In October 2018, Lauren McCluskey was a senior at the University of Utah. Like many of us, she had life goals and believed that a higher education would help her achieve them. She was close to graduation and excited for her next chapter in life. But on Oct. 22, Lauren was found dead outside her dorm. Her hopes and dreams — her life — came to a tragic end.
Her killer was an ex-boyfriend that lied about his identity. He was abusive and threatened her many times. Lauren reported the situation to campus police, but they didn’t take her concerns seriously. Lauren lost her life because no one listened.
Lauren’s story is heartbreaking, but it isn’t the only case of dating violence on college campuses. 21% of college students report experiencing dating violence in a current relationship and 32% report experiencing violence with a previous partner. These numbers are high, and something must be done to provide appropriate help to those in dangerous situations. Action must be taken to ensure there’s always someone who is willing to listen and support victims.
SLCCSA has pledged to advocate for enhanced protocol and resources in crisis management. Bruins should have easy access to resources that can strengthen them in dangerous situations. But most importantly, Bruins need faculty and staff that are trained to provide support and believe students. Safety begins with the Lauren McCluskey Promise.
The Utah Student Association has endorsed implementing the Lauren McCluskey Promise in syllabi. This promise not only encourages professors to actively listen to student concerns in situations of harm, but also makes helpful resources available in every course. SLCCSA believes that this is a great way to make help more transparent. Nevertheless, we recognize that more must be done to stop the violence. There’s a long road ahead of us as we advocate for this Initiative, but change begins when we walk.
On Oct. 22, 2021, we are hosting a walk to remember Lauren McCluskey and promote campus safety. Your attendance is important on this day, because it shows that we, as Bruins, are solidified in the pursuit of safety. Join us and let your voice be heard. Walk with us to remember a student who didn’t deserve to die.
Lauren may be gone, but we can always do our part to let her light shine.