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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, accusing several administrators of potential disciplinary action because of their actions that caused her to have an “acute stress reaction that led to impulsive. Her suicides.”
Meyer, a senior who helped lead Stanford to the 2019 NCAA Championship title, was found dead in her dorm room in March. Shortly before her death, Mayer faced repercussions after defending a teammate on campus, her parents said in the days after her suicide.
“The actions that led to Katie Meyer’s death began and ended at Stanford University,” the lawsuit alleges, and details of the allegations that led to potential disciplinary action are being made public for the first time.
In August 2021, Meyer allegedly spilled coffee on a female soccer player while riding a bicycle and sexually assaulted one of her younger teammates, according to the lawsuit.
In response to the incident, Meyer received a formal letter of accusation from Stanford’s Office of Community Standards and informed her of impending disciplinary action, the suit states. The letter was emailed to her on the evening of her death and exactly six months after the spilled coffee incident, according to the lawsuit.
“We are deeply upset and disappointed by what we have learned since her passing and have no choice but to file a lawsuit to get justice for Katie and protect future students,” the Meyer family said in a statement.
In a statement to CNN, Stanford University spokesperson Dee Mostofi denied the lawsuit’s claims.
“The Stanford community is saddened by Katie’s tragic death and our condolences to her family for the unimaginable pain Katie’s loss has caused them,” Mostofi wrote.
“However, we strongly disagree with any claim that the university is responsible for her death. While we have yet to see the formal complaint brought by the Meyer family, we know that some of the allegations made in the filing are false and misleading,” Mostofi added.
According to the lawsuit, the letter contained “threatening language regarding sanctions and ‘expulsion from the University.’
“A formal disciplinary charge letter related to the spilled coffee also informed Katie that her diploma was held back only three (3) months before her graduation. A Stanford student, captain and member of the soccer team, resident advisor, Mayfield Fellow, Defense Innovation Scholar, and many others. Among other things, threatening her ability to attend Stanford Law School.
After receiving the letter, Meyer immediately responded to the email, telling the university she was “shocked and disappointed” by the action.
“Stanford employees failed to support Katie when she expressed feelings of despair, that she feared ‘an accident would ruin my future,’ and that ‘my messiness would ruin my chances of leaving Stanford on a good note.’ was,’ and experiencing a lot of ‘anxiety’ related to the OCS process,” the lawsuit further states.
According to the university spokesman, Mostofi, the letter to Meyer “included a number to call for immediate assistance and specifically stated that this resource would be available to her 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. Specifically, the university provided Katie with a mentor to work with her throughout the process and told her that she could have a supporter of her choosing with her at any meeting or conversation with OCS,” Mostofi added.
Noting that Meyer had no prior history of mental illness, the lawsuit details her plans in the days before her death, including buying plane tickets, planning a birthday party and going to classes and soccer practice as usual.