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The University of Utah launches “Safe U Month” safety campaign ahead of the one year anniversary of Lauren McCluskey’s murder

Photo: Jordan Allred / Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah has launched a new safety campaign that aims to reduce dating violence, and it comes just weeks before the one year anniversary of Lauren McCluskey’s murder on campus.

Safe U Month launched October 1st to mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Lori McDonald, the school’s VP of Student Affairs, wants to make sure students feel safe no matter the situation, but she thinks McCluskey’s death was top of mind for the students and staff who planned the new safety campaign.

“This is an issue that has been incredibly important for our campus community,” McDonald said.

Along with the public awareness campaign, events will be held on campus each week focusing on a theme, including mental and emotional wellness, physical and environmental safety, and relationship safety.

McDonald hopes Safe U Month will get more people to recognize the signs of dating violence and speak up when they see it.

“How to recognize it, how to support individuals who are experiencing it, [and] how to prevent it,” McDonald says.

And that includes off campus.

Less than a year after McCluskey was killed, University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck was murdered in a suspected dating violence incident in a Salt Lake City home.

Another focus of Safe U Month will be overall safety.

Many at the university remember ChenWei Guo, the student who was was carjacked and killed near Red Butte Garden in 2017.

“It’s a good time for us to talk about these things and how the university is striving to improve on issues of safety,” McDonald said.