After two murders in two years, University president pledges safety improvements

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) – On Friday, University of Utah officials pledged to improve campus safety in the wake of its second student murder in two years.

University President Ruth Watkins addressed the media and spoke about two separate reviews that are being launched after Lauren McCluskey’s murder in October.

“The University of Utah is a safe institution,” said Watkins.

“This is, of course, a very sad time at the University of Utah,” she added.

McCluskey was murdered by an ex-boyfriend who police acknowledged had gained access to her dorm and was waiting for her the day of her murder. She would later be shot and killed in a vehicle on campus.

“Examining our policies around guests, looking at whether our students prop open doors, and let in people that they don’t know,” said Watkins.

Watkins also said students have expressed a desire to park closer to buildings.

“Commuter services will provide more communication to students about options to park in A parking lots — these are closer to campus buildings and available after 3 p.m.,” said Watkins.

Students like Chantea England say they have been deeply affected by the most recent murder.

But they also say they do feel safe on campus.

“It doesn’t make me personally feel unsafe,” said England.

Student Peter Johnston says he thinks the university is a safe campus — but he welcomes an efforts at improvement.

“They’re doing a review, maybe something will come up that they could’ve done differently, and all for the better,” said Johnston.

President Watkins says she has asked departments around campus to review their safety protocols.

The overall campus safety review announced Friday will be concluded in the spring of 2019, she said.

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