UTAH

Lauren McCluskey’s mother questions student safety at the University of Utah

Jan 9, 2019, 6:54 PM | Updated: 7:37 pm
McCluskey's settlement...
FILE: Lauren McCluskey, a student-athlete at the University of Utah, was murdered in October 2018. Photo: University of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – Is anyone’s daughter safe at the University of Utah?  That’s question posed by the mother of slain U of U track star Lauren McCluskey.

Jill McCluskey wrote a scathing op-ed, published by the Salt Lake Tribune, blasting the school’s response to her daughter’s repeated calls for protection against her eventual killer, Melvin Rowland.  The article says the school’s safety system is dangerously flawed and that it “tragically failed Lauren.”

(Photo: KSL TV)

It reads, in part, “If our daughter’s death could not have been prevented after she reached out to campus police so many times, we have to ask, is anyone’s daughter safe?”

So, we asked students, “Do you feel safe?”

Some students say they definitely feel campus police could have done more to keep Rowland away from Lauren McCluskey.

One says, “There should have been an immediate [sense of] ‘we need to keep our eye out on this guy.’”

Some students say they haven’t noticed much of a change since McCluskey’s murder.

“It seems like the same, really.  I’ve just been more aware [of my safety],” according to one woman.

However, others say they’ve seen a lot of changes.

One student says, “I feel safe because there are emergency posts where we can hit a button,” one student says.  That button would notify police.  Another says, “I could always call a security guard just to say, ‘Hey, I need a ride.’”

Some students say they’ve notice a large increase in the number of officers patrolling student housing, while others say faculty is more prone to take complaints more seriously than before.

“Teachers are more adamant on saying, ‘If something is up, talk to us and talk to us, now.”

The university issued a statement in response to McCluskey’s op-ed.  It reads…

“In an op-ed article in today’s Salt Lake Tribune, the parents of Lauren McCluskey raised important questions and understandable concerns about campus safety and whether the university’s public safety, student housing and other departments did everything they could to prevent the crime that took their daughter’s life.

Lauren’s friends, teachers and all the other members of the university community still grieve the loss of this vibrant and promising young student and athlete. But we are aware that nothing can compare to the heartache of parents who have lost their daughter to a violent crime.

Precisely because serious questions were immediately raised about the university’s response in Lauren’s case, and their implications for campus security, University President Ruth V. Watkins in October 2018 promptly commissioned an independent and thorough review from three outside experts covering every aspect of campus security. Those experts included two highly respected former commissioners of public safety in Utah and a former university chief of police who now serves as the head of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. The report was received in late December and includes specific recommendations for improvement in policing, security and campus communications. The full report and the university’s response has been shared with the campus community and can be viewed online.

President Watkins has accepted the report’s findings and recommendations without reservation. Although the report concluded that there is no way to know for certain whether this tragic murder could have been prevented, it identified mistakes and weaknesses in university procedures and actions that handled differently, could have made a difference.

The university is acting immediately to correct the deficiencies identified in the report. Work is underway to implement every one of the 30 recommendations made by the review team—and to hold accountable those tasked with these actions. It is the university’s position that we must give our leadership and staff the training and resources to learn from this tragedy and work as a team to make our campus as safe as we possibly can for our students, staff, faculty and visitors. We are committed to keeping our campus community informed of the progress being made on this front.

We recognize the need for constant vigilance, and we welcome input from the McCluskeys and others. No one can fully appreciate and share the grief of the McCluskey family and Lauren’s friends, but we do share their concern for the safety and security of current and future students and a commitment to the safety and well-being of our campus community.”

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

Utah's film festival...
Elizabeth Weiler

Utah’s film festival screens an all-Utah cast for Marylin Monroe film

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — Aa film with an all-Utah cast and crew  has been selected by Utah’s Film Festival for a screening, part of the festival’s monthly screening series.  “Marilyn Monroe’s Last Press Conference”, is an independent film written and directed by Frank H. Cutler of Thunderbolt Alley Productions. According to Thunderbolt Alley Film, the […]
11 hours ago
Low water is pictured at the Great Salt Lake and a new bill is aiming to study the lake...
Dan Bammes

Senate passes Romney-sponsored bill to fund Great Salt Lake study

A bill to study the Great Salt Lake passed through the Senate with a unanimous vote on Wednesday. The bill would provide $5 million per year in funding.
11 hours ago
two cars drive down a road as snow falls...
Amie Schaeffer

Morning storms impact school schedules

A growing list of school districts are shifting their schedules. Some schools are going remote for the day while others delaying start due to weather.
11 hours ago
semi rollover...
Mark Jones

Semi rollover on Legacy Highway reduces traffic to one lane

The Utah Highway Patrol says a semi traveling northbound on Legacy Highway rolled Thursday night around 7:45 p.m. The driver was not hurt.
1 day ago
Weber State University will offer TheDream.US scholarships to Utah immigrant youth who want to atte...
Simone Seikaly

Utah immigrant youth to benefit from new Weber State scholarship

The scholarships for Utah immigrant youth are offered through TheDream.US, which helps DREAMers get into college.
1 day ago
Hari Bastakoti shovels a sidewalk following a snowstorm in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022...
Samantha Herrera

Storm bringing wind and snow to northern Utah

A storm is bringing winds of up to 55 mph Thursday and possibly three to four inches of snow on Friday along the Wasatch Front.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Lauren McCluskey’s mother questions student safety at the University of Utah