December 6, 2016 | By Alexa Brown — Last May, Professor Sukhsimranjit Singh joined the School of Law as Associate Director of Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution, Assistant Professor of Law and Practice, and Director of the LLM program. As a popular guest lecturer, his decision to join Pepperdine was eagerly welcomed, with the announcement welcoming him to campus one of the most-read news items last year. Recently he reflected on his first semester at Pepperdine, the Law community, and what it was like to be here for the tumultuous United States Presidential election.
How have you been settling in to Pepperdine Law?
Coming to work at Pepperdine has been wonderful for me. It is very community-oriented and has a small town feel in a sense. I’ve felt welcomed by everyone at the Straus program. I was aware of the Straus Institute by its incredible reputation before I came to work here. It has been great to be a part of a team and to find connections with people.
I also like how easy it was for me as a religious person to transition to a Christian school. Regardless of what religion one practices, the Pepperdine Law community is respectfully curious and allows for a sense of belonging. That was a big deal for me. I’ve enjoyed how people of religion and faith are respected here–it’a wonderful experience.
Do you have any words to share regarding the recent election?
I personally am at peace with it. I know that there is nothing I could have done to affect the votes as they came in or the protests afterwards. I’m at peace with it because it is humbling; you learn how much power you have. It’s also inspiring when you imagine your kids being part of elections in the future. I told my class that if they are troubled with the rhetoric being used surrounding this election, they have two options. They can either stay stressed, or they can let that stress cause action and contribute–think about it, write about it, get into politics. While I was not pleased with the language being used, I’ve been troubled with it for the past eight years; it’s not something new in American politics.
Does your religion come into play when discussing or thinking about these things?
Sikhism is big on reconciliation and also on meditation and self-reflection. It asks, “What is your place in this universe?” When an attack happens on your identity, instead of reacting right away, you try to contemplate how it affects you. This leads to more more thinking, which in turn allows for more knowledge to be gained.
Conflict exists first within us before we experience it in society. The person we negotiate with the most is ourselves. One has to be at peace with oneself to better understand outside. The election can teach us if, at any time, we have learned something more about ourselves.