Editor's note: If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.
The parents of Katie Meyer, who died earlier this year at Stanford, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university on Wednesday, according to USA Today’s Josh Peter.
Meyer, the former Stanford goalie and team captain, died by suicide in February.
At the time of her death, per the report, she was facing disciplinary action for allegedly spilling coffee on a Stanford football player while she was riding her bike in August. That football player had allegedly sexually assaulted a female soccer player, who was a minor at the time.
Meyer’s father said the disciplinary action came after she was defending that teammate. They said in the lawsuit that, on the night of her death, Stanford “negligently and recklessly” sent her the formal disciplinary notice.
“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 complaint said, via USA Today. “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.’’
Meyer, her parents said, received the letter after 7 that night, when university counseling services had already closed.
“Katie, sitting alone in her dorm room, when it was dark outside, immediately responded to the email expressing how ‘shocked and distraught’ she was over being charged and threatened with removal from the university,’’ the complaint said, via USA Today.
“Stanford failed to respond to Katie’s expression of distress, instead ignored it and scheduled a meeting for three days later via email. Stanford employees made no effort whatsoever to check on Katie’s well-being, either by a simple phone call or in-person welfare check.’’
The football player in question reportedly said he wanted to “make amends” with Meyer and wasn’t trying to "impact” her life with any punishment for the incident, per the report. He did not face any discipline.
The formal complaint against Meyer allegedly came exactly six months after the incident, the final day that Stanford can do so under its own policy.
“We are deeply troubled and disappointed with what we have learned since her passing and have no choice but to move forward with litigation to achieve justice for Katie and protect future students,’’ Meyer’s parents said in a statement, via USA Today. “In addition, we are working to seek systemic changes to improve the safety and support of the Stanford students currently on campus, and those enrolled in the future through our foundation, Katie’s Save.’’
Meyer was a senior at Stanford majoring in international relations. She helped lead Stanford to a NCAA title in 2019 with a clutch save in penalty kicks in the national title game, and she was named a team captain the following season.