Guest opinion: The University of Utah continues to fail Lauren McCluskey

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  • StopAbuse Sanford, NC
    June 20, 2019 7:01 a.m.

    Obscene is the appropriate descriptor for the entirety of the U of U's response to Lauren's continued and frightened reports and requests for help.

    Accolades for failures that lead to a young woman's preventable murder? Obscene.

    The University defending their failure of Lauren? Obscene.

    Salt Lake City's Police failure to intercede? Obscene.

    That Lauren - who had made multiple reports, had expressed her fear; whose friends had made reports; whose parents had made reports; whose RA had made reports - was murdered on the very campus where the U of U failed to protect her? Obscene.

    Harassment. Stalking. Extortion. Intimidation. Any and all of these were chargeable offenses. Had Rowland been charged with any of them, it was inevitable his status of sex offender and parolee would have been revealed.

    A felon permitted to roam the campus freely, even as he stalked, extorted, intimidated a U of U student? Obscene.

    Fill in the blank:
    “The police department should have ________ in response to Lauren's concerns.”

    Cared comes to mind. Acted comes to mind.

    Heads need to roll. Period.

    That they haven't is obscene.

  • Andalucia Pullman, WA
    June 12, 2019 10:25 p.m.

    Fill in the blank?? The police should have DONE something when she reported harassment and extortion and showed a SCREENSHOT to them of his CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER status. 50,000 women a year are killed by intimate partner violence. Might we listen to them when they report harassment? Might we act on it to prevent further harassment? I have yet to see it at my university or at any other.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    June 10, 2019 3:37 p.m.

    To "Jim Schwartz" the problem is that 76-8-703 of the Utah Code would not have applied to him. Even when they spotted him on security cameras, there was still no known intent to harm her.
    At that point it looked like vindictive ex-boyfriend. He had not broken any law that would have put him back in jail.

    Yes we can see looking back that he was intent on breaking the law, but at the time that was not evident.

    Her story is a sad story about meeting the wrong guy and allowing him to take advantage of her.

  • blackattack Orem, UT
    June 10, 2019 7:12 a.m.

    The apology from the university of Utah didn’t address the tone-deafness and insensitivity of this award ceremony. They apologized for using Lauren’s name in the program without the family’s consent. This administration just doesn’t get it.

  • Jim Schwartz Fort Lauderdale, FL
    June 9, 2019 8:36 p.m.

    @Moderate -

    First, as regards McCluskey's killer, yes, his prison sentence was through May. U of U graduation was May 2. (Google: "Rowland’s prison sentence was set to expire in May 2019.") The additional charge, even if the sentence were concurrent, would have added time to the killer's sentence. Lauren would have graduated and left town.

    You said:
    "You want to improve the response? Fill in the blank."
    "You want your son or daughter to be safer? Fill in the blank."

    Now that I have filled in the blank with a valid answer, you have a new question: "How do you protect a student (or anyone) who is being harassed by someone not on probation?"

    The answer to your new question is similar if not precisely the same: Take the victim's complaint seriously, investigate the claims, charge and prosecute any crimes, pursue appropriate sentences.

    No one will claim that that would ensure the safety of every student, but it would help.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    June 9, 2019 6:59 p.m.

    Jim Schwartz - Fort Lauderdale, FL "The police department should have made contact with Rowland, arrested him, charged him with his violations of § 76-8-703 of the Utah Code..."
    This is excellent, Jim, thank you. It is the exact detail which is missing from articles written by professional reporters.

    I don't know what "the remainder of his prison sentence" is, but hopefully that would have been enough time for Lauren to finish school and leave town. Yes, leave town. Because he would eventually get out of jail and come looking for her.

    Sadly, I don't see how this helps others. How do you protect a student (or anyone) who is being harassed by someone not on probation?

  • Jim Schwartz Fort Lauderdale, FL
    June 9, 2019 4:29 p.m.

    @Moderate

    The police department should have taken Lauren seriously, made contact with Rowland, arrested him, charged him with his violations of § 76-8-703 of the Utah Code (Criminal trespass upon an institution of higher education), communicated with his parole officer with respect to the violation, and taken measures to verify that he was returned to prison to serve the remainder of his prison sentence which his violation of § 76-8-703 mandated as a violation of his parole, in response to Lauren's concerns.

  • Bigger Bubba Herriman, UT
    June 9, 2019 2:11 p.m.

    She kept calling and calling, but nothing meaningful was done. Now she is dead. Heads need to roll!

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    June 9, 2019 11:07 a.m.

    “The police department should have ________ in response to Lauren's concerns.”

    Read the comments of this and any other story on Lauren. They speak in generalities about being disappointed in the response, or that it was disgraceful, or that it was detached and insensitive or that it was tone deaf. Nobody -- not even Lauren's parents -- fill in the blank. None identify that thing or things the police should have done but did not.

    You want to improve the response? Fill in the blank.
    You want your son or daughter to be safer? Fill in the blank.

    "Take her seriously" is not a valid answer. What is the ACTION that police could have taken to prevent a determined killer from obtaining a gun and killing his girlfriend?

  • metalgeek 84720, 00
    June 9, 2019 10:14 a.m.

    As a U grad, my experience with the administration, at least at the law school, was that it was laden with hypocritical activists who had a thinly-veiled contempt for many of its students, especially those of a certain political and cultural background. So it doesn’t surprise me in the least that the administration over the entire school would pat themselves on the back after such a tragedy and colossal failure. The U needs some house cleaning or at least some changes to its internal culture.

  • Uteofferouus Salt Lake City, UT
    June 9, 2019 8:57 a.m.

    The author of this opinion stated: "Addressing the glaring deficiencies at the U. regarding the need to take and deal with women’s concerns seriously and with urgency, and the overarching issue of student safety in general, is not solely a matter of changing a few policies and procedures".

    Hmmm? First, I posit that the University of Utah grossly failed to protect a student. It doesn't matter if the student is a female or a male. They should not be unequally focused with "women's concerns", they should be fully concerned with the safety of all students!

    It interesting how women are all for being treated equal when it comes to pay, responsibility, capability, and leadership ability (which they rightly deserve), but then when a tragedy like this occurs they seemingly always want special treatment. Where is the equality in that?

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2019 6:13 p.m.

    The university has been a disgrace from start to finish here

  • Jim Schwartz Fort Lauderdale, FL
    June 8, 2019 5:47 p.m.

    @Orson - "This kind of misguided activism destroys trust in law enforcement."

    No. It is misguided law enforcement which destroyed trust in law enforcement.

    The spirit of Lauren McCluskey lives on through her family and friends who will not allow law enforcement's, the U of U's, "the system's" problems to continue without resolution and remedial action.

    Thanks to the Deseret News for continuing to support their efforts.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    June 8, 2019 4:16 p.m.

    "Orson - Woods Cross, UT
    June 8, 2019 10:31 a.m.
    What a sad stare of affairs when the DN opinion pages give vent to activists running down police depts that need loyalty instead of negative publicity."

    "Activists"? It's decent people, most whom are parents, calling out the incompetence and abject failure of the PD's involved. Someones daughter was murdered due to people not doing their job. No one got fired, no one was held accountable. The "negative publicity" is earned.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2019 1:28 p.m.

    What a disgrace. The University of Utah administration is an embarrassment to the fine institution that is the University of Utah.

    Multiple people should lose their jobs over the whole McCluskey debacle. My best wishes to her family in Pullman.

  • DeDee76 Orem, UT
    June 8, 2019 1:19 p.m.

    Let Lauren rest in peace.

  • 3grandslams Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 8, 2019 12:20 p.m.

    I am all in with this article. I really feel university negligence contributed to the death of Lauren. I’m not sure why her family has not taking legal action against University, and I can’t figure out why the state of Utah hasn’t stepped in to decertify the campus police department. It’s confusing how the states Public Safety office has handled the BYU Police Department for not sharing documents and the universities Police Department for gross negligence in the death of one of its students.

    Go figure.

  • FACTchequer Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2019 12:12 p.m.

    It’s inexcusable how tone deaf everyone at the U has been on this tragic event.

    I wonder how they would have reacted if Lauren had been their daughter.

  • Orson Woods Cross, UT
    June 8, 2019 10:31 a.m.

    What a sad stare of affairs when the DN opinion pages give vent to activists running down police depts that need loyalty instead of negative publicity.

    Police are not all-knowing all-perfect every-where present law enforcers who perfectly respond to every situation. Instead they are over-worked, over-stressed, understaffed, and constantly criticized by everyone they give tickets to.

    Now so many seem to be jumping on the hate police wagon, letting these upset and angry McCluskey parents vend their anger in the press/media. This kind of misguided activism destroys trust in law enforcement.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    June 8, 2019 10:24 a.m.

    Most universities have failed us, and we have worshiped these institutions for 50 years in our country. All universities have crime. I grieve with those who are in mourning. This is tragic.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    June 8, 2019 9:49 a.m.

    "It is way past due for someone of authority in Utah to hold personnel at the U. accountable and responsible for the failures in behavior and leadership at the University. "

    Yeah? Whom? The leadership (or lack of it) starts at the top with Ruth Watkins. An absolute disgrace. Next, I hear the U History department will posthumously award the Captain of the Titanic with a "great fuel mileage" award.

  • Linda Mittelhammer Pullman, WA
    June 8, 2019 9:49 a.m.

    The behavior of the University was incredibly insensitive and detached from reality.