University of Utah responds to Dateline report on McCluskey killing
SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah has released two statements after an investigation by the television show Dateline raised questions about how campus police and the school handled the Lauren McCluskey case.
McCluskey was murdered on campus last year by Melvin Rowland, a man she had briefly dated before learning he was a convicted sex offender. Rowland took his own life a few hours later.
The show, which was titled “She Did Everything Right,” asked why police did not check Rowland’s parole status even though McCluskey contacted the department dozens of times to complain about him.
There were also questions about why the student housing department did not follow up on complaints about Rowland.
In response to the program, the University of Utah released this statement to KSL:
The University of Utah Department of Public Safety expresses its sincere sympathy to the McCluskey family and all those who mourn Lauren’s loss. The department is committed to learning from this tragedy and fully implementing all of the recommendations put forth by the independent review committee. The department’s staff has completed training (including the Lethality Assessment Protocol), updated policies, created new positions and hired highly qualified people with expertise in victim support and interpersonal violence investigation, among other actions. Moving forward, we are deeply committed to working with our partners on campus and in the community to promote a culture of safety.
They followed that up with a longer statement on their website, which reads in part:
The university has acknowledged gaps and mistakes in its operations, communication and processes and is acting on its commitment to take steps to reduce the likelihood of such a terrible tragedy happening again on campus…Actions taken include, among other things, changes to processes in the campus police and housing divisions, as well as hiring an outreach coordinator in housing and a victim advocate and a detective who specializes in interpersonal violence in the Department of Public Safety.
The entire, longer statement can be read online here.
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