Katie Meyer’s parents claim Stanford administrators ‘bullied’ her before her suicide

Stanford goalkeeper Katie Meyer took her own life in 2022. Now her parents are suing Stanford. AP file photo.

July 21, 2023

By Braden Cartwright
Daily Post Staff Writer

The parents of a Stanford soccer player who killed herself after getting a disciplinary letter from the university have filed a new version of their lawsuit alleging that Stanford knew that its discipline process was flawed and that students were struggling with their mental health.

Stanford officials “bullied” Katie Meyer, 22, even though they knew she was under a lot of stress, the lawsuit says.

Meyer was facing discipline for spilling coffee on a football player who allegedly sexually assaulted one of her teammates, the lawsuit says.

Stanford’s approach to disciplining Meyer was “negligent and reckless,” attorney Jarrod Wilfert wrote in the lawsuit for her parents, Steve and Gina Meyer.

The Office of Community Standards emailed Meyer a letter on Feb. 28, 2022, saying that a diploma hold was going to be placed on her account, three months before graduation. Meyer had dreams of going to Stanford Law School, and the disciplinary action put that plan in jeopardy, the lawsuit says. The discipline also “threatened her status as a Stanford student, captain and member of the soccer team, residential adviser, Mayfield Fellow and Defense Innovative Scholar, amongst many other things,” the lawsuit says.

Meyer killed herself in her dorm that night, with the email open on her computer.

“Had Stanford and its employees acted with reasonable care and with any sense of humanity, Katie would be alive and here with us today,” Wilfert wrote in the second version of his lawsuit, filed on July 14.

Stanford has known that its discipline process is overly punitive, and that there aren’t enough therapists to meet with students regularly, the lawsuit says.

In 2011, a group of Stanford alumni entered into a case study called the Student Justice Project.

The project “uncovered systemic misconduct and wrongdoings within Stanford violating the 1997 Student Judicial Charter and students’ due process right,” the lawsuit says.

Recommendations went nowhere

The Student Justice Project presented Stanford with a 60-page report with testimonials and suggestions for giving students better legal representation, but Stanford didn’t do anything in response, the lawsuit says.

In 2020, the Associated Students of Stanford University appointed a committee to review Stanford’s discipline process.

The committee found the process takes too long — in some cases, months — even for minor violations. The committee suggested speeding up the process, improving transparency and focusing more on education.

Again, Stanford didn’t follow the recommendations, according to the lawsuit.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group that advocates for freedom of speech at colleges, made similar findings in 2020 that Stanford’s due process was insufficient, the lawsuit says.

Other suicide deaths

The lawsuit lists seven Stanford students who have died by suicide since January 2019: Ziwen Wang, Kelly Catlin, Norah Borus, Rose Wong, Jacob Meisel and Dylan Alexander Simmons.

The lawsuit notes that there may be more people who weren’t counted.

The Meyers are seeking at least $10 million in their wrongful death lawsuit.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Frederick Chung dismissed six of their eight claims in May and gave the Meyers a month to amend their lawsuit.

The football player who allegedly sexually assaulted Meyer’s teammate was never punished, the lawsuit says. The teammate was a minor at the time, and Meyer was the team captain.

Meyer spilled coffee on him in a dining hall in August 2021.

Lisa Caldera, associate dean for student support, filed a complaint against Meyer, not the football player, according to the lawsuit.

“The disciplinary process at Stanford was applied discriminatorily, and Katie and other women were prosecuted while male students were let off with minimal consequences,” the lawsuit says.


  1. A couple of corrections to the intended narrative: The “sexual assault” was an unsought kiss. And the hot coffee was not “spilled”, a term which indicates an unintentional act. It was “thrown” on a student who Ms. Meyers believed had assaulted her friend. Facts matter.

    • An unsought kiss is sexual assault. How dare you attempt to minimize it? You obviously don’t know anyone who has ever been kissed, touched, caressed, groped, etc. without wanting or asking for it. But, hey, keep up with your misogynistic ways.

      • The term “sexual assault” covers a such a wide range of behaviors as to be useless to accurately describe an incident. It ranges from rape, to groping, to kissing. Most people recognize the difference in severity, even if your emotions render you incapable of making the distinction. And most people recognize that a kiss is at the less severe end of the scale. Songs and poems have been written celebrating “stolen kisses”. An unwanted kiss is an assault, and can be disgusting, but it is nowhere near as offensive as rape, or groping. You describe ” caressing” and “touching” as “sexual assault” and these are acts that Joe Biden has repeatedly been videoed performing on unwilling women and young girls – was he “sexually assaulting” them? Where was your outrage then? You seem spring-loaded to find offense in nearly everything. Calm down.

  2. I always get a laugh from people who say things like “facts matter” but can’t cite the source of their own made-up facts. I think the story is based on official court documents … and your claim?

  3. And if you’re so sure the coffee was thrown, why was Stanford going to hold a hearing to investigate what happened? Instead of taking testimony from eyewitnesses, they should have talked with you and made a decision. I’m sure you were there and can give us all the details!

  4. My source? This paper. Your source? The self-serving allegations of the attorney for the plaintiff in “official court documents” – the plaintiff’s complaint. Lawyers say all sorts of things.

    Coffee spilled? Of all of the students in the dining hall, Ms. Meyer accidentally “spilled” hot coffee on the one student who had reportedly “sexually assaulted” her friend? How probable is that?

    Just because a tragedy occurred doesn’t mean that someone is to blame and needs to pay.

  5. Ha, ha. You initially complained that the newspaper was following a narrative (a right-winger’s way of saying it’s fake news). Then you cite the newspaper as your source.

    But when did you see this in the paper? Thousands of words are printed in the paper every day. The articles are archived. But you can’t be any more specific than saying you saw it in the paper. That’s like saying the universe is your source.

    I’ve got to assume, based on your response, that you’re just making things up.

    Don’t be a troll.

    • @Squidsie, it’s evident you don’t know how courts work, but both sides in a dispute like this have lawyers. I’m not kidding anbout that. And at this stage of the litigation (the plaintiff has filed a Second Amended Complaint) the facts are becoming clear. The discovery (when both sides exchange information and potential witnesses are interviewed under oath) is probably over. Next step — settlement negotiations. I’d explain more of this, but you seem so ignorant that it wouldn’t do any good.

      • As a retired attorney, I am pretty familiar with how the courts work, but apparently you aren’t. The paper was quoting the plaintiff’s complaint, the filing which sets out their claim, using the most favorable facts and language. The terms “sexual assault” and “spilled” are nominally accurate, but misleading – which is the point in setting out a preferred narrative. Stanford’s Answer, also an “official court filing”, probably does not use those terms. The fact that the plaintiffs are on their Second Amended Complaint indicates that they are having difficulty setting out a facially valid claim, and that their prior complaints failed to set out a legally valid claim even if they were able to prove the facts contained in it. You should stop trying to pretend you’re a legal expert. You’re not very convincing, and emotion and hysterics are no substitute for knowledge.

  6. Let me see if I understand. You can’t kick a student out of school without due process and holding a hearing but if you set up a procedure for the same against the student that attempted to maim another for life(hot coffee can do that–google any number of lawsuits–that is reckless and negligent. Let’s go back to the good old days when you could just say “Off with their heads.”

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