Students Remember Lauren McCluskey At Vigil At University of Utah

Oct 24, 2018, 7:44 PM | Updated: Oct 25, 2018, 1:11 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Hundreds of students gathered for a vigil to honor University of Utah senior Lauren McCluskey. McCluskey, a member of the university’s track and field team, was shot and killed late Monday night.

After a couple of difficult days on campus, students were ready to come together. They gathered at the front steps of the Park Building in President’s Circle. Student-athletes filed in after the rest of the students assembled, some carrying flowers, to remember McCluskey.

“I think it’s important for everyone to come out, not only to give us a moment of peace, just to kind of respect what happened, and kind of get it through our minds, but also to respect what happened and who Lauren was, which was an incredible woman,” said freshman Natalie Haerter.

Friends in attendance said she was a sweet person who made God and her Christian faith a priority.

Hannah Vasquez says it was in her congregation at Capital Church where she first met McCluskey. She remembers McCluskey asking to sit in the open seat next to her. The two eventually struck up a conversation about life and plans for the future.

“I remember leaving church being kind of in awe and wonderstruck at how outgoing and sweet she was and I was really excited to have a new friend in church,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez said when she heard about what had happened to her church friend, she was devastated but instantly remembered how McCluskey made her feel during their interactions.

“I will never forget how kind she was. It was a lasting impression she made on me,” she said.

While not everyone at the vigil knew McCluskey, they all felt the impact of what happened.

“It’s really important for us to bond together and not feel alone, because everyone went through those text alerts and everyone went through the loss of someone, even if you don’t know them,” Haerter said.

Students at universities across Utah showed their support for McCluskey’s friends and family. Student-athletes, coaches, staff, and students at Utah State University, Weber State University, and Brigham Young University took pictures wearing Utah red and sent messages of support.

“Honestly, it made me cry this morning because it’s just a beautiful thing and it really does show you that these things happen constantly,” Haerter said. “It’s so hard to think about, but I’ve been in many lockdowns. It almost felt so normal, and so I’m glad that people are respecting the fact that this shouldn’t be normal and they’re acknowledging it at other campuses too,”

There will be another vigil Friday night hosted by “It’s on Us”, a group focused on preventing domestic violence. They will gather at 5:00 at the Marriott Library Plaza to remember McCluskey, show support for her family, and support other victims of domestic violence.

A fund has been established to honor the memory of Lauren McCluskey.

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Students Remember Lauren McCluskey At Vigil At University of Utah