Students and staff at The University of Utah are still coping with the murder of student athlete, Lauren McCluskey.
The university held a vigil on Wednesday in honor of Lauren who was tragically killed earlier this week. Hundreds of students, teammates, and faculty members gathered together to mourn her loss.
A series of speakers addressed the audience, including: President Watkins, Lauren’s track coach, and three of her teammates—though they struggled to make out words through their tears.
They each shared messages of Lauren’s collegiate accomplishments, pursuits, and how she influenced people around her. While not everyone knew her personally, the tragedy impacted the university as a whole.
Cambrie Gines, university student, shared her remarks, “I think it’s just important to come together as a community because we may not have all known her personally, but she’s part of our family and the Utah community.”
A flood of students placed flowers, handwritten notes, and candles on the steps of the Park Building at the U. They also showed support by wearing red and plan to carry out Lauren’s legacy.
Amy Ward, assistant to the Muss Director, said, “I think we all feel this sense of responsibility to live on her legacy. She was a student athlete, and she was an exceptional one. She pursued her dreams.”
This senseless act of violence has left Lauren’s loved ones and classmates stunned, especially as it marks the close anniversary of last year’s shooting on the U of U campus.
In reaction to the incident, students now fear for their own safety—particularly those that may live right on the university’s campus.
Logan Draper, another university student, commented, “I actually happen to now live on campus, and while I know some people feel a little uneasy—cause again, it’s kind of a crazy world and you don’t know when things like this could happen or might happen—people are definitely being a lot more conscientious and cautious now.”
The evening carried a bittersweet tone, but speakers encouraged the community to live on in Lauren’s legacy and fulfill their dreams.
If students feel deeply troubled by this event, the university has offered several resources like counseling, an increased police presence on campus, and more safety escorts.