Scott G Winterton, KSL

Campus safety bill advances after impassioned plea from father of slain U. student

By Andrew Adams, KSL TV | Updated - Mar 4th, 2019 @ 11:07pm | Posted - Mar 4th, 2019 @ 10:20pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — A measure that would require campus safety training plans and reporting on what steps university take was advanced out of a House committee Monday, after an emotional plea from the father of a University of Utah student killed last fall.

Matt McCluskey, father of slain track athlete Lauren McCluskey, traveled from Washington to a committee room at the Utah State Capitol to express support for SB134.

“Jill (McCluskey) and I really only have one request: Remember Lauren,” the father said. “Remember Lauren Jennifer McCluskey, who would have turned 22 on Feb. 12 and graduated this May. Remember how she lived. Remember how she died. And through your actions, honor her memory.”

Investigators said McCluskey was stalked, kidnapped, shot and killed in October by a man she had dated.

Her family said the student had been concerned about the threat posed by Melvin Rowland and had reached out to campus police and then Salt Lake City police before being referred back to university authorities.

“This bill, in some sense, is written in blood and could prevent future harm or even death from befalling our most precious young men and women,” Matt McCluskey said.

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The measure is designed to unite victims of crimes like sexual assault and dating violence with the campus resources and protection they need, while requiring universities to report the steps they take over time to address the issues.

"We think more needs to be done," McCluskey said. "But that's part of why I'm here."

The House Education Committee unanimously approved the legislation with a favorable recommendation, sending it to the full House.

The bill had already cleared the Senate.

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