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U. launches two independent investigations after student-athlete’s murder

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah has announced two independent reviews of what went wrong and what could improve, following the murder of a student-athlete last week on campus.

The review leaders promise thoroughness.

“We will do everything that is necessary to learn what occurred and why,” said John T. Nielsen, former commissioner of the Utah Dept. of Public Safety. “And we must do that to honor Lauren, and to prevent this kind of a tragedy from happening in the future.”

He, along with another former commissioner, Keith Squires, and Sue Riseling, Executive Director for the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, will learn if U. Police took seriously Lauren McCluskey’s claims she was in danger before she died, if Adult Probation and Parole properly kept tabs on her killer, Melvin Rowland, and how the campus could be safer.

U. President Ruth Watkins says student parking will improve, and the campus will remind students they can park in “A” lots closer to their dorms after 3:00 p.m.

“The university has, and will continue to, make a robust investment into security cameras and lighting across our campus,” Watkins said.

McCluskey’s killer, who killed himself, had a history of violence and sexual abuse.

In a news conference held Friday outside Rice-Eccles Stadium, Watkins and the investigation leaders outlined other security measures and email boxes for anyone with information or feedback to communicate with the review team.

Watkins said the university is briefing McCluskey’s family of changes on a regular basis to honor her memory, and working to ensure attacks like the one against her are prevented.

The U. says the cost of Mr. Nielsen’s services is $25,000, while Mr. Squires will donate his time. Riseling will charge $200 an hour.

They will have “reasonable” access to any investigators they need to help them gather evidence.

The first of their findings are due to President Watkins by Dec. 17.