Athletes Honor Lauren McCluskey, University of Utah Student Murdered on Campus

Published on October 26, 2018

In the days following a campus-wide lockdown after a student athlete was kidnapped, shot and killed, members of the local community are flooding in to offer support and honor to the victim. Students around the country as well as professional athletes are among those honoring the life of Lauren McCluskey. McCluskey was a 21-year old student and star athlete.  She was found dead in the back of a car on the University of Utah campus Monday night.

The University of Utah sent out an emergency text Monday night around 10 pm after police responded to reports of shots fired on campus. The shooter was 37-year old Melvin Rowland. Rowland was a registered sex offender that had been dating 21-year old student Lauren McCluskey for just a month. McCluskey ended the relationship after learning that Rowland had lied to her about his age, name and criminal history, according to her mother in a statement. Authorities later found Rowland dead inside a nearby church of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

University of Utah Student Honored

Over the next few days students and athletes around the country would gather to hold vigil for McCluskey, a member of the University of Utah Track & Field team. Star Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell paid tribute to McCluskey. He did so by writing her name on a pair of red sneakers that he wore during his game against the Houston Rockets last night. “She was being harassed for two straight weeks. That’s so tough. She was defenseless,” said Mitchell of McCluskey to NBA TV after the game last night. “She couldn’t do anything about it. For a man to do that, that’s terrible … I just wanted to be able to dedicate this game to her and her family,” he continued.

The University of Utah football team will honor McCluskey during their game against UCLA this week. Players will take the field with decals on the backs of their helmets. Students gathered at President’s Circle on the University of Utah campus yesterday to honor McCluskey during a vigil.

Sexual Violence on College Campuses

Governor Gary Herbert has ordered an investigation following the death of McCluskey on the Utah Department of Corrections. Others have criticized the University of Utah campus security for not being thorough enough. McCluskey had been working with campus police after ending her relationship with Rowland earlier this month. According to RAINN, the largest anti-sexual abuse and violence organization in the US, women ages 18-24 are the most at-risk for sexual violence in America. Sexual violence is one of the most prevalent crimes in American colleges, and 32% of college students report having been victim of domestic abuse by a previous partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Classes for University of Utah students were cancelled on Tuesday. A Vigil to honor McCluskey was held on Wednesday night. Students continued to honor the victim throughout the week on campus. This shooting occurred almost a year to the day after Chin Wei Guo, a Chinese foreign exchange student, was shot and killed during an attempted carjacking on campus in October 2017.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

Read more

More GD News