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Parents of Lauren McCluskey end lawsuit following settlement payment

Jill and Matt McCluskey, parents of slain University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey, walk past a memorial honoring their daughter after the Lauren McCluskey Memorial Walk at the McCarthey Family Track and Field Complex at the U. in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Lauren McCluskey, a track athlete, was was shot and killed near her dorm by Melvin Shawn Rowland, 37, on Oct. 22, 2018. Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The parents of murdered University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey have ended their federal lawsuit against the school and others.

Settlement payment made in Lauren McCluskey murder

The news comes after Jill and Matt McCluskey received payment from a settlement agreement that was reached last fall for $13.5 million. That settlement was for their two lawsuits, a federal civil suit and wrongful death suit in state court, against the university.

The state is paying $10.5 million to the McCluskey’s through their risk management agency. Meanwhile, another $3 million is being paid by the university in the form of a donation to the Lauren McCluskey Foundation.

In its general session, the Utah Legislature unanimously approved the payment. University of Utah President Ruth Watkins has also conceded that the murder was a “brutal, senseless and preventable” tragedy, adding that the university failed in their duty to help McCluskey.

“A safer future for all of their students”

The payment settlement effectively ends the back-and-forth between the McCluskey’s and the University of Utah. Going back to June 2019, the parents initially sued the university for $56 million.

“No one has been disciplined or held accountable in the campus police or housing. The same culture prevails at the campus police,” Jill McCluskey said at a press conference at the time. “We had hoped to have an adult conversation with the University of Utah administration. To work with them to build a safer future for all of their students,” added Matt McCluskey.

Lauren McCluskey was shot and killed on October 22, 2018. The shooting by Melvin Rowland happened on campus near McCluskey’s dorm and took place following weeks of Rowland stalking and harassing the track athlete. 

It was later learned that McCluskey had sought repeatedly to get help from campus police without success. 

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