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The family of Katie Meyer, the star soccer player who died by suicide last spring, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Stanford University and several administrators alleging their actions circumvented disciplinary action that could have caused her to “experience an acute stress reaction that impulsively led to murder.” himself.”
Meyer, a senior who helped lead Stanford to the 2019 NCAA tournament title, was found dead in his dorm room in March. Shortly before his death, Meyer faced consequences after standing up for a teammate on campus, his parents said in the days after he took his own life.
“The actions that led to Katie Meyer’s death began and ended with Stanford University,” the lawsuit alleges, and made public for the first time the details of the allegations that triggered potential disciplinary action.
In August 2021, Meyer was riding a bicycle when he allegedly spilled coffee on a football player who allegedly sexually assaulted one of his teammates, according to the lawsuit.
In response to the incident, Meyer received a formal letter of accusation from Stanford’s Office of Community Standards, informing him of impending disciplinary action, according to the lawsuit. The letter was emailed to her on the evening of her death and exactly six months after the spilled coffee, according to the lawsuit.
“We are deeply troubled and disappointed by what we have learned since her death and have no choice but to move forward with litigation to achieve justice for Katie and protect future students,” the Meyer family said in a statement.
In a statement to CNN, Stanford University spokeswoman Dee Mostofi denied the lawsuit’s allegations.
“The Stanford community continues to mourn Katie’s tragic death and our hearts go out to her family for the unimaginable pain Katie’s passing has caused them,” Mostofi wrote.
“However, we strongly disagree with any allegation that the university is responsible for his death. While we have yet to see the formal complaint brought by the Meyer family, we are aware of some of the claims made in the filing, which are false and misleading,” Mostofi added.
According to the lawsuit, the letter “contains threatening language regarding sanctions and possible ‘removal from the university.'”
“The official disciplinary charge sheet related to the spilled coffee also informed Katie that her diploma was suspended just three (3) months after her graduation; threatening his status as a Stanford student, Captain and member of the Football team, Resident Advisor, Mayfield Fellow, Defense Innovative Scholar, and his ability to attend Stanford Law school, among many other things.”
After receiving the letter, Meyer immediately responded to the email, telling the university he was “shocked and disappointed” by the action, the lawsuit claims.
“Stanford staff failed to support Katie when she expressed despair, she was ‘afraid an accident would destroy my future,’ and she had been ‘fearing for months that my accident would ruin my chances of leaving Stanford for good,’ and suffered a lot ‘concerns’ related to the OCS Process,” the lawsuit continued.
According to Mostofi, the university spokesman, the letter to Meyer also contained “a number to contact immediate support and was specifically told that this resource is available to him 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
“It is important to emphasize that we are committed to supporting students through the student justice process under OCS, and we did so in this case. In particular, the university offered Katie an advisor to work with throughout the process and told her she could have a support person of her choosing with her in any meeting or conversation with OCS,” added Mostofi.
Noting that Meyer had no prior history of mental illness, the lawsuit details the plans he had made in the days leading up to his death, including buying a plane ticket, planning a birthday party and attending classes and soccer practice as usual.