To the campus community,
We will forever grieve the loss of student-athlete, Lauren McCluskey, who was killed on Oct. 22, 2018, by a man she briefly dated. She was a star at the hurdles and long jump. She was an animal lover. She wanted to be a journalist or work in public relations. Lauren was a beloved daughter, sister and friend.
On March 28, ESPN+ will share a 90-minute documentary and written story about Lauren’s life and tragic death. The reporting will include an examination of the missteps made at multiple points by the university, state agencies and employers as she faced interpersonal violence and threats from the man who murdered her.
I know this story and its retelling is difficult and will renew criticism and fears about safety on the University of Utah’s campus. I have asked Chief Safety Officer Keith Squires and Vice President for Student Affairs Lori McDonald to schedule a series of listening sessions for students, faculty and staff in April to answer questions and address concerns related to safety and support resources. In addition to meeting in a general listening session, Vice President McDonald and CSO Squires will be reaching out to individual student groups in the coming days.
The university has acknowledged that it did not respond to Lauren’s needs correctly and has made significant progress, including putting in place a series of safety improvements recommended after her death. We also have committed to continue doing better. As I noted at the U’s Campus Safety Conference on March 2, the university has worked to regain the McCluskey family’s trust. Together, we will gather, study and implement the best, victim-informed safety practices and work to prevent violence going forward.
There is still more work to be done. I am grateful for the collaboration and partnership we are building together with Jill and Matt McCluskey and their foundation. Transparency, accountability and open lines of communication will guide this effort. With your help, the university will become a national leader in campus safety.
This is how we honor Lauren.
President Taylor Randall
University of Utah