Criminal Justice Club prepares students for law enforcement


Janiya Fair

Jordan Holmes, a senior criminology major, and Kassandra Garcia, a senior human services major, study for their classes during their Criminal Justice club meeting.

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Associate News Editor

Criminal Justice Club is one of the registered student organizations on Eastern’s campus. Like the many other RSOs at Eastern, Criminal Justice Club is a space where students can meet people with similar interests and learn important life skills.

What makes the experience of being in Criminal Justice Club unique for its members is the RSO’s focus on educating students on topics and issues in the world of criminal justice.

Taylor Comer, a senior criminology and sociology student, is the organization’s president.

She said that some of the organization’s purposes include “to promote professionalism and ensure members are prepared to enter their respective fields” and “create a safe environment for members to discuss and foster a passion on topics pertaining to criminology and criminal justice.”

She joined Criminal Justice Club because she wanted to join an organization that would help her in her journey of pursuing a career in criminology.

“I wanted to join the Criminal Justice Club because I wanted to be part of an organization that was relevant to my major and that would allow me to develop myself as a professional,” Comer said. “I ran for president because I knew I wanted to be active in the club, and I previously served as the club’s Treasurer, so I wanted to try a new position!”

Comer also said the organization exists to help the Eastern community “through knowledge and awareness of flaws within the criminal justice system.”

Chase Austin, a junior majoring in criminology and sociology, is the treasurer of Criminal Justice Club. He said that he joined Criminal Justice Club because he has a passion for criminology and he cares for advocating for people’s rights.

“One of the big reasons I wanted to join the Criminal Justice Club is criminal justice reform,” Austin said. “We take a really big issue on that. We always like to push that there’s always things to be done with law. It’s just a really good place to start out. The best change usually comes from within, and Criminal Justice Club is the forefront to embarking on that journey of change.”

The Criminal Justice Club has meetings at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays in 3103 Blair, during which they have activities and discussions to help students with their careers.

“We have done a few different events; we have done study tables and a movie night, and we are hoping to have professionals come talk to the club about various careers that are available in the criminal justice field, as well as have professional development events,” Comer said.

Aside from having meetings to help students with their classes and prepare them for their future careers, the organization also has social meetings, such as movie nights and game nights.

The organization tries to have meetings that connect to the field of criminal justice while still being fun for its members, such as game nights where they play games such as Clue.

“We like to diversify our events. We always try to change stuff up,” Austin said. “We always try to bring something new to the table. We want people to be able to expect something different every time that they come.”

Criminal Justice Club has plans for events they want to host this school year, including a discussion panel they are currently working on with the members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. This panel will be happening at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28 in the Union’s Grand Ballroom.

“We are currently working with the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. on creating an educational discussion panel that discusses inequalities within the Criminal Justice system,” Comer said.

This panel will include the showing of a short film, then a panel of individuals that will talk about criminal justice reform.

“I know that Charleston PD will be there,” Austin said. “We’ve reached out to multiple police departments. We’re going to have Dr. Caitlin Lynch there. We’re going to have some people from [Alpha Phi Alpha] there who are going to represent the student body. We encourage people to show up and ask questions. They can definitely participate. That’s something that we really encourage is for students to show up and rep who they are.”

Right now, one of the organization’s main goals is increasing membership.

“During COVID, it was really difficult to get members to join and plan activities that would keep them engaged,” Comer said. “By organizing fundraisers and educational events, we are hoping that we can get more people interested in the organization or if nothing else make them more interested in the topic of criminal justice.”

Though Criminal Justice Club mostly focuses on preparing students for their post-graduate careers, the organization has also provided members with an opportunity to make friends and enjoy their time at Eastern.

“My favorite thing about the Criminal Justice Club is how relaxed of an environment it is,” Comer said. “We want all of our members to feel comfortable and welcome at meetings, so our executive board strives to be as personable and inviting as we can be to maintain that atmosphere.”

Austin said that his favorite thing about Criminal Justice Club is the people.

“The people. Always. The members that we do have now are awesome,” Austin said. “I love talking to them every single Tuesday at 6, whenever we meet. They never get boring, and I welcome anyone else to join. If not even for the club, just for the people that are involved. They’re fantastic.”

Though the organization caters mostly to students in the criminology, sociology and anthropology departments, both Comer and Austin want people to know that Criminal Justice Club is open to all students.

“We want the EIU community to know that anyone is welcome to join our organization, and we are always looking for ways to get involved on campus and with other Registered Student Organizations, so if anyone is at all interested in the club we would love to have you join us at meetings or reach out to us!” Comer said.

“If you like criminal justice in any of its facets, if you want to see change or if you just like listening to serial killer podcasts or watching true crime, then we’re the club for you,” Austin said. “We’re always down to hang out, if you just want to chill. I think no matter what avenue you’re coming from, it’s pretty rad.”


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].