ForCollegeForLife Podcast: Why April is Too late with Dr. Kevin Reynolds


Casey J. Cornelius (00:03):

Welcome to season two of the ForCollegeForLife podcast. My name is Casey Cornelius. I am the founder and president of ForCollegeForLife, and I am excited to welcome you all back to new episodes. I’ve been hearing coast to coast people ask this question, when are you coming back with season two? Well, the time is now, and I could not think of someone better suited to kick off season two of the ForCollegeForLife podcast than the longest tenured member of our team, Dr. Kevin Reynolds in his nine to five, we’ll call it nine to five. I think I’m being generous. It’s probably nine to eight most days. Uh, Kevin Reynolds is a Vice President of Advancement, I think I’m getting that title right at Thomas Moore University in Kentucky. He is passionate about a lot of things, but one of the things that he’s most passionate about is sexual assault prevention, as you know, I hope you do. April is sexual assault Prevention month, excuse me, sexual Assault Awareness month. And Kevin, I’m gonna go ahead and bring you to the mic, and I want to ask you a question that I’ve been hearing you talk about quite a bit lately, and I wanna give you the opportunity to expound on it. And that is this. Why is April too late to be talking about sexual assault awareness?

Dr. Kevin Reynolds (01:23):

Well, Casey, I’m excited to be back. I think season one was a lot of fun and and I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of it. Yeah, it’s, uh, ForCollegeForLife for 10 years has been an incredible ride. And, uh, I’m really, I’m looking forward to, well, I guess it’s technically nine, right? Next year is 10, so that’ll be

Casey J. Cornelius (01:40):

20, 24 will be the 10 year,

Dr. Kevin Reynolds (01:42):

Right? Yeah. I can’t wait. I can’t wait. So, uh, that’s a great question. Uh, and it’s one that I do, um, have a lot of things to say, uh, on. So why is April too late to really start talking to your students about sexual assault prevention? It’s too late for a lot of reasons. Um, but I will give it the caveat because I do get out there a lot in April, cuz people are talking about it in April, um, that it’s never too late, right? So I think that it’s never too late to start these conversations on your campus. It’s very vitally important, uh, to start these conversations on your campus. Um, but why is April often too late in terms of prevention programming? Uh, because it is, because oftentimes the students who come back or come to your campus for the first time, whether that’s late July or early August, that’s a point in their educational trajectory where they’re not focused as much on, um, what’s next in school.


And in a lot of cases, they’re focused on what does my life mean now? And there have been quite a, you know, as you know, I’ve done extensive research on the, on the efficacy of violence prevention programming and study after study. Study after study keeps coming back with the, this notion that a point in where a student has an experience where they get separated or they feel an increase, uh, opportunity and independence from their parents, which is often that first year student, uh, of, of college, that is an oftentimes an opportunity where they increase their high risk behaviors. The decrease in parental su supervision increases their propensity for high risk behaviors, oftentimes including things like overindulging in alcohol, sometimes indulging alcohol for the first time where you don’t know your limits and you don’t know how alcohol affects your judgment experience. And that is a dangerous time to be around predators.


Um, and we know, uh, you know, back from movies like Dazed and Confused, there were quotes about, I love high school girls, man, how’s that freshman year coming along? How’s the new crop? I keep, they keep staying the same age. I keep getting older, they keep staying the same age. These are predatory statements that you could probably hear all over your college campuses at the beginning of the school year, when I went to school, I remember the very first night my parents dropped me off a bus, pulled in to the middle of the circle outside my residence hall, and it basically was freshman, let us show you how to party, let us take you. It was a, a fraternity sponsored program. They took us off campus to a place, uh, where alcohol was present, and it was a, a club like environment. And we had no idea what we were doing.


What we knew is we wanted to look cool, we wanted to feel, um, like we were a part of a community already, and we wanted to act like we knew what we were doing. Um, and in all those cases, I I I, I can’t tell you the amount of mistakes I saw being, being made. And college campuses are dangerous environments, right? We know that there’s a binge drinking culture on, on college campuses all across the country. And it’s still true that one in four women experience acts of sexual violence or gender-based discrimination, uh, during their college careers. A co a Columbia University study in 2017 measured it and they said 25% of young women, uh, who are college age report being sexually assaulted during the, those college formative years, 25%. And I don’t know about you, Casey, but when I, when I, you know, I talk to students about this and have, as we said for nine years, I often get these, these students who stand up in the back and they ask me questions about like, okay, well, you know, explain to me how we know this information. Um, or they would criticize those things. And, and ever since the Me Too movement launched, I think in 2017, I have not had to reply or respond to those kind of questions or criticisms anymore because I’m sure you like me. Unfortunately, almost every single woman in my life wrote me too on their social media during, during that, that time period. And, and oh my God, right? Like, it one in four is probably an underestimate. And it’s, I was

Casey J. Cornelius (05:55):

Thinking, I was thinking the exact same thing. That one force seems low.

Dr. Kevin Reynolds (05:58):

Yeah, it, it, it is low. Um, uh, 2015, the American Journal of Public Health published a study that that showcased the fact that, um, one, uh, in, um, excuse me, that one in one in 10 women report having been victims of rape, not just, not just any types of sexual harassment or assault, but, but victims of rape and one in three US women has survived physical violence. So we talk about partner-based violence, not just sexual violence, but partner-based violence, one in three, due to that Journal of Public Health study in 2015, this information should get people angry. It should get people motivated. Um, and, and what is, if, if the first weekend of college is not the one where the most amount of high risk behaviors and binge drinking takes place, what do you think? The second one is, Casey,

Casey J. Cornelius (06:46):

I would have to imagine that it’s related to spring break. Spring

Dr. Kevin Reynolds (06:48):

Break, right? Which is usually in the month of March for most colleges and universities. And so by the time you get to April and you start thinking, oh crap, we need to book a sexual assault awareness month speaker, can we get somebody who can come in and, and, and help create some real change in our community? Students are checked out and they’ve probably been through two very high risk, high, um, binge drinking high experiences of, of sexual assault and, and sexual misconduct. Those things have happened already. It april’s too late because it’s too late because those things have happened already. The the greatest periods of high risk behaviors in your college students, especially for those first year students, have already happened. And we haven’t given them the tools to protect themselves. And you know, the way I focus on it in the, in the bystander space is we definitely haven’t given the, given them the tools to protect each other. We haven’t given them the intentional things that they can do to make sure that they protect each other, not just themselves. It’s too late cuz it’s too late, you

Casey J. Cornelius (07:48):

Know? So, so, so you went into this and, and for those who you, who are not familiar with Kevin’s program intent to prevent, uh, I know we can’t do the entire program in just a few minutes, Kevin, but like h high level explanation of like, how do you approach the sexual violence conversation? A, again, as someone who is, is not a survivor, as someone who’s not a, a, a perpetrator, like how do you approach it in a way that, um, that resonates with audiences?

Dr. Kevin Reynolds (08:17):

I think that there are a lot of really great speakers out there who talk about these things, and a lot of them share intentional and purposeful and emotional, uh, vulnerable survivor stories. And, and there are people who are out there, um, that focus on the fact that, uh, even though one in 10 men, uh, have often experienced, um, sexual assault to rape, uh, uh, as victims, uh, the predominant, uh, offenders, uh, are perpetrators of act sexual violence are men. And so it oftentimes, um, when we talk to college students about this, we, you know, and you talk about healthy masculinity and, and those kinds of things, Casey, and that’s really important. But in some cases, if we start from the place of men are the problem, we alienate half the people in the room. And so I do, I I, I don’t even go there.


Instead, I focus not on the perpetrator or the victim. I focus on the other 99% of the people who are in the room. Um, when, uh, behaviors take place or incidents happen at parties or at a a fraternity house or at a club, or at a, at any sort of program or in a residence hall room, I focus on the other people that are there and the things they can look for and listen for and observe. And then I give them tangible zero Bs options ideas. Um, I challenge them to come up with the ways in which they can show up like a, like a superhero or a secret agent in their communities. But that seems really playful, and I don’t mean it to be, it’s really the what can you do. Um, you can’t see me via this podcast, but I am not, uh, I look more like Steve Rogers pre-up soldier serum than post super soldier, soldier serum, right?


Um, and so, and I talked to, to, to students about the fact that I don’t, I probably couldn’t win in most fights yet. I, there are things I am good at. I am, uh, I I took classes in, in, uh, improvisational theater and acting in college. And so I share some of the things that I’ve used, um, uh, from that craft, from that skillset to actually show up and do, um, you know, partner-based violence, um, or sexual assault prevention in my life. Um, and in other cases, I talk with college students about the, um, the norms that they can experience. Uh, you know, I use the example with, with a young woman. Um, while we were at a conference in Indianapolis, Casey, uh, I asked her, if you have to go to the bathroom and you walk up to one of your friends and say, I have to go to the bathroom, what are you telling her?


And she said, well, I’m telling my friend you’re coming with me to the bathroom. Right? And that’s just true for a lot of young women. Um, and so what we tell students about sexual assault prevention is what we expect you to do. If you see your friend having too much to drink or you see someone around her, is it too much to drink? Or you’re worried, or you see something that gives you that gut feeling that that indigestion that I don’t know about this. What we tell you to do is show up like a bystander or take an active role in intervening or get your brother or sister out of there, and nobody knows what those words mean. Uh, and so they assume what you mean is to walk up and say, um, Jane, you’ve had way too much to drink in order to be in the situation where you can give, um, intentional informed consent. And so I would like you to back away from this gentleman and come with me because, um, I think that you, you could make a life altering mistake later tonight, or you’re incapable of per of, of, you know, saying yes or no with consent. And

Casey J. Cornelius (11:45):

Because that, because that language and conversation happens all the time.

Dr. Kevin Reynolds (11:48):

Exactly. And they’re not gonna do that. Right? So, because then they’re not gonna do that, and we haven’t told them what they could do, do they do they do nothing. And so, because they do nothing, one in four has been one in four for the last 10 years and it’s not getting better. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so we haven’t given them things that they actually could do. So one example for this young woman, and you see your friend and you see a situation and you’re nervous about what’s happening, maybe walk up to that person and say, I have to go to the bathroom. That’s not saying, Hey, I’m worried that this gentleman has, uh, you know, malicious intent with you. I’m worried that you’ve had too much to drink. I’m worried that he’s had too much to drink in order to be able to pick up on the cues that are verbal or, or, uh, non-consent.


All those things don’t need to actually be said. What you are saying and saying, I have to go to the bathroom is you’re coming with me to the bathroom, and then you have an opportunity to check in. Are you good? How’s it going? Do you like this guy? Do you need saving? Do you, I mean saving, not from like, do I need to put you in a SWAT car and get outta here? I mean, like, is this person creeping you out and I need to create another reason for you to, you know, let’s go to a new bar, let’s go home, or let’s go get, uh, Chipotle or whatever, right? Those are the things that they don’t know how to do. And I think that that’s where my program is a different part of the conversation than the other important, um, kinds of conversations that show victims that they’re not alone.


The other important conversations about demonstrating, uh, healthy masculinity and calling out unhealthy, toxic masculinity, like these are all parts of an important equation, but bystander intervention training is often left out, uh, of, of most college campuses programming models. And I want to be a part of helping campuses included because it’s, it speaks to the 99% of the people in the room and what they actually could do. Um, and, and that’s, that’s why I think makes it unique and that’s why I do it. That’s why you know this, you mentioned I have a day job. My day job supports me and my family. Well, that’s all good to go. I do this cuz it’s important and I don’t know anybody else doing it in a way that, that college students seem to report, uh, you know, respond really well to in this space.

Casey J. Cornelius (14:03):

I love it. And, and, and by the way, if you’re listening to this, whether you’re a student, uh, whether you’re a university, college, staff member, organizational professional, whatever it is, um, we know that this is a topic that is, uh, of pressing need for attention. As Kevin pointed out. He’s passionate about it and he approaches it in a way that is different. Kevin, I I wanna plug a couple of things real quick. Make sure everyone please visit for college for to learn more about him and the program intent to prevent, uh, Kevin, they can find you on social media platforms. You’re everywhere, right?

Dr. Kevin Reynolds (14:35):

Yeah, I’m everywhere at Reynolds, Kevin. Um, and, and I will answer every single message that I get on those platforms. I, I I’m here to help.

Casey J. Cornelius (14:44):

I I have one more before we go. Sure. Kevin, in a perfect world, is this program a keynote? Is it a workshop? Is it a retreat? Is it some combination of any of those?

Dr. Kevin Reynolds (14:55):

Um, it’s in a perfect world, intent to Prevent is one of a series of programs that your campus needs to do to promote, uh, a safe culture, uh, intent to prevent should be among the first because it, again, speaks to everybody. Um, I think that generally college students are aware that sexual assault take takes place. I think that they’re aware of the importance of consent, and they’re aware of how they need to, um, uh, you know, we need to address these issues on our campus. Like, I think, I think that awareness is the least Im important thing in this case anymore. Um, but, uh, I only think that that’s true for the upperclassmen. I do think that you have to have a, a complete model where awareness, uh, where programs that talk about consent and informed consent and programs that talk about, um, uh, as I mentioned, uh, healthy masculinity and combating toxic masculinity.


These are important parts of a, of a spectrum of programs that need to be part of a prevention model. Intent to prevent works best as a keynote. Um, you’ll remember this, Casey, we both were in, um, Pittsburgh and a student came up to us and said, Kevin, I loved your program. That was the funniest thing that I’ve been a part of all weekend. And it’s a program on sexual assault. Okay? Right, right. So it’s, um, uh, it’s not just standup comedy, uh, but people, um, they will learn something, they will learn a lot of things, and they will, they will absolutely understand the importance and relevance of this topic. They will also probably laugh because there’s a lot of humor built into it because I want people to stay engaged. They have to feel like there’s, there’s reasons for them to really take ownership of their communities.


And so, um, I do think it works best is the keynote, but a keynote that starts a conversation that needs to, to, to continue. We have lots of folks, um, on our roster of speakers and there are lots of great, uh, resources out there in the Title IX space, um, where we could build a workshop, uh, around this or a retreat around this, where this keynote is a part of it. And then there’s a larger section of what are we gonna do community-based advocacy wise. Um, I am, uh, I’ve been a Title IX coordinator. I am not currently a Title IX coordinator. Um, but I could, I could also see a situation where I come in to work with students on bystander intervention for prevention, and then I work with professionals on, uh, programming models and Title ix. Um, I can do both of those things. Um, and I think that, uh, have often been asked to do both of those things. Um, so I, to me it’s, to me it’s both. And, uh, but it’s definitely a conversation

Casey J. Cornelius (17:48):

Starter, Kevin, uh, you, your, your passionate is, is so evident. Folks, I, I hope you’ve enjoyed this conversation. If, again, if you wanna learn more about Kevin and his work, find all about Dr. Kevin Reynolds there, or you can follow ’em on social media connects. And those questions slide in his dms as they say Reynolds. Kevin, there you go. Everyone, thank you so much for coming back to season two, season two, I love it, of the ForCollegeForLife podcast. If you like this, please make sure that you do the things that you’re supposed to do with podcasts and like, and share and comment and subscribe and all that other kind of stuff. And we look forward to our next opportunity to chat with you. Until then, everybody be well. Thanks, Kevin. Thanks everybody. Love it.

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