Wheaton College, also known as the "evangelical Harvard," suspended professor Larycia Hawkins and began the termination process.
However, the college faculty council recently voted to recommend the administration halt the termination process, according to The Washington Post.
"Following recent discussions between faculty council, President Ryken and Provost Jones, Faculty Council unanimously recommended to administration that the administrative leave and the notification of termination 'for cause' of Dr. Larycia Hawkins be withdrawn due to grave concerns about the process," Lynn Cohick, New Testament professor and chair of the council, wrote on its behalf in an email sent to the entire faculty, TIMEreported.
The suggestion "disappointed" some, including evangelist Franklin Graham.
"Both my father Billy Graham and my mother attended Wheaton College in Illinois–in fact that's where they met. I'm surprised and disappointed that the faculty council there is now recommending the college drop their plans to terminate a professor who published that she believed Islam and Christianity worship the same God in December," Graham posted on Facebook.
"This is no minor issue that should be debated. Islam denies that God has a Son. They deny that Jesus is God. They do not believe in a Triune God–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I can tell you–Islam and Christianity clearly do not worship the same God. How the faculty council can now support this professor being allowed to teach students is deeply concerning," he concluded.
Though the Wheaton Faculty Council cited grave concerns in the termination process, a statement from the college says the termination process is still within the guidelines laid out in the faculty handbook.
"The College administration is following the established process under the Faculty Handbook for handling employment decisions pertaining to tenured faculty members. The next step in this process is a hearing before the Faculty Personnel Committee. The Faculty Personnel Committee will receive presentations from the Provost and Dr. Hawkins regarding the substantive and procedural issues each would like to raise, will review the evidence presented, and will make a formal recommendation regarding the termination of tenure. The Faculty Personnel Committee's recommendation will then be taken into consideration by President Ryken, as he makes his recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
"President Ryken and the Faculty Council have discussed a review of current policies and processes, with a view to addressing or clarifying areas of concern. However, Dr. Ryken has also asked Faculty Council to understand that the Faculty Personnel Committee hearing is the method through which the particulars of Dr. Hawkins' personnel matter will be addressed.