During his frequent presentations to college students, Keith Edwards, a national speaker and educator on sexual violence prevention, often spells out for them the different forms of sexual violence, which includes sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape.
Then he asks the audience how many people know someone who has experienced one of the situations he’d described.
“Again and again, on campuses across the United States and Canada, 75 percent of college students consistently raise their hand and say they know someone who has experienced sexual violence,” Edwards said.
Edwards is convinced that one aspect of reducing this sad statistic and its harmful lasting legacy is to prepare everyone to act decisively to reduce the chance of an attack from happening in the first place. He also thinks it’s critical for all people in a community to help an individual who reported being assaulted to cope with and recover from the crisis.
Edwards will discuss what members of the campus community can do to support fellow students and others on Wednesday, April 4. His talk, “Ending Rape: A Social Change Approach to Sexual Violence,” begins at 7 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room. It is free and open to the campus community.
The presentation will serve as the keynote address to the College’s planned “SUNY Cortland It’s On Us Spring Week of Action” from April 2 to April 6. Sponsored annually by the institution’s It’s On Us Action Team and the student organization Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER), the week will include a Green Dot bystander intervention egg hunt, t-shirt making, two panel discussions and an additional speaker from the New York State Police. Details will be announced online and in the April 3 Bulletin.
Edwards’ scholarship interests include diversity and social justice education and college men’s issues from a feminist and social justice perspective. He is a national leader in social justice education, having founded and served as chair for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) — College Student Educators International’s Commission for Social Justice Educators.
Over the past 15 years, Edwards has spoken and consulted at more than 150 colleges and universities, presented more than 150 programs at national conferences and written more than 15 articles or book chapters on sexual violence prevention, men’s identity and social justice education.
His research, writing and speaking have received national awards and recognition.
Edwards recently co-chaired ACPA’s Presidential Task Force on Sexual Violence Prevention in Higher Education and co-edited the publication Beyond Compliance: Addressing Sexual Violence in Higher Education. He is currently co-editing a book on sexual violence prevention and response in higher education. His TEDx Talk on “Ending Rape” has been viewed around the world.
Edwards directed Campus Life at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., from 2007 to 2015 and was involved in sexual violence prevention and Title IX investigations and adjudication. An affiliate faculty member in the Leadership in Student Affairs program at the University of St. Thomas, he taught graduate courses on diversity and social justice in higher education for eight years.
A certified executive and leadership coach for individuals who are looking to move forward in any aspect of their life, Edwards’ coaching approach is grounded in positive psychology research on what works, Zen practices and approaches to help individuals “get out of their own way.” He looks at it all through a social justice lens.
Edwards received a Ph.D. from the College Student Personnel Administration program at the University of Maryland, where he completed his dissertation “Putting my Man Face On: A Grounded Theory of College Men’s Gender Identity Development.” His work was recognized as Dissertation of the Year by ACPA — College Student Educators International in 2008. Edwards has a B.A. in social studies along with an education minor and teaching license from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., and an M.S. in student affairs in higher education from Colorado State University.
The talk is also part of the College’s year-long Wellness Wednesday series of events, organized by Health Promotion and the Student Development Center to enhance wellbeing in the campus community.
In addition to the campus “Week of Action,” several related events will take place later in April, closely following when the national It’s On Us Week of Action takes place, from April 1 to 7. These will include the College’s “Take Back the Night” march on Wednesday, April 11.
A “Yards for Yeardley/Around the World for Yeardley” event, honoring individuals who have reported sexual violence or relationship abuse, will happen on Sunday, April 15. The walk, run and (wheelchair) roll event is co-sponsored with the campus by the One Love Foundation and State University of New York.
On Monday evening, April 16, SAFER is hosting a discussion led by Jena Curtis, associate professor of health, on “Healthy Relationships and Consent.”
Two award-winning films by documentary filmmaker Jessica Congdon will be screened, “The Mask You Live In” on Monday, April 16, and “Miss Representation,” on Tuesday, April 17. Congdon will discuss her work Friday, April 20. The sponsors for the film series and talk will include the Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee (CICC), English Department, Title IX office, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Details for both the “Yards for Yeardley” and Jessica Congdon-related events will be in the next Bulletin.