University of Utah plans $925K in security improvements
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The University of Utah plans to spend about $925,000 to improve safety following the killing of a student on the Salt Lake City campus.
University President Ruth Watkins had convened a task force to evaluate safety after 21-year-old Lauren McCluskey was gunned down in October by a man she briefly dated.
The task force has made two dozen recommendations, including improving building alarms, adding police patrols outside of night classes and hiring a chief security officer.
“Safety is a top priority for our campus and this committee brought forward many good ideas,” Watkins said in a statement. “We are determined to make this institution as safe as it can be.”
The university is also rolling out a campus ride-hailing service next week. Students and staff will be able to use an app to request rides across campus on weekday nights. The university is hiring students to drive the marked SafeRide vehicles.
In additional, the university is opening up more parking spots for student use in the evenings outside of main campus buildings.
In the coming months, the university plans to hire a chief security officer to oversee all campus safety. The campus police chief will report to the cabinet-level officer.
“This will ensure there’s someone at a high level at the university continuing to work on safety,” task force co-chairwoman Michele Ballantyne told The Salt Lake Tribune .
An investigation found the campus police department had mishandled multiple reports by McCluskey about Melvin S. Rowland, who later killed himself after shooting McCluskey.
McCluskey’s parents have sued the university, claiming it could have done more to protect their daughter.