U. President Announces Reviews, Security Changes After McCluskey Murder
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – University of Utah president Ruth Watkins on Friday announced two independent reviews following the murder of athlete Lauren McCluskey.
Three top law enforcement officials have been tasked with leading those investigations.
John T. Nelson, a former Department of Public Safety commissioner, was chosen to be the chair of the review team. Assisting will be another former Utah Public Safety commissioner, Keith Squires, and Sue Riseling, executive director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
“We have committed to Lauren’s family that we will do everything we can to learn from this in the hope of preventing such a tragedy from happening again on our campus,” Watkins said.
The independent reviews will begin immediately.
The first review will focus on the university police department’s handling of the McCluskey case. The second will focus on the overall safety and security on campus.
“Sometimes when you’re dealing with it day in and day out, things you might miss that are routine can be better identified by those who are looking at it from a different lens,” Squires said.
Watkins also announced action currently being taken to improve campus safety.
Among those actions include installing more lighting and cameras, beginning immediately.
Watkins also said the university’s housing and residential education program will evaluate its policies and practices, and it will provide staff and student leaders with more training on how to respond to an emergency situation.
There will also be more training provided to staff about resources available to help students, and new parking options will be made available closer to buildings and after 3 p.m.
“I want to be clear that safety on our campus is a top priority for me and for my administration,” Watkins said.
McCluskey was shot and killed on campus Oct. 22 by 37-year-old Melvin Rowland, whom she previously dated. She had reported to campus police she was being harassed by Rowland in the weeks leading up to the shooting.
The first investigation announced Friday will examine how those complaints were handled by officers and where improvements can be made.
Watkins instructed the independent team to wrap up the first investigation into the police department by Dec. 17. The campus safety review is set to be completed in the spring of 2019.
Watkins said the university is keeping the McCluskey family informed of the reviews.
Watch the full press conference here:
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