Lauren McCluskey’s Parents Share Hopes For Their Daughter’s Legacy

Oct 23, 2019, 11:28 AM

PULLMAN, Wash. – The track medals that hang in Lauren McCluskey’s childhood bedroom bring back fond memories to her mother. But they also serve as a reminder of the promising track star’s unmet potential.

“I wake up in the middle of the night and think about her,” said Jill McCluskey. “So it’s just something that we live with.”

Matt and Jill McCluskey’s daughter was killed one year ago on the University of Utah campus by a man she had briefly dated. Her repeated calls to campus police in weeks leading up to the shooting didn’t protect her.

“I can’t even describe how terrible an event it is, but if at least it can be used to prevent this from happening to others, that’s something we’re going to work pretty hard to do,” said Lauren’s father Matt McCluskey.

The couple has worked hard to forge change, including a new Utah law, and a long list of new policies and resources to improve safety at the University of Utah.

But the McCluskeys aren’t convinced that so far, changes in policy have changed the culture.


“I think the changes are good, so we’re happy that they’re working to be a safer campus. But I think they can’t really make true progress if they don’t hold people accountable and admit responsibility,” said Jill McCluskey.

Earlier this year, they filed a $56 million lawsuit against the university. They call it a “last resort.”

Safety in Utah isn’t their only focus. The McCluskeys have created a foundation to bring best practices to other campuses nationwide, and already, they believe it has raised awareness. They have also raised more than $100,000 for track scholarships.

In Lauren’s room, amid all the medals, there is also an artist’s rendering of Lauren running with angel wings. It suggests perhaps that Lauren’s Legacy will be as guardian for other students.

“We’ll never know exactly who gets saved. But I’m pretty confident that it will make a difference,” said Matt McCluskey.

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Lauren McCluskey’s Parents Share Hopes For Their Daughter’s Legacy