Acknowledging for the first time that the on-campus murder of track star Lauren McCluskey was “preventable,” the University of Utah agreed Thursday that it could have better protected her and failed — and it will pay out $13.5 million to her parents as part of a legal settlement.
At a news conference, U. President Ruth Watkins said she was “sincerely sorry” for the loss of McCluskey.
“The university acknowledges and deeply regrets that it did not handle Lauren’s case as it should have,” she read from a statement, “and that, at the time, its employees failed to fully understand and respond appropriately to Lauren’s situation.”
Watkins paused. “As a result,” she added, “we failed Lauren and her family.”
Her comments Thursday contrast with her insistence shortly after the murder that there wasn’t “any reason to believe this tragedy could have been prevented.” That earlier statement followed an independent review that