U of U officials launch 2 investigations after death of Lauren McCluskey

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News)- Officials with the University of Utah launched two reviews into campus safety following the murder of one of their students.

21-year-old Lauren McCluskey, an athlete on Utah’s track and field team, was shot and killed by an ex-boyfriend as she was leaving an evening class Monday, October 22nd.

Friday, U of U President Ruth V. Watkins said she has appointed three law enforcement professionals to review campus safety after McCluskey’s death. They will be conducting two separate, in-depth reviews. 

Watkins said John T. Nielsen will lead the team for both reviews. He is a former commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety(DPS) and a retired attorney.

Keith D. Squires, a former DPS commissioner, and current senior vice president for government and industry relations at ANDE and Sue Riseling, executive director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, will also be on the team.

Nielsen said he has set up two confidential, anonymous email addresses that anyone with information or feedback can use to communicate with the review team.

Both reviews will be made public once the investigations are complete.

WATCH:

Watkins said one of the two reviews will look at all aspects of the University Department of Public Safety’s handling of events surrounding Lauren McCluskey’s death. Watkins said she instructed the group to examine “protocols, procedures and actions of all officers involved” in the case.

She also asked the group to provide recommendations based on “best practices for law enforcement” that might enhance the department’s existing guidelines. Watkins asked for a report no later than Dec. 17.

The second review will examine the overall safety of the U campus, including:

  • Evaluating policies that guide how campus entities handle and report issues related to student safety.
  • Effectiveness of recent actions to enhance safety on campus.
  • Areas of improvement, if needed, in student housing.
  • Additional opportunities and resources for safety and security training and education for students, faculty and staff.
  • Identifying innovations in safety and security measures adopted by other large public universities, particularly those in urban settings, that could be implemented at the University of Utah.

This review is expected to last through the 2019 Spring Semester. 

For now, the university has already started implementing the following actions aimed at improving safety:

  • The U’s Housing and Residential Education program will evaluate its policies and practices. It also will provide staff and student leaders with additional in-depth training on how to respond to and manage routine and emergency situations and resources available to them.
  • The Office of the Dean of Students will increase communication and trainings for faculty and staff about resources available to help students.
  • The Office of Equal Opportunity will provide additional training on reporting guidelines across the campus.
  • The university has, and will continue, to make a robust investment in security cameras and lighting on campus.
  • Commuter services will provide more communication to students about the option to park in “A” lots—which are closer to campus buildings—after 3 p.m.
  • The Department of Public Safety has provided detailed training to its detectives on case management to improve consistency and level of detail. It also is evaluating its practices to provide more timely and efficient response services as well as how it prioritizes cases.

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