Wheaton College faculty reached a conclusion that they should not fire a professor who publicly said that "Muslims and Christians worship the same God."
The college's faculty expressed "grave concerns about the process," and said that Professor Larycia Hawkin's suspension should be withdrawn.
Hawkins came to be known as "Hijab Professor" after she decided to wear it during the time of Advent to show her support for Muslims.
In December last year, the college suspended her for her remarks on Facebook, citing "theological implications" of her statements as the reason for her suspension.
Dr. Lynn Cohick, professor of New Testament and chair of Faculty Council, wrote in an email to the Wheaton staff that he recommended not firing Hawkins.
"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 Larycia Hawkins be withdrawn due to grave concerns about the process," Cohick wrote in the letter.
"The only way forward is to go back to the beginning where this whole thing started with Larycia," Burge was quoted as saying by the Chicago Tribune. "My own feeling is that the college will find the courage to rescind the leave of absence."
Wheaton published a statement Thursday saying that the college "respects the viewpoints of its Faculty Council."
"The next step in this process is a hearing before the Faculty Personnel Committee. The Faculty Personnel Committee [on Feb. 11] 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," continued the statement.
"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."
A meeting was called by Wheaton College President Philip Ryken, where the institution's position on Christians and Muslims worshiping the same God were discussed to arrive at acceptable interpretations of the statement of faith which the college will live out.
"There was a lot of frustration. It was really us listening to them and their statements of how they hoped that their relationships and trust could be restored. But they didn't choose to follow the faculty council's admonition to reverse their decision," said Michael Mangis, professor of psychology.
Tenured professors were asked to cast a vote in one of the regular faculty meetings.
"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," said the statement.