What changes has University of Utah made since Lauren McCluskey’s death?

Top Stories

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – It has been almost two years since the murder of Lauren McCluskey on the University of Utah campus. On Oct. 22, 2018, McCluskey was murdered by a man she had briefly dated.

McCluskey repeatedly reached out for help to the campus police and since then her parents have sued the university saying not enough was done to prevent her death. Since Oct. 2018, the University of Utah has made changes to their police force and on-campus safety protocols in response to the murder of McCluskey.

New details concerning the McCluskey case emerged this weekend as reports of the officer who McCluskey reported to claiming that she was being extorted for $1,000 dollars was accused of saving explicit photos of McCluskey and sharing them with at least one co-worker.

Below is a timeline of all the actions the University of Utah has taken since McCluskey’s death.

Oct. 25, 2018: Days after McCluskey’s murder, the university begins its initial review of campus safety and department protocols.

Tributes_continue_days_after_McCluskey_m_0_20181026233155

Nov. 2, 2018: President Watkins announced the appointment of three law enforcement professionals to conduct two reviews on campus safety following McCluskey’s death. In the meantime, the university began implementing a list of actions to improve campus safety including the evaluation of housing policies and procedures as well as additional training across campus.

Dec. 19, 2018: The school announces actions to improve campus safety and security.

After an independent review related to the Lauren McCluskey case, President Watkins announced actions to improve campus safety.

“We are acting on all the insights and recommendations in the review team’s report, which identified gaps in our training, awareness and enforcement of certain policies and offers us a roadmap for strengthening security on our campus,” Watkins said in 2018.

“I am holding myself and my leadership team responsible for making these changes,” Watkins said. “Our commitment to Lauren, her friends and family, as well as our students, parents, staff, faculty and community is that safety will continue to be a top priority at the University of Utah.”

Jan. 25, 2019: The university responds to important questions raised by the McCluskey family.

Feb. 12, 2019: The University of Utah Board of Trustees received a full briefing on 30 recommendations to keep students and faculty safe. President Watkins said she would ensure that every recommendation would be put into place as quickly as possible. She told media that she decided not to fire anyone who was working in ‘good faith’ in the events leading up to and after Lauren’s death.

June 27, 2019: McCluskey family files lawsuit, University of Utah releases response statement:

We will respond to the McCluskey family’s lawsuit through the appropriate channels, but I want to express again our deep sorrow for the loss of Lauren McCluskey. Our hearts go out to her family and friends.

While there are differences in how we would characterize some of the events leading to Lauren’s tragic murder, let me say again that we share the McCluskey family’s commitment to improving campus safety. We continue to address the recommendations identified by the independent review of the university’s safety policies, procedures and resources, and we are making ongoing improvements designed to protect our students and our entire campus community.

Ruth V. Watkins
President, University of Utah

July 16, 2019: The University of Utah announced the retirement of its Police Chief and Director of Public Safety, Dale Brophy.

Brophy wrote in an email to the University’s Department of Public Safety, “After 25 years in law enforcement, I have decided to retire and pursue other opportunities. I will serve my last day as the director of public safety here at the University on October 15, 2019. This has not been an easy decision, but the timing is right. This move will open a new chapter for me and provide the department an opportunity to continue forward under new leadership.”

Aug. 15, 2019: The University of Utah announces plan to invest nearly $1 million in campus safety efforts.

The efforts included hiring more personnel, additional training for faculty, staff and students, updated security at facilities, updates to technology and communication efforts and updated safety policies.

Sept. 2019: University of Utah police officer involved in the case resigns. Investigators say the officer failed to relay the report about McCluskey’s ex-boyfriend before she was killed.

Miguel Deras was then hired to work as an officer in Logan. Deras’s resignation came after police officials said he made similar errors on a separate domestic violence case and disciplined him.

Dec. 19, 2019: The University of Utah announces Marlon C. Lynch will serve as the school’s first chief safety officer.

This change came as the Presidential Task Force on Campus Safety recommended that the university hire a chief safety officer with responsibility, oversight and coordination of all campus safety initiatives.

The University of Utah has selected Rodney Chatman as the new chief of police. (University of Utah)

Jan. 9, 2020: The University of Utah hires a new chief of police for the Department of Public Safety. Rodney Chatman began his new position on Feb. 17th of this year.

May 18, 2020: University of Utah responds to claims of a University of Utah police officer showing and saving explicit pictures of McCluskey to at least one male co-worker after Lauren McCluskey reported to one of the officers that she was extorted for $1,000 dollars.

Monday morning the university responded by saying:

“The University of Utah Police Department completed an internal affairs investigation in February 2020 once it was alerted to these allegations and found no evidence that a former officer had “bragged” or shared any image from the investigation that wasn’t considered a legitimate law enforcement reason,” a statement from university spokesperson Chris Nelson read.

“No officers, currently or previously employed ever reported this at the time of occurrence. Because there was no finding, the incident was not reported to POST,” he explained.

Several of Utah’s leaders and lawmakers have already reacted to the most recent claims against the former University of Utah officer, saying they are taking steps to review campus police protocols to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.