Former priest joins faculty, students for ethics class

Maggie Eubanks, News Editor

Each Monday night in Library 3-C, a group of students gather together for a class to learn and discuss an ever-growing and ever-changing topic—ethics. Last week, John Sutherlin, the professor of the class, invited a special guest to talk to his students.

Sovichan Scaria works with ULM as a counselor, but in the past, he served as the pastor at the Catholic Campus Ministry, where he was known as Father Job. Scaria taught students about ethics in his home country of India and led a discussion on the ethics surrounding the Donner Party of the 1800s. 

Scaria said he enjoyed this discussion on ethical principles, but what was most important for him to convey to the students in the class was that ethics is all about learning. 

“It’s a question of right and wrong, and it’s evolving,” Scaria said. “We need to learn to do the most good to other people.”

In addition to inviting Scaria to present, Sutherlin also invited faculty and staff members and former students to attend the class and participate in the discussion.

“The lecture was excellent, but I enjoyed the interaction with faculty, staff and students,” Sutherlin said. “It allows for everyone on campus to have an equal say.”

Sutherlin said he agrees with Job on the importance of learning ethics, which is why everyone in his class is on a first-name basis. He tells his students that ethics are not universal, but they are based on experiences and morals. Since they can differ for everyone, and no one is necessarily right or wrong, everyone starts on an equal level in class. 

Sophomore history major Hayes Nethery enjoyed the new perspective that Job brought to the class. 

“Being that he is originally from India, is a priest and a therapist, I believe that he was able to use a wide variety of philosophical and ethical perspectives to prod the class into considering various ethical issues about the video on the Donner Party he showed us,” Nethery said. 

Sutherlin and Scaria gave each student and faculty member a chance to speak about their ethical viewpoint on the Donner Party and what can be learned from them. 

Scaria left students with a message about how they can continue to grow in the development of their ethics. 

“Ethics has to be based on some type of values,” Scaria said. “Everybody has values. Let that guide you, and be open.”