Family of Stanford goalie who took her own life sue college for pursuing disciplinary measures

The family of a standout goalkeeper at Stanford University has sued the school after the student’s suicide in March, claiming it should be held accountable for her death.

Katie Meyer, 22, took her own life in February after being handed a disciplinary letter from brass at the university, following an August 2021 incident in which she allegedly spilled coffee on another student athlete.

The student, a football player at the school whose identity has not been revealed, at the time had been accused of sexually assaulting one of her teammates, who was a minor at the time.

The lawsuit, filed by Steven and Gina Meyer Wednesday, states that on the night of her death, Stanford ‘negligently and recklessly’ sent her the formal disciplinary notice without properly vetting the August encounter.

It further declared that the warning ‘contained threatening language regarding sanctions and even ‘removal from the university,’ which put the star goalie in a deteriorating state of mind that would ultimately see her snuff out her life.

It is currently unclear if Meyer purposely spilled the coffee or not on the football player. She was reportedly riding her bike when she reportedly spilled the drink, the suit states, claiming it was an accident

The suit maintains that the school’s use of ‘heavy legal jargon and threatening language ’caused their daughter to ‘suffer an acute stress reaction that impulsively led to her suicide.’

The filing brings claims of wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and six other allegations.

Katie Meyer’s family has sued Stanford for wrongful death, claiming the disciplinary letter she received prompted her suicide

Her parents, Steven and Gina Meyer, have now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the California school, claiming their daughter’s suicide was ‘solely in response to the shocking and deeply distressing information she received from Stanford while alone in her room without any support or resources’

Katie Meyer, 22, took her own life in February after reportedly been handed a disciplinary letter regarding the moment she spilled coffee on a student who was accused of sexually assaulting a minor

Meyer, the former captain of the team and a 2019 champion, died in March of this year, with coroner’s later declaring her death a suicide.

At the time, the college senior had been nursing a knee surgery, and had plans of attending law school after graduation.

According to the suit – which names the University, its board of trustees, deans, and general counsel – the school’s letter threatened those plans, putting stress on the soccer star.

It also revealed that the school never pursued disciplinary action against the football star, due to a lack of evidence. Instead, it argues, the storied university honed in on their daughter, seemingly to put the kibosh on the burgeoning situation.

Attorney Kim Dougherty wrote in a statement that accompanied the filing Wednesday that Meyer’s death was the direct product of ‘Stanford’s egregious and reckless mishandling of its disciplinary process.’

‘Stanford has known for years that its disciplinary process, in its own Committee 10’s words, is “overly punitive” and harmful to its students,’ Dougherty wrote, ‘yet the school and its administrators have done nothing to correct its procedures.’

‘Through this litigation we will not only obtain justice for Katie, but also ensure necessary change is put into place to help protect Stanford students and provide safeguards when students are in need of support.’

The suit focuses on how the night of February 28, more than six months after the coffee-spilling incident, Meyer received a notice from the school that she was to undergo a disciplinary hearing to potentially face punishment over her actions.

Meyer's was the goalkeeper for the Stanford women's soccer team. The soccer captain, who was also recovering from knee surgery, reportedly received the notice around 7pm on the night she died

Meyer’s was the goalkeeper for the Stanford women’s soccer team. The soccer captain, who was also recovering from knee surgery, reportedly received the notice around 7pm on the night she died

Meyer immediately responded to the email, noting that she was ‘shocked and distraught’ over the letter.

According to her parents’ complaint, the school responded by setting up a counseling session – three days later.

However, by then, it was too late for the teen – and she was found dead in her dorm room the day after leaving what her parents labeled a scathing correspondence.

The filing further contends that Meyer received the notice around 7pm on the night she died, when campus counseling resources had already closed for the evening.

In her response, sent minutes after having a Facetime conversation with her parents, reportedly told the school that she had been ‘experiencing anxiety during the disciplinary process,’ which at that point had persisted for more than half a year.

She said she had been ‘scared for months that my clumsiness will ruin my chances of leaving Stanford on a good note,’ and that a mark on her record would hurt her chances to pursue a career in law.

Steven and Gina claim the school ‘ignored’ their daughter’s distress during the seven month disciplinary process, and ‘made no effort whatsoever to check on Katie’s well-being, either by a simple phone call or in-person welfare check.’

The school’s Assistant Vice President of External Communications, Dee Mostofi, meanwhile, said staff replied to her ‘within the hour’ of her email and that she was ‘offered several available times and had chose[n] one three days later, despite the availability of an earlier appointment.’

She immediately responded to the email, noting that she was 'shocked and distraught' over the letter and the school had responded by setting up a counseling session three days later. Her parents argued the school neglected their distressed daughter, but Stanford said it responded to her email 'within the hour' and that the student had selected the appointment

She immediately responded to the email, noting that she was ‘shocked and distraught’ over the letter and the school had responded by setting up a counseling session three days later. Her parents argued the school neglected their distressed daughter, but Stanford said it responded to her email ‘within the hour’ and that the student had selected the appointment

He also said the school had reached out to Meyer ‘several days’ prior to sending her the letter to give her adequate time to send over any additional information for consideration.

Mostofi said the student-athlete did not provide anything further.

In addition, the formal letter reportedly listed a phone number for an ‘immediate support’ contact that was supposedly available 24/7 and the letter ‘explicitly told that this was not a determination that she did anything wrong.’

The football player was reportedly not seeking any sort of punishment that would ‘impact’ the international relations student. He also allegedly told the school he wanted to make ‘amends,’ according to USA Today Sports.

Katie Meyer, 22, had shared pictures of her last month after she underwent knee surgery

Katie Meyer, 22, had shared pictures of her last month after she underwent knee surgery

The soccer player had posted a TikTok regarding her knee surgery just days before her death

The soccer player had posted a TikTok regarding her knee surgery just days before her death

‘We strongly disagree with any assertion that the university is responsible for her death,’ he said in a statement to USA Today Sports. However, he did say the ‘Stanford community continues to grieve Katie’s tragic death.’

The lawsuit also charges Stanford with negligent infliction of emotional distress and other relation actions, according to USA Today Sports.

If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 988.




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