The family of late Stanford University soccer goalie Katie Meyer is suing the school over her death.
As we’ve been reporting, the college student, who starred on the women’s soccer team at Stanford, died by suicide this past spring. It has since been revealed she was sent a disciplinary letter by school officials regarding an incident in which she reportedly threw coffee on a football player who’d been accused of sexually assaulting one of Meyer’s teammates.
Late last week, Meyer’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stanford. In it, the grieving family accuses the college of “inflicting emotional distress” upon the late captain of the school’s soccer team.
According to E! News, which obtained a copy of the suit on Tuesday, Stanford charged Meyer with “Violation of the Fundamental Standard by spilling coffee on another student” over the alleged incident with the football player. However, Meyer’s family claims the school used “threatening language” and mentioned the possibility of expulsion in their correspondence with her, which occurred on February 28. Hours after she received the letter, according to the lawsuit, Meyer died by suicide.
Per the suit, it appears the football player in question did not raise a complaint against Meyer. Instead, the suit names Stanford’s Dean of Residential Education, Lisa Caldera, as the person who first brought the citation. Caldera’s team, the lawsuit claims, “recklessly and negligently” sent their disciplinary notice to Meyer at night and then “failed to respond to Katie’s expression of distress.” Meyer was “shocked and distraught” over being accused of the violation, per her family’s suit.
This new legal briefing also argued:
“From the onset, there was no reasonable basis, nor sufficient evidence, for Stanford to bring such harsh and aggressive disciplinary charges for purported ‘spilled coffee,’ and the threats levied against Katie by Stanford employees were unwarranted, overly punitive, without due care and reckless. In short, Stanford employees used the OCS process selectively on Katie Meyer as a form of institutional bullying.”
In response, Stanford officials have called the lawsuit’s allegations “false and misleading.”
In a statement sent to E! News on Monday evening, the school claimed they provided Meyer with a phone number to call for “immediate support” that was available 24 hours a day. The school’s statement added:
“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. However, we strongly disagree with any assertion that the university is responsible for her death.”
Still, Meyer’s family remains unconvinced.
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Their suit seeks “systemic changes to improve the safety and support of the Stanford students.” And in an accompanying media statement paired to the suit, Meyer’s grieving parents said:
“Katie Meyer absolutely loved being a student-athlete at Stanford University. 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.”
Here is more of the latest on this heartbreaking story, via NBC Bay Area (below):
Such a sad situation. A promising and valuable life lost far too early…
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence and would like to learn more about resources, consider checking out https://www.rainn.org/resources.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is available. Consider contacting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, by calling, texting, or chatting, or go to 988lifeline.org.
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