The family of Katie Meyer, the star football guard at Stanford University who died by suicide in March, has sued the university for wrongful death.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday and reviewed by CNN, alleges that the university administrators’ actions caused her to “suffer an acute stress reaction that impulsively led to her suicide.”
The allegations surround a disciplinary notice served to Meyer the night of her death. On March 1, Meyer, who helped Stanford win the 2019 NCAA College Championship Game, received an official six-page email from Stanford’s Office of Community Standards, according to the lawsuit, that contained a disciplinary notice following an August 2021 incident in which she was In which. Coffee allegedly spilled coffee on another Stanford student-athlete, who was accused of sexually assaulting one of her underage teammates.
Later that evening, she was found dead in a residence hall at Stanford, where she had been working as a housing counselor. According to Meyer’s mother, the night before she was in good spirits, and video chatted with her family about their planned spring break with them.
Meyer’s parents alleged in the lawsuit that the letter Meyer received before her death “contained threatening language regarding penalties and ‘possible removal from the university'”.
The official disciplinary letter regarding spilled coffee also informs Katie that her degree has been deferred just three (3) months after her graduation; jeopardizing her standing as a Stanford student, captain and member of the football team, residential advisor, Mayfield Fellow, and innovative researcher on defense, and her ability to get into Stanford Law School, among many other things,” the suit said.
She said Meyer contacted the university immediately after receiving the email, telling them she was “shocked and distraught” by the notice, but that “Stanford staff failed to support Katie when she expressed feelings of desperation.”
An autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was suicide.
“Stanford’s after-hours disciplinary charge, reckless nature and submissive manner caused Katie to suffer an acute stress reaction that impulsively led to her suicide,” the suit said. “Katie’s suicide was completed without planning and in response only to the shocking and deeply distressing information she received from Stanford while she was alone in her room without any support or resources.”
A Stanford University spokesperson, Di Mostofi, disputed the lawsuit’s allegations.
ESPN quoted Mostofi as saying, “The Stanford community continues to mourn Katie’s tragic death and we sympathize with her family for the unimaginable pain Katie’s passing has caused.”
However, we strongly disagree with any assertion that the university was responsible for her death. Although we have not yet seen the official complaint filed by the Meyer family, we are aware of some of the allegations made in the submission, which are false and misleading.”
Mustafa also said that the disciplinary letter the university sent Meyer included “a number to demand immediate support and [she] She was specifically told that this resource was available to her 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”