University Prez Set To Retire After Firestorm Over Fired Professor Who Showed Muhammad Picture In Class

(YouTube/Screenshot/Hamline University)

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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Hamline University President Fayneese Miller announced on Monday that she will retire months after she walked back an administrator’s claim that a professor’s lecture was “Islamophobic” for showing an unveiled portrait of the prophet Muhammad.

Miller will officially step down on June 30, 2024, according to the announcement sent to the Daily Caller News Foundation. Faculty members demanded she resign following a controversy that involved Professor Erika López Prater’s contract not being renewed for the spring semester after a student complained that she showed an unveiled portrait of the prophet Muhammad during a lecture on Islamic art. (RELATED: University Violated Accreditation Status By Ignoring Academic Freedom, Watchdog Alleges)

“It has been an honor and privilege to lead Hamline University, an institution that values social justice, equity, inclusion, and civic engagement through its service-learning opportunities for students and curriculum offerings,” Miller said in the announcement, which did not include reference to the conflict.

Miller responded to the growing controversy in a Jan. 17 statement during which she said that an administrator’s claim that Prater’s lecture was “undeniably inconsiderate, disrespectful and Islamophobic” was “flawed.” She classified the Minnesota school as a “multi-cultural, multi-religious community that has been a leader in creating space for civil conversations” and acknowledged that “sometimes we misstep.”

“In the interest of hearing from and supporting our Muslim students, language was used that does not reflect our sentiments on academic freedom,” Miller wrote in the statement. “Based on all that we have learned, we have determined that our usage of the term ‘Islamophobic’ was therefore flawed.”

The Hamline University Faculty Council voted in favor of asking for Miller’s resignation on Jan. 24 in order to “make a statement on the crisis that’s happening at Hamline,” Jim Scheibel, faculty council president, had told KSTP Eyewitness News.

Miller’s retirement announcement touted her achievements since she was approved for the position in 2015. She was described as “an exceptional, dynamic, and inclusive leader for Hamline with a strong commitment to academic program development, diversity, and fundraising.”

“I am proud that Hamline recently received significant federal funding and targeted increased private donations to support paid internships which will afford widespread opportunity for Hamline students for paid real-world employment experiences,” Miller wrote. “It has been a pleasure working together with board members, students, faculty, staff, and the community in enhancing Hamline University’s strong commitment to maintaining high academic standards, creating a sense of belonging for all on campus, and developing students who understand and appreciate their role as members of a civil society.”

The university will begin a nationwide search for her successor, the announcement read.

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