Just Another Day: A Day in the Life of a criminal justice major

By CHRIS KELLER

Contributing Writer

When you walk around cam- pus, you can easily recognize different groups of people. Whether it’s the mass communication majors who have a home away from home in the Swanson Center, the art majors lugging around their latest sculpture or the nursing majors who always seem to be sporting those fashionable scrubs, you can normally get a pretty good read on someone and what their major is just by looking at them.

And then there’s the crimi- nal justice program here at Piedmont. That’s right, just a handful of students here at Piedmont are crimi- nal justice majors, including sophomore criminal justice major Sean Viola.

After graduating from col- lege, Viola plans on becoming a highway patrol officer and then working his way into the United States Marshals Service. Viola says even though he enjoys most of the classes he is taking for his degree, he doesn’t necessarily agree with how they are being taught.

“When it comes to criminal justice classes, things shouldn’t be taught ‘by the book.’ We should be learning through action, experience and street knowledge, not 40-year- old theories,” Viola said.

Viola went on to explain how he wishes Piedmont would in- vest a little more time and ef- fort into the criminal justice program here at Piedmont. “The criminal justice program as a whole consists of about four teachers, and three of those only teach every other semester,” said Viola. Viola also stated how he wants the teachers who teach his criminal justice classes to interact with students on a more personal level, and include real-life scenarios in their teachings. After discussing the criminal justice program here at Piedmont, Viola also touched on what it means to be in the criminal justice field in general, especially as a police officer.

“It’s no secret that cops aren’t exactly viewed as public heroes right now, and that’s a shame. People get so caught up in the media that they forget cops are here to protect us,” Viola said. “I’m certainly not going to justify what happened because I wasn’t there, and I don’t know the details. What I do know is that when you don’t comply with a police officer, bad things will happen. Again, I’m not justifying the shootings, but I know for a fact that if those people just complied with the officers, they would be alive today.”

When asked if he thought these recent police shootings will be a deterrent to those who want to get into the criminal justice field, Viola disagreed.

“When you’re in this field, you have to be ready to deal with that kind of stuff. If these stories frighten you, you probably aren’t cut out for the job anyways,” said Viola.