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University of Utah Announces Progress On Campus Safety Efforts On Lauren McCluskey’s Birthday

Photo of vigil.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER
Students honored Lauren McCluskey at a vigil in October.

Stemming from the fatal shooting of a University of Utah student, several campus safety improvements are underway with more to come, officials said at a Board of Trustees’ Tuesday meeting.

University administrators gave the board an update on their progressimplementing the safety recommendations made by an independent team that reviewed actions that university departments took related to the Oct. 22 death of student-athlete Lauren McCluskey.

Lauren McCluskey would have turned 22 on Tuesday, her mother, Jill McCluskey, posted on Twitter.

“I’m taking personal responsibility to see that every one of the review team’s 30 recommendations is put into place as quickly as possible," university President Ruth V. Watkins said.

About half of the recommendations focused on the university’s police department. Those recommendations include adding a victim advocate position and hiring a detective that specializes in cases of relationship violence. Those positions are expected to be filled this spring, University Police Chief Dale Brophy said.

“The support for everything we are trying to do has been excellent,” Brophy told the Board of Trustees. “We’ve been getting everything we’ve asked for and more.”

Brophy’s department is also working to improve its communication with other university departments and outside groups like Utah Adult Probation and Parole.

The independent team also recommended that campus housing staff and police officers undergo more training on how to respond to and report violence on campus.

All university police officers have also received training on law enforcement databases. Starting in January, the officers are required to search the databases after a suspect has been identified in serious investigations.

Although the university is taking steps to improve campus safety, Jill McCluskey has repeatedly criticized it and asked for university personnel to be disciplined.

“I do not believe that it serves the ultimate mission of enhancing campus safety to fire anyone who acted in good faith and is capable and deeply committed to doing better,” Watkins said.

Rocio is coming to KUER after spending most of her life under the blistering Las Vegas sun and later Phoenix. She earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Spanish at the University of Nevada, Reno. She did brief stints at The Associated Press, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Reno Public Radio. She enjoys wandering through life with her husband and their toy poodle.
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