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SLC Remembers Lauren McCluskey in 2nd Annual Race for Campus Safety

Several sponsors and groups organized to promote campus safety, five years after McCluskey’s death.
Luke Larsen
Participants run pass the starting line the 2nd Annual Race for Campus Safety at McCarthey Family Track & Field Complex in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. (Photo by Luke Larsen | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


The Lauren McCluskey Foundation held its 2nd Annual Utah Race for Campus Safety at the University of Utah on Saturday. Students, staff, alumni, friends and family gathered in memoriam of Lauren McCluskey, who was shot and killed five years ago on the U’s campus.

Jill and Matt McCluskey, Lauren’s parents, hosted the event and hoped to spread the message of Lauren’s promise — a vow community members can take that reads, “I promise to listen and believe you if someone is threatening you, represent a safe haven for sharing incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking [and] change campus culture that responds poorly to dating violence and stalking.”

Mrs. McCluskey said she hopes that the race will “continue to raise awareness of the issues of dating violence and stalking. I hope we can get more people involved to make Lauren’s promise.”

She added, “We want to connect to the people here in Utah and remember Lauren. It was great, I’ve got to see a bunch of her friends that were on the track team … ”

Other organizations such as SASS Go, a women’s education and self-defense organization, attended the event. They aim to create safer communities and ensure that survivors are properly supported.

Mesa Weidle, a U alumna who currently works as a SASS Go instructor, graduated in 2019 and was McCluskey’s teammate and friend.

“The reason I joined SASS was to let her light shine and let her legacy live on,” she said. “A big part of it is educating people on relationship violence and sexual assault.”

Weidle said that after McCluskey’s death, she “felt really scared walking around campus, and I felt afraid for everyone I knew, so, when I found SASS, it was a way to reclaim my safety.”

Through SASS Go, she could regain her confidence and try to make a change in the community through education about relationship violence, and sexual assault, and teaching women self-defense.

“Teaching classes has been a good way for me to heal,” Weidle said. “It was incredibly hard for me because I was dealing with grief, and it shook my whole world. SASS was a big part of helping me navigate through that.”

She said was excited to see so many people show up to bring awareness to campus safety.

“Lauren’s case, sexual assault and relationship violence needs to be more of a conversation,” Weidle said. “If we could be more proactive, I think that it will have a great long-term outcome.”

Jessie Rozario, U athletic trainer for the cross country and track programs, said that she hopes this race will continue to promote advocacy for student wellness and campus safety.

“As an athletic trainer, my first and foremost job is to advocate for the students,” Rozario said. “I want to make sure that they get all the care they need. I think that the foundation really aligns with my philosophy. Ultimately, I hope that this will continue to raise awareness for student safety.”


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About the Contributors
Ethan Udy
Ethan Udy, News Writer
(he/they) Ethan Udy is pursuing journalism as a career and for a degree. He seeks to spread information through objective writing and emotional photography work that will touch his audience. Outside of writing, he enjoys Utah’s unique scenery, writing music, landscape photography, and enjoying the company of good friends.
Luke Larsen
Luke Larsen, Photographer
(he/him) Luke started at the Chronicle in the fall of 2023. He is currently studying anthropology. He has worked as a professional portrait photographer since 2021 in Waco, Texas, where he has lived for the past ten years. He is originally from Los Angeles, California and loves Dim Sum.
Minh Vuong
Minh Vuong, Photographer
(he/him) Minh (Polaris) began as a photographer at The Daily Utah Chronicles in Fall 2023. Born and raised in Vietnam, Minh is now pursuing his degree in Quantitative Analysis of Markets and Organizations, with a minor in Photography. When not being held prisoner with deadlines, you can find him wandering around with his camera, or in overpriced café shops editing photos. He is an art, nature, and cat enthusiast.

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