed on Friday between 3 and 4pm, released late Friday or Saturday. Students make clear the video should have minimal editing, to be judged by Bryson, who will be present for the filming. Chelson and Ivester seek approval from Ryken and Jones, who they believe will be favorable to the idea.
2pm– Students become concerned by an absence of an all-campus email to collect student questions.
4pm– Alicia Artis and Wyatt Harms, with Josh Fort on the phone meet with Paul Chelsen.
- Ryken would prefer to do interview alone, students insist on Jones’ presence. Jones is open to doing the interview.
- Push for questions by Media Relations be the ones answered in interview. Students push for student questions answered
- Students given Media Relations FAQ
- Chelsen communicates that the administration did not want student body questions, due to logistical concerns, and doubts as to the quality of questions, hence the lack of all-campus email. Students collect questions independently, in conjunction with Student Government
- Chelsen clarifies that the college wants Hawkins’ approval for the video, in order to “care for her best”. Chelsen challenges Harms and Artis to question what students’ reaction would be if she declined.
- Harms and Artis agree to seeking Hawkins approval, and determine at Hawkins’ disapproval they would retract the request.
- Director of the Office of Multicultural Development Rodney Sisco placed in charge of contacting Hawkins
- Chelsen says that administration has been having trouble getting hold of Hawkins
- Chelsen asks for Fort and Jacob to approve all student questions
Friday, December 19th
8am– Alicia Artis and Annikka Bouwsma compile and edit questions with Josh Fort, to be sent to Ryken at 2pm in order to give time for the questions to be approved and answered by the recording of the interview at 3pm
9:54am-Questions presented to Andrea Artis and Kimi Bryson for approval
12:50pm– Email sent from Chelsen to Fort, Jacobs, Harms, Bryson, and Alicia Artis, in which students learn that Dr. Hawkins had not been successfully contacted, and that the administration will pursue a “text-only Q&A document on the website” and would be “open to evaluating the final list of questions submitted by students for possible inclusion”
Harms, Bryson, Clara Kent, and Artis have a conference call to determine next steps. Students view Hawkins’ approval as a tangential concern and considered previous decision to not include Hawkins, and see transparency for the student body as the student priority. Students want clarity for why approval was necessary. Confer with Andrea Artis, Natalie Drevets, and Zachary Smiley.
2:45pm– Bryson, Drevets, and Smiley meet with Ivester and Chelsen
- Administration communicates that the video will not happen
- Jones had received a statement from Hawkins, prepares for a meeting with Hawkins, and no longer may be in the video
- Ryken prepares for two upcoming speaking engagements and is scheduled to leave for a flight later in the afternoon
- Students decide due to lack of cooperation and the unlikelihood of transparency, unity, or full answers, they would not submit the compiled list of student questions to be answered in a “Frequently Asked Q&A” written by the College’s media team
Sunday, December 20
5:30pm- Students Alicia and Andrea Artis, and alumni Kent and Harms meet over conference call to determine next steps. Stress the importance of reconciliation and thoughtful communication with administration. Decide to clarify these goals through email to Jones and Ryken.
Students and alumni also discuss possible miscommunication of their purpose. While reinstatement of Hawkins is the goal, those present discuss the core issue is not theological, but rather the process by which Hawkins was placed on administrative leave, the lack of communication as to which part of the Statement of Faith she may be violating, as well as the lack of transparency and promised dialogue between administration and the student body. Urge students, alumni, and supporters to write letters to Jones, prompting, “For this letter campaign we want to ask you to send letters to Provost Dr. Stanton Jones. Emphasize that the process has been unfair to Dr. Hawkins. Dr. Hawkins was not spoken to before placing her on leave. Focus on the reactionary nature, unfair treatment, and lack of transparency in decisions.”
Tuesday, December 22
5:12pm- An all-campus email is received from the President’s Office, reading:
Dear Campus Community,
We have recently posted FAQs to wheaton.edu in order to answer a number of questions that have been circulating. Since this is a personnel matter, there is only a limited amount of information that we can share. We ask for your patience and continued prayer for God’s wisdom and compassion as we seek a resolution.
In Christ’s service,
Dr. Philip G. Ryken
7:30pm- Students Adams and Bryson and alumni Kent and Harms write and release a response from the students, alumni, and supporters of Hawkins.
#ReinstateDocHawk Press Release