Soccer star Katie Meyer’s family sues Stanford over suicide

Stanford goalkeeper Katie Meyer took her own life in February. Now her parents are suing Stanford. AP file photo.

This story was originally published in Friday’s Daily Post. To stay up with the news, pick up the Post in the mornings at 1,000 Mid-Peninsula locations.

Before standout goalie Katie Meyer took her own life in her dorm room, Stanford sent her an email threatening to remove her from the university because she poured coffee on a football player who had sexually assaulted one of her teammates, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by her parents against Stanford.

Meyer, 21, took her own life in late February. The civil lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court. USA Today obtained the lawsuit.

Meyer received a formal written notice on the evening of Feb. 28 — the same night she died — that charged her with a “Violation of the Fundamental Standard” stemming from the August 2021 incident with the football player, who wasn’t named in the lawsuit.

The violation put her diploma on hold a few months before she was supposed to graduate. Her parents argue in the lawsuit that the notice came “after-hours” while Meyer was “alone in her room without any support or resources.”

The lawsuit says that Meyer responded to the email “expressing how ‘shocked and distraught’ she was over being charged and threatened with removal from the university” and received a follow-up email that scheduled a meeting three days later.

Her parents said in the lawsuit that Meyer had “an acute stress reaction that impulsively led her” to take her life. The lawsuit also says that Meyer had told Stanford employees in November 2021 that she had “been scared for months that my clumsiness will ruin my chances of leaving Stanford on a good note.”

Stanford’s assistant vice president of external communications, Dee Mostofi, told USA Today on Wednesday that the school “strongly disagreed” with the lawsuit’s claim that Stanford was responsible in Meyer’s death and hadn’t seen the complaint.

Meyer was a part of the 2019 national champion women’s soccer team. She stopped two penalty shots in Stanford’s 5-4 shootout victory over North Carolina after a scoreless draw.

From staff and wire reports

9 Comments

  1. Throwing coffee on someone is an assault, a crime. A crime against another student justifies a disciplinary proceeding, which is usually initiated by the notice given. Meyer was an adult, and indeed, was about ready to begin law school, to practice a very stressful, contentious profession which does not accommodate delicate feelings. It does not appear that Stanford had any reason to suspect that Meyer was especially fragile and should be immune from having to account for the assault or from dealing with the sort of life setbacks that many of us face. It is sad that a young person with a promising future took her own life, but it seems that the cause was fighting her own demons, and not the appropriate actions of Stanford.

    • There is a lot more to the story that has nothing to do with coffee, disciplinary actions, or state of mind. She had knee surgery and reported on her social media to be in a lot of pain just days before her death. Dig deeper.

        • Think about the possible complications of knee surgery (along with something else that Stanford mandates but which we are not allowed to mention) and forget Stanford’s narrative that it was suicide. There is, in my opinion, a massive cover-up going on.

          • Alvin says “(along with something else that Stanford mandates but which we are not allowed to mention)”

            That ranks at least 10 on the BS meter.

    • Should young people have to fight their demons alone? Meyer said the coffee spill was an accident and the guy who received the spill didn’t want her charged. It appears Stanford was aware of her depression, yet treated her as if she’d committed a felony. A terrible loss of a talented and beautiful young woman who had a bright future, ruined by the stress and pressure put on students at elite universities — and at high schools.

      • An accident? Of all the thousands of students at Stanford, she coincidentally “spilled” coffee on the one studenr accusesed of assaulting her friend? Stanford has an obligation to protect ALL of their students, not just the sports stars. If a student is going to act impulsively against another, they have to be prepared to face the predictable consequences of their actions. Stanford’s reaction was reasonable, and indeed, it would have been irresponsible for them to not act.

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