The U’s Safety Committee Receives New Members After 2 Years


Maya Fraser

Department of Public Safety on Campus in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Maya Fraser | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Stevie Shaughnessey, Home Stretch Producer, Host


In the coming months, the University of Utah’s Independent Review Committee will be receiving new leaders selected from different organizations around campus, such as ASUU, Housing and Residential Education, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and more. This transition comes as the IRC enters the third year since its creation.

In the upcoming term, the new IRC chair will be Allyson Mower, a librarian at the U, who has been at the university for 20 years and became a faculty member at the J. Willard Marriott Library in 2008. President Taylor Randall reached out to Mower and asked her to be this year’s chair, where she will use her past leadership experience to run the committee, Mower said.

“The game plan is to create a shared purpose and build familiarity with each other so that as independent reviews may be needed, we can respond in an efficient and timely manner,” Mower said.

The IRC was started after the death of Lauren McCluskey, and the McCluskey family had recommended the creation of the committee to the U, said Amos Guiora, a law professor at the U and the previous chairman of the IRC committee. According to Guiora, he was selected to lead the committee because of his research on bystanders, enablers and sexual assaults. He had written about McCluskey in his 2020 book titled “Armies of Enablers” which addresses the bystander effect.

“Not only had I written about Lauren, but Lauren’s running partner was a student of mine, and I had already had interaction with Lauren’s mom,” Guiora said. “I well knew that one of the fundamental underpinnings of the committee’s creation was Lauren’s murder.”

With Lauren McCluskey in mind, Mower hopes to create a strong and cohesive committee that is knowledgeable about intimate partner violence and sexism in order to honor those who have lost their lives in the past.

“I hope to build on what the institution has learned in the wake of these murders by educating all members of the IRC on rights and responsibilities inherent in our society,” Mower said. “The rights of survivor-victims, most of all, but also the responsibilities of public safety officers and the importance of measures to prevent violence.”

The committee’s purpose is to make sure the campus safety department acts in the manner they are designed to, Guiora said. During his time on the committee, the 11 members worked as a team in a democratic way to achieve its purpose, with each having an equal vote to decide on procedures.

“We would ask [the campus safety department] exactly as we were mandated to ask them, I don’t like the word difficult questions, but pointed questions to understand whether or not they and their people acted legally, correctly, properly,” Guiora said. “ … We would then reconvene and vote amongst ourselves as to whether or not we thought that they had acted appropriately or not acted appropriately.”

With this committee in place, a checks and balances system was created to make sure the campus safety department was being responsible during its approaches and interactions, said Malea Bauer, a senior studying economics and international studies at the U who sat on the committee the last two years.

“Our goal was to increase the accountability of the department and make sure that decisions being made by the police department are being overseen by people outside of the department so there are multiple parties with multiple interests protecting people on campus,” Bauer said.

While the meetings are unavailable to anyone besides committee members, Bauer said that students and staff are still welcome to contact the chairman with any concerns they have or issues they feel need to be addressed.

“This isn’t like a town council setting so you’re not going to come in and hear the decisions that are being made, but I think it’s important people see it as a resource to make sure that any complaints about oversight or decisions are honored,” Bauer said.


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