The University of Utah has experienced several high-profile relationship- and sexual violence-related murders over the past several years, resulting in campus community members being especially attuned to the need to prevent sexual violence and increase campus safety. The McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention Research & Education is named after one victim, Lauren McCluskey. The center is dedicated to research and education on sexual violence among college students, particularly those from historically minoritized backgrounds—students of color, queer and trans students, and students with disabilities. Our goal is primary prevention that stops harm, of any degree, from happening.
Relationship and sexual violence impact many people in our community and include a number of different behaviors, such as mental and emotional manipulation, exercising control over finances, personal technology and social interactions, and physical violence. On this page, we remember and honor members of our community who have died as a result of relationship and sexual violence.
- Zhifan Dong, 19, an international student from China who hadn’t yet declared a major, was murdered on February 11, 2022, by her boyfriend at an off-campus motel room in Salt Lake City.
- Sarah Hawley, 27, a family medicine resident at University of Utah Hospital, was murdered at her home near the U campus on January 27, 2019, by a long-time boyfriend with whom she lived.
- Mackenzie Lueck, 23, was murdered on June 17, 2019, off-campus in Salt Lake City by someone she met on an online dating site.
- Lauren McCluskey, 21, a senior communications major and track athlete, was murdered on October 22, 2018, in a parking lot on campus by a former dating partner.
- Katherine Peralta, 23, a staff member at a research laboratory in the University of Utah’s Research Park, was murdered on December 29, 2016, by her husband in the parking lot of her workplace.