The parents of Katie Meyer, a star soccer goalie who died by suicide last spring, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stanford on Wednesday.
At the time of her death Meyer, 21, was facing disciplinary action for allegedly spilling coffee on a Stanford football player who was accused of sexually assaulting a female soccer player. Meyer’s father said his daughter was defending that teammate, who was a minor at the time.
The lawsuit states that on the night of her death, Stanford “negligently and recklessly” sent her the formal disciplinary notice that “contained threatening language regarding sanctions and potential ‘removal from the university.'”
On the night of Feb. 28, Meyer FaceTimed her parents and two sisters from her dorm room at Stanford and was in a good mood, according to her mom. They were coordinating her plans for spring break, which included a stop home in Southern California before a few days in Mexico with friends.
However, her parents say that later that evening Meyer received the six-page email from Stanford informing her of a disciplinary hearing.
The next day, Meyer was found dead in her dorm room, where she lived as a resident adviser. An autopsy performed March 3 confirmed the manner of death was from suicide.
“Stanford’s after-hours disciplinary charge, and the reckless nature and manner of submission to Katie, caused Katie to suffer an acute stress reaction that impulsively led to her suicide,” the lawsuit states. “Katie’s suicide was completed without planning and solely in response to the shocking and deeply distressing information she received from Stanford while alone in her room without any support or resources.”
In a statement to several media outlets, Stanford spokesperson Dee Mostofi rebutted the lawsuit’s claims.
“The Stanford community continues to grieve Katie’s tragic death and we sympathize with her family for the unimaginable pain that Katie’s passing has caused them,” Mostofi wrote.
“However, we strongly disagree with any assertion that the university is responsible for her death. While we have not yet seen the formal complaint brought by the Meyer family, we are aware of some of the allegations made in the filing, which are false and misleading,” Mostofi added.
A senior studying international relations and history, Meyer made two key saves in a penalty shootout to help Stanford win the national championship in 2019. She was a part of the prestigious 2022 Mayfield Fellows Program — which is geared toward developing students to lead technology ventures — and was awaiting acceptance into Stanford Law School.