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Initiative to stop dating violence launched on anniversary of Lauren McCluskey's murder

Posted at 9:56 AM, Oct 23, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — On the third anniversary of Lauren McCluskey's murder, the foundation named after the University of Utah student-athlete launched a nationwide initiative to stop dating violence and stalking.

Purple ribbons tied to a tree honored McCluskey as she was remembered in a memorial walk organized by students on a track she loved.

“She was always very positive and always saw the best in everyone,” said Alexandria, a friend of McCluskey's.

Three years ago, McCluskey was murdered outside her dorm by a man she briefly dated. Melvin Rowland had lied to Lauren about his name, age and about being a convicted sex offender who spent more than a decade in prison. Investigations found campus police failed to properly respond to nearly two dozen requests for help by Lauren, saying she was being stalked and extorted.

“We hope to change the culture so that an increased awareness of what a huge problem this is,” said her mother, Jill McCluskey.

On Friday, the Lauren McCluskey Foundation announced it will advocate nationally, with a campaign on dating violence awareness. They will also create a “best practices” blueprint for colleges and universities across the country and score schools based on their efforts.

"It helps that we are trying to make good, do good, out of something that was horrible," added Jill.

The foundation will also expand Lauren’s promise, which has grown to be in more than 125 colleges. It states: I will listen and believe you if someone is threatening you.

Last year, The University of Utah settled two lawsuits with Lauren’s parents. The university admitted they did not protect Lauren and pledged millions to her foundation. They also agreed to raise money and build an indoor track in her memory.