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McCluskeys, U Of U Announce Multi-Million Dollar Settlement Agreement

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The parents of slain student Lauren McCluskey and the University of Utah announced a settlement agreement in the lawsuit filed against the state of Utah.

Jill and Matt McCluskey joined University of Utah President Ruth Watkins at the announcement Thursday outside the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Lauren McCluskey's Parents, U of U Reach Settlement Agreement

LIVE: Lauren McCluskey's parents and the University of Utah have reached a settlement agreement in the lawsuit against the State of Utah

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Thursday, October 22, 2020

Jill and Matt McCluskey filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state of Utah claiming the university failed to provide their daughter with protections that would have been given to a male student.

“We acknowledge and applaud the many positive changes that have occurred at the University of Utah since her death and we hope they continue,” Jill McCluskey said. “This settlement is important for many reasons. It addresses how Lauren died but also honored how she lived.”

According to the settlement terms, the state of Utah will pay the McCluskeys $10.5 million, and the University of Utah will make a charitable donation of $3 million to the Lauren McCluskey Foundation.

Also part of the settlement, the university has pledged to raise funds to construct an indoor track facility by Dec. 21, 2030, that will bear Lauren McCluskey’s name. If the university is unable to raise the money, then it will make an additional $3 million contribution to the Lauren McCluskey Foundation.

“We are honored that she will always have a presence on the campus and helping the athletes in the sport that Lauren was so dedicated to,” Jill McCluskey said.

“Most of all, we have hope for the future,” Jill McCluskey said at the end of her comments. “We hope not only that the University of Utah is a safer place but that campuses will be safer nationwide because of what we are doing with the foundation.”

The university’s newly-launched Center for Violence Protection will be renamed the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention.

“The university acknowledges and deeply regrets that it did not handle Lauren’s case as it should have and that, at the time, its employees failed to fully understand and respond appropriately to Lauren’s situation,” Watkins said. “As a result, we failed Lauren and her family.”

Click here for the University of Utah’s announcement on the settlement agreement.

Thursday marks the two-year anniversary of Lauren McCluskey’s murder. Her death came after she reported to U of U police that her ex-boyfriend had been stalking her and attempting to blackmail her using compromising photos.

One of the officers, Miguel Deras, who no longer works at the university, was later accused of sharing those photos with co-workers and making inappropriate comments.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill declined to file charges against Deras.

He said he was unable to find a statute in Utah’s laws to prosecute the former officer.

Protesters took to the streets Wednesday in Salt Lake City to decry Gill’s decision not to press charges.

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