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Athlete Lauren McCluskey Murdered on Campus

Steve C. Wilson

This is not a story I ever thought I would have to write for Block U, that a University of Utah athlete was killed on campus, but that is exactly what happened last night to senior track and field athlete Lauren McCluskey, 21. She was killed in a senseless act of violence allegedly by 37-year-old sex offender Melvin Rowland, who ended his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a church, according to University of Utah Police Services Lt. Brian Wahlin.

McCluskey was originally from Washington state. She would have graduated in May 2019 with a degree in communications. According to her mother, who provided a statement to KUTV 2News, McCluskey dated Rowland for a month, and he lied about “his name, his age, and his criminal history.” Classes have been cancelled today on campus.

University of Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan issued a statement on the tragedy:

“Last night, the University of Utah lost one of our own. Senior track standout Lauren McCluskey was tragically killed in a senseless act. This news has shaken not only myself but our entire University of Utah athletics family to its core. We have university counselors and psychologists on standby to support Lauren’s teammates, coaches and friends. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all of those dear to her.”

This story breaks my heart. There are resources available for students to cope with this awful tragedy. You can find more information about counseling and a candlelight vigil to honor the victim in this story from Good4Utah.

We at Block U want to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victim in this senseless tragedy.


Vigil: Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Park Building. All are welcome to attend.

Handwritten notes for Lauren’s family are being accepted at the vigil and also at the Office of the Dean of Students, 270 Union Building.

Laura McClusky Memorial Fund:

In Memoriam Condolences: