University of Utah challenges release of Lauren McCluskey’s records

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The University of Utah said it shouldn’t have to release Lauren McCluskey’s counseling records to her parents. And her mother said that information would help in their efforts to improve campus safety.

“It feels like the university is trying to withhold things to keep us from not knowing what happened,” said the student-athlete’s mother, Jill McCluskey.

Lauren McCluskey was murdered on campus in 2018, and the University of Utah is now appealing a request for Lauren’s parents to have access to her counseling records.

“We want to find, get the information about the two times that she visited the psychologist/therapist after she broke up with her killer,” Jill McCluskey said.

McCluskey told ABC4 News she encouraged her daughter to visit a counselor after she felt like her daughter was not telling her everything.

“I also felt like it would be another assurance that someone else knew what was going on with her. You know, that a responsible adult maybe could help her,” Jill McCluskey said. “You don’t want to tell your mother everything, but [now] we just want to find out what happened.”

Following Lauren’s death, Jill McCluskey said she became her daughter’s legal representative.

But in a lawsuit, the university states:

“A student’s expectation of privacy protects these confidential communications from disclosure – period – even to the student’s parents after death.”

University of Utah lawsuit

But for the McCluskey family, Jill McCluskey said having her daughter’s records would help in their efforts to improve campus safety. 

“I think having a complete idea of what happened will help us make recommendations and work with other universities to make things better, so this doesn’t happen again,” Jill McCluskey said.

In the days leading up to her daughter’s murder, Jill McCluskey said there was no communication between counseling, police and housing officials – who Jill said were aware of Lauren’s situation.

By not giving the McCluskey’s access to their daughter’s counseling records, Jill McCluskey said it feels like the university continues to avoid taking accountability for their actions.

“If you don’t take responsibility for your past mistakes, how can you be better in the future?” Jill McCluskey said.

Despite the university’s lawsuit appeal, Jill McCluskey said she’s hopeful that the day will come where they can find out what was said behind closed doors, and Lauren’s information can be used to further campus safety and connect university resources.

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