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To our campus community,
It is with tremendous sadness that I share the news that Lauren McCluskey, an accomplished student athlete who came to the University of Utah from Pullman, Washington, was killed Monday night on our campus.
Lauren was a highly regarded member of the university’s track and field team and an outstanding scholar, a senior majoring in communication.
Several members of our university administration spoke with Lauren’s family last night and I have also reached out to them. Her family is understandably in shock at this news about their daughter. They are heartbroken. We have and continue to offer our full support to them at this terrible time.
We have canceled day and evening classes for Tuesday, Oct. 23, to allow our campus community to grieve the senseless loss of this bright, young woman. We have made our counseling and support services available to students, staff and faculty.
The Associated Students of the University of Utah and our Athletics Department are planning a vigil for Lauren on Wednesday at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Park Building. I will be joining them to pay my respects and offer my support to Lauren’s friends, family and the entire campus community.
The police investigation is still underway, but here is a brief overview of what happened last night. Around 8:20 p.m., university police received a report of a possible abduction in a parking lot outside a residence hall. Police responded and as they searched the area, they discovered Lauren deceased in a parked car near the south tower of the Medical Plaza, a residential hall on campus.
Police issued a secure-in-place order for campus as they searched for a suspect. That order remained in effect until just before midnight, after police determined the suspect had left the area. He was later found deceased at an off-campus location.
I deeply appreciate the quick response by University Police Chief Dale Brophy, the university’s Department of Public Safety, residential housing staff, Athletics Department and other staff who responded last night. I also want to thank the Salt Lake City Police Department and other law enforcement agencies for their excellent help and work.
While classes have been canceled today, campus will remain open. The Counseling Center and other support resources are prepared to aid students, and Human Resources has arranged for the Employee Assistance Program to help with counseling for staff and faculty. We encourage members of our campus community to use these services as needed.
As a campus community, we share grief over this tragic loss of life. Our deepest sympathy is extended to Lauren’s family and friends.
— President Ruth V. Watkins