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U of U Chief Safety Officer to leave the university, accepts job elsewhere

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SALT LAKE CITY– The Chief Safety Officer at the University of Utah says he is leaving the university and accepting a similar position at Michigan State University, the U announced Tuesday.

Marlon Lynch will be leaving the U at the end of March and Keith Squires, a former Utah Commissioner of Public Safety and Lynch’s current executive officer, will serve as the interim CSO. 

“It is with mixed emotions I leave Utah,” Lynch said in a statement. “This new opportunity was unexpected, and my decision was not an easy one to make. He said the decision to leave would also allow him to be closer to his family in Michigan. 

In his statement, Lynch said he’s done a lot to improve campus safety during his short time at the U. 

“Over the past year, my team has accomplished amazing work on an extremely fast track, restructuring safety operations in a way that positions the university to carry this momentum well into the future and achieve a true transformation of safety on our campus,” Lynch said.

Lynch was named as the U’s chief safety officer in December of 2019. He came to the U from New York University where he held high leadership positions in public safety and law enforcement. 

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The university said  Lynch’s main goal when he started at the U was to re-establish trust between the public and the University Police Department, following the murder of U. student-athlete Lauren McCluskey

Prior to Lynch leaving, the U placed Police Chief Rodney Chatman on leave due to an ongoing investigation by the Utah Attorney General’s Office.  “We’re disappointed to be losing Marlon but wish him the very best in this new role,” said Cathy Anderson, the university’s chief financial officer.

“Marlon is a nationally recognized campus safety expert, so it comes as no surprise that he is highly sought after. During the year he has been with us he has transformed our university’s public safety functions that traditionally reported through the chief of police.