SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – It’s the first day of classes for University of Utah students and nearly two years since the death of student-athlete Lauren McCluskey. In an effort to increase campus safety, students and professors can pledge to take Lauren’s Promise.
‘I will listen and believe you if someone is threatening you’ – are the words printed on stickers and some university syllabi as a commitment to help a person who may be in harm’s way.
“And if she had another advocate, another voice, that could have helped her, it might have made all the difference,” said Jill McCluskey, Lauren’s mother.
Student-athlete Lauren McCluskey was murdered on the U of U campus in October 2018 by a man she briefly dated.
Her family continues to bring awareness to Lauren’s tragedy through the Lauren McCluskey Foundation and Lauren’s Promise – a pledge you can make to listen and believe a person if they say someone is threatening them.
“I was thinking I wished someone – or a professor – would have let Lauren know that he or she would listen to her and believe her if someone was threatening her,” Jill McCluskey said.
While anyone can make the promise to help, Jill McCluskey said it’s also an optional vow that educators can include on their syllabi to let students know they’re ready to listen and to help.
U of U law professor Paul Cassell is one who’s chosen to include it on his syllabi since its release last year.
“Part of my promise is that if students come to me, I will listen to them, help them get to the people that they need to get to – whether it’s public safety, counseling, whether it’s any kind of assistance at all,” Cassell said.
In his syllabi, Cassell states campus safety must be a top priority, acknowledging Lauren’s tragedy and that there are other students who have also been threatened or harmed.
“If you don’t know who to turn to, please know that I (and my colleagues here at the College of Law) will listen and believe you if someone is threatening you,” Cassell writes in his syllabi.
“I think it’s very important – particularly in these times – that students understand that there are resources they can access,” Cassell said.
Professors at more than 25 universities throughout the world have taken Lauren’s Promise. Each syllabus offers resources available to students.
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