News

Soccer star's parents sue Stanford University after her death

Katie Meyer's family alleges failures to safeguard their daughter's well-being

Katie Meyer, Stanford University women's soccer goalkeeper, during a game against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels in the Women's NCAA Tournament National Championship soccer game at Avaya Stadium in San Jose on Dec. 8, 2019. Courtesy Stanford Athletics.

The parents of a Stanford University women's soccer star who died by suicide earlier this year after learning she faced disciplinary action filed a lawsuit against the university and some of its top administrators last week.

The Nov. 23 lawsuit, which was entered into Santa Clara County Superior Court on behalf of Steven and Gina Meyer, parents of soccer player Katie Meyer, accused the university and officials of wrongful death, negligence, breach of contract, gender discrimination and negligent infliction of emotional distress, in addition to other allegations.

It names as defendants Stanford University, the board of trustees, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Associate Dean for Student Support Lisa Caldera, Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Office of Community Standards Tiffany Gabrielson, Assistant Dean of Students Alyce Haley, Vice Provost Susie Brubaker-Cole and General Counsel Debra Zumwalt.

Meyer, 22, died by suicide within hours of receiving by email a five-page memo from the Office of Community Standards (OCS) on Feb. 28, informing her that a disciplinary hearing would move forward regarding an incident in which she spilled coffee on a football player who had allegedly assaulted her teammate. Meyer was riding her bicycle on campus on Aug. 28, 2021 when, according to her, she accidentally spilled her hot coffee on the football player.

The football player earlier had been accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old female Stanford soccer team player on Aug. 20, 2021, and a formal complaint against him had been filed with the university the next day. Meyer was captain of the soccer team.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

The lawsuit claims Stanford didn't treat the male football player accused of sexual assault with the same level of scrutiny and disciplinary action as it leveled at Meyer. Stanford administrators chose not to prosecute the football player, claiming a case of "he said, she said," according to the lawsuit.

The football player was not disciplined by his coach nor by anyone else for his alleged breach of conduct; yet while Stanford had insufficient evidence to formally charge Meyer, it did so in a punitive act of gender discrimination, the lawsuit claims.

On Monday, Stanford said in a statement that it had not yet seen the formal complaint. The university is aware of some of the allegations, which it said are "false and misleading."

"The allegation that Stanford failed to address a claim that a football player kissed one of Katie's soccer teammates without her permission is inaccurate. In fact, it is the university that initially reported this claim to Stanford's Title IX office and the police. However, the Title IX office did not pursue the matter since the criteria for moving forward with an investigation were not met," the university said in a statement.

The lawsuit also claims Stanford engaged in an overzealous pursuit of Meyer. The football player didn't file a complaint against Meyer, but Caldera, associate dean for student support, did after she learned of the incident. The football player indicated throughout the disciplinary process that he would like to "make amends" and "did not want any punishment that impacts her life," according to the lawsuit.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Meyer had much at stake.

She was a candidate for the United States women's national soccer team and was awaiting acceptance into Stanford Law School, the lawsuit noted. In her own words, Meyer worried that the investigation would derail her ambitions to enter the law school and to even receive her undergraduate diploma. The disciplinary action could result in her expulsion from Stanford just months before her graduation.

As a result of mental distress from the investigation, Meyer sought care at the university's Sport Psychology Clinic in November 2021. She also reported to a psychiatrist that she was experiencing increased depression symptoms and suicidal thoughts. She was prescribed medication, according to the lawsuit.

"I have been stressed out for months, had to check the OCS (Office of Community Standards) box on my graduate program application, and have been terrified that an accident will destroy my future. I'm not sure how far this case will go, but I have been so scared for months that my clumsiness will ruin my chances of leaving Stanford on a good note," she wrote in her formal letter to Stanford responding to the investigation.

Meyer also claimed that female and male athletes are held to different standards.

"While he (the male football player) may think male athletes are untouchable, female athletes know that one mistake can ruin everything. My whole life I've been terrified to make any mistakes. No alcohol, no speeding tickets, no A- marks on my report cards. Everything had to be perfect to get in and stay at Stanford. I suffer from anxiety and perfectionism, as so many female athletes do. We know all too well that in professional settings women have everything to lose and have to work twice as hard to prove that they are qualified and professional, and any mistake is magnified, any attitude of assertiveness is demonized. I never take anything for granted. Why would I risk it all on a random Saturday afternoon at a dining hall I wasn't even supposed to be at? I have given everything to this school and the people here. I love Stanford. The last thing I would want to do is jeopardize my future here as a senior applying to grad programs. I wish he knew this," she said.

Meyer didn't hear from university officials from mid-November 2021 to Feb. 25, and her mood had lifted, family members said, according to the lawsuit. During that time she had been selected by Stanford to be a Mayfield fellow, a Defense Innovation Scholar and one of four Stanford students to give a TEDx presentation. She thought that perhaps the investigation was behind her.

Early on Feb. 28, prior to receiving the letter of charges from the Office of Community Standards, Meyer was planning her spring break; booking air fare; planning a birthday party for the next night; designing a class she intended to teach; attending her own classes and soccer practice; meeting with friends and talking with her mother and sisters on FaceTime.

At 7 p.m., she received the email informing her the university had "sufficient evidence" to pursue a hearing for a "Violation of the Fundamental Standard by spilling coffee on another student."

It was the last day for the university to take action before the right to proceed/statute of limitations would expire under Stanford policies, the lawsuit said.

Katie Meyer. Courtesy Stanford Athletics.

Stanford had known of Meyer's previous mental distress, according to the lawsuit. Yet, at the time she received the letter, the Office of Community Standards and Stanford's Counseling and Psychological Services were closed.

"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 lawsuit said.

Sometime that night or early on March 1, Meyer died.

Stanford University refuted the lawsuit's claims. In its statement the university said the allegation that the Office of Community Standards didn't communicate with Meyer prior to Feb. 28 is incorrect.

"Several days earlier, the head of OCS had informed Katie that a decision would be made by February 28 whether to proceed to a hearing. She gave Katie until that date to provide any further information for consideration. Katie provided no information, and OCS informed her on the evening of February 28 that the matter would move to a hearing," the university said.

In that correspondence, Meyer was "explicitly told that this was not a determination that she did anything wrong," and the Office of Community Standards offered to meet with her to discuss the matter if she wished. She also was given a number to call for immediate support and was told that the resource was available to her 24/7, according to Stanford.

"Shortly after receiving that email, Katie wrote OCS staff and received a reply within the hour. Katie asked for a meeting to discuss the matter, was offered several available times, and chose one three days later despite the availability of an earlier appointment," the university said.

The lawsuit didn't claim that Meyer only heard from Stanford's Office of Community Standards on Feb. 28, however. It noted that Gabrielson, who also serves as associate dean of students, informed Meyer of added case documents in an online folder and that Gabrielson would "soon be making a formal charging decision in this matter." The email also requested that Meyer provide any further exonerating evidence in her case by Feb. 28.

"Katie was expected by OCS to provide exonerating evidence in her case within three days. However, she was not allowed to communicate with witnesses or parties," the lawsuit noted.

Stanford said the Office of Community Standards pursued the review because it received a complaint regarding alleged behavior by Meyer that resulted in physical injury. It didn't describe the nature of the injury.

In an email to the Office of Community Standards, however, Meyer questioned the football player's claim that he lost 15 pounds and was unable to sleep after the incident, according to the lawsuit.

"Could he have lost weight and not been able to sleep because of his guilt about assaulting a 17 year old?" she wrote.

Stanford also noted in a letter that the injured student said his teammates spoke to Meyer. According to the football player, she subsequently "indicated to his teammates that the incident was intentional."

Yet, the investigator seemed to contradict the male student's statement: "I spoke with two of the teammates who he identified … They both told me that as far as they know, you have consistently indicated the incident was an accident," the lawsuit quoted.

Stanford in its statement defended its decision to charge Meyer.

"After extensive fact finding and the opportunity for both sides to provide information, it was found that the high threshold was met for the matter to proceed to a hearing. However, it is important to emphasize that we are committed to supporting students through the student judicial process under OCS, and we did so in this case. In particular, the university offered Katie an adviser to work with her throughout the process and told her she could have a support person of her choosing with her in any meeting or conversation with OCS," the university said.

Katie Meyer highfives her teammates before a game between California State University Northridge and Stanford University at Cagan Stadium on August 26, 2021 in Stanford, California. Courtesy Stanford Athletics.

The lawsuit, however, claims that Stanford has a history of allegations of student-rights violations stretching back to at least 2013. The accusations were first brought to light by the Student Justice Project, a coalition of Stanford University students, their parents, and alumni with the goal of educating the Stanford community of violations of student rights,

It was further noted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's 2019-2020 report, which evaluated fundamental fairness of disciplinary proceedings in 53 colleges and universities across the country. The Foundation report found, among other things, that Stanford's presumption of innocence was "limited," the lawsuit noted.

The university knew that its Office of Community Standards process was "overly punitive," "not educational" and causing harm to its students, after findings in April 2021 released by its own evaluation committee, the Committee of 12 (formerly C10), yet the university did nothing to rectify the issues, the lawsuit claims.

"Stanford employees used the OCS process selectively on Katie Meyer as a form of institutional bullying," the lawsuit claims. The university failed to take into account the mental health of its students and in particular its student athletes, according to the suit.

"It discriminatorily treated Katie Meyer differently and far more punitively than it treated others for spilling coffee, including the football player accused of sexual assault despite the same types of evidence for each incident," the lawsuit said.

"Had Stanford and its employees acted with reasonable care and with any sense of humanity, Katie would be alive and here with us today."

In response to the suit, Stanford said: "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."

The university "will address any other misrepresentations or inaccuracies that are found in the filed complaint once it has received a copy. We plan to fully defend the university and named defendants against these allegations."

In a statement released after filing the lawsuit, Meyer's 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. 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."

Help is available

Any person who is feeling depressed, troubled or suicidal can call 988, the mental health crisis hotline, to speak with a crisis counselor. In Santa Clara County, interpretation is available in 200 languages. Spanish speakers can also call 888-628-9454.

People can reach trained counselors at Crisis Text Line by texting RENEW to 741741.

Read more: How to help those in crisis

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now
Sue Dremann
 
Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local crime news. Become a member today.

Soccer star's parents sue Stanford University after her death

Katie Meyer's family alleges failures to safeguard their daughter's well-being

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Nov 30, 2022, 9:40 am

The parents of a Stanford University women's soccer star who died by suicide earlier this year after learning she faced disciplinary action filed a lawsuit against the university and some of its top administrators last week.

The Nov. 23 lawsuit, which was entered into Santa Clara County Superior Court on behalf of Steven and Gina Meyer, parents of soccer player Katie Meyer, accused the university and officials of wrongful death, negligence, breach of contract, gender discrimination and negligent infliction of emotional distress, in addition to other allegations.

It names as defendants Stanford University, the board of trustees, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Associate Dean for Student Support Lisa Caldera, Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Office of Community Standards Tiffany Gabrielson, Assistant Dean of Students Alyce Haley, Vice Provost Susie Brubaker-Cole and General Counsel Debra Zumwalt.

Meyer, 22, died by suicide within hours of receiving by email a five-page memo from the Office of Community Standards (OCS) on Feb. 28, informing her that a disciplinary hearing would move forward regarding an incident in which she spilled coffee on a football player who had allegedly assaulted her teammate. Meyer was riding her bicycle on campus on Aug. 28, 2021 when, according to her, she accidentally spilled her hot coffee on the football player.

The football player earlier had been accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old female Stanford soccer team player on Aug. 20, 2021, and a formal complaint against him had been filed with the university the next day. Meyer was captain of the soccer team.

The lawsuit claims Stanford didn't treat the male football player accused of sexual assault with the same level of scrutiny and disciplinary action as it leveled at Meyer. Stanford administrators chose not to prosecute the football player, claiming a case of "he said, she said," according to the lawsuit.

The football player was not disciplined by his coach nor by anyone else for his alleged breach of conduct; yet while Stanford had insufficient evidence to formally charge Meyer, it did so in a punitive act of gender discrimination, the lawsuit claims.

On Monday, Stanford said in a statement that it had not yet seen the formal complaint. The university is aware of some of the allegations, which it said are "false and misleading."

"The allegation that Stanford failed to address a claim that a football player kissed one of Katie's soccer teammates without her permission is inaccurate. In fact, it is the university that initially reported this claim to Stanford's Title IX office and the police. However, the Title IX office did not pursue the matter since the criteria for moving forward with an investigation were not met," the university said in a statement.

The lawsuit also claims Stanford engaged in an overzealous pursuit of Meyer. The football player didn't file a complaint against Meyer, but Caldera, associate dean for student support, did after she learned of the incident. The football player indicated throughout the disciplinary process that he would like to "make amends" and "did not want any punishment that impacts her life," according to the lawsuit.

Meyer had much at stake.

She was a candidate for the United States women's national soccer team and was awaiting acceptance into Stanford Law School, the lawsuit noted. In her own words, Meyer worried that the investigation would derail her ambitions to enter the law school and to even receive her undergraduate diploma. The disciplinary action could result in her expulsion from Stanford just months before her graduation.

As a result of mental distress from the investigation, Meyer sought care at the university's Sport Psychology Clinic in November 2021. She also reported to a psychiatrist that she was experiencing increased depression symptoms and suicidal thoughts. She was prescribed medication, according to the lawsuit.

"I have been stressed out for months, had to check the OCS (Office of Community Standards) box on my graduate program application, and have been terrified that an accident will destroy my future. I'm not sure how far this case will go, but I have been so scared for months that my clumsiness will ruin my chances of leaving Stanford on a good note," she wrote in her formal letter to Stanford responding to the investigation.

Meyer also claimed that female and male athletes are held to different standards.

"While he (the male football player) may think male athletes are untouchable, female athletes know that one mistake can ruin everything. My whole life I've been terrified to make any mistakes. No alcohol, no speeding tickets, no A- marks on my report cards. Everything had to be perfect to get in and stay at Stanford. I suffer from anxiety and perfectionism, as so many female athletes do. We know all too well that in professional settings women have everything to lose and have to work twice as hard to prove that they are qualified and professional, and any mistake is magnified, any attitude of assertiveness is demonized. I never take anything for granted. Why would I risk it all on a random Saturday afternoon at a dining hall I wasn't even supposed to be at? I have given everything to this school and the people here. I love Stanford. The last thing I would want to do is jeopardize my future here as a senior applying to grad programs. I wish he knew this," she said.

Meyer didn't hear from university officials from mid-November 2021 to Feb. 25, and her mood had lifted, family members said, according to the lawsuit. During that time she had been selected by Stanford to be a Mayfield fellow, a Defense Innovation Scholar and one of four Stanford students to give a TEDx presentation. She thought that perhaps the investigation was behind her.

Early on Feb. 28, prior to receiving the letter of charges from the Office of Community Standards, Meyer was planning her spring break; booking air fare; planning a birthday party for the next night; designing a class she intended to teach; attending her own classes and soccer practice; meeting with friends and talking with her mother and sisters on FaceTime.

At 7 p.m., she received the email informing her the university had "sufficient evidence" to pursue a hearing for a "Violation of the Fundamental Standard by spilling coffee on another student."

It was the last day for the university to take action before the right to proceed/statute of limitations would expire under Stanford policies, the lawsuit said.

Stanford had known of Meyer's previous mental distress, according to the lawsuit. Yet, at the time she received the letter, the Office of Community Standards and Stanford's Counseling and Psychological Services were closed.

"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 lawsuit said.

Sometime that night or early on March 1, Meyer died.

Stanford University refuted the lawsuit's claims. In its statement the university said the allegation that the Office of Community Standards didn't communicate with Meyer prior to Feb. 28 is incorrect.

"Several days earlier, the head of OCS had informed Katie that a decision would be made by February 28 whether to proceed to a hearing. She gave Katie until that date to provide any further information for consideration. Katie provided no information, and OCS informed her on the evening of February 28 that the matter would move to a hearing," the university said.

In that correspondence, Meyer was "explicitly told that this was not a determination that she did anything wrong," and the Office of Community Standards offered to meet with her to discuss the matter if she wished. She also was given a number to call for immediate support and was told that the resource was available to her 24/7, according to Stanford.

"Shortly after receiving that email, Katie wrote OCS staff and received a reply within the hour. Katie asked for a meeting to discuss the matter, was offered several available times, and chose one three days later despite the availability of an earlier appointment," the university said.

The lawsuit didn't claim that Meyer only heard from Stanford's Office of Community Standards on Feb. 28, however. It noted that Gabrielson, who also serves as associate dean of students, informed Meyer of added case documents in an online folder and that Gabrielson would "soon be making a formal charging decision in this matter." The email also requested that Meyer provide any further exonerating evidence in her case by Feb. 28.

"Katie was expected by OCS to provide exonerating evidence in her case within three days. However, she was not allowed to communicate with witnesses or parties," the lawsuit noted.

Stanford said the Office of Community Standards pursued the review because it received a complaint regarding alleged behavior by Meyer that resulted in physical injury. It didn't describe the nature of the injury.

In an email to the Office of Community Standards, however, Meyer questioned the football player's claim that he lost 15 pounds and was unable to sleep after the incident, according to the lawsuit.

"Could he have lost weight and not been able to sleep because of his guilt about assaulting a 17 year old?" she wrote.

Stanford also noted in a letter that the injured student said his teammates spoke to Meyer. According to the football player, she subsequently "indicated to his teammates that the incident was intentional."

Yet, the investigator seemed to contradict the male student's statement: "I spoke with two of the teammates who he identified … They both told me that as far as they know, you have consistently indicated the incident was an accident," the lawsuit quoted.

Stanford in its statement defended its decision to charge Meyer.

"After extensive fact finding and the opportunity for both sides to provide information, it was found that the high threshold was met for the matter to proceed to a hearing. However, it is important to emphasize that we are committed to supporting students through the student judicial process under OCS, and we did so in this case. In particular, the university offered Katie an adviser to work with her throughout the process and told her she could have a support person of her choosing with her in any meeting or conversation with OCS," the university said.

The lawsuit, however, claims that Stanford has a history of allegations of student-rights violations stretching back to at least 2013. The accusations were first brought to light by the Student Justice Project, a coalition of Stanford University students, their parents, and alumni with the goal of educating the Stanford community of violations of student rights,

It was further noted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's 2019-2020 report, which evaluated fundamental fairness of disciplinary proceedings in 53 colleges and universities across the country. The Foundation report found, among other things, that Stanford's presumption of innocence was "limited," the lawsuit noted.

The university knew that its Office of Community Standards process was "overly punitive," "not educational" and causing harm to its students, after findings in April 2021 released by its own evaluation committee, the Committee of 12 (formerly C10), yet the university did nothing to rectify the issues, the lawsuit claims.

"Stanford employees used the OCS process selectively on Katie Meyer as a form of institutional bullying," the lawsuit claims. The university failed to take into account the mental health of its students and in particular its student athletes, according to the suit.

"It discriminatorily treated Katie Meyer differently and far more punitively than it treated others for spilling coffee, including the football player accused of sexual assault despite the same types of evidence for each incident," the lawsuit said.

"Had Stanford and its employees acted with reasonable care and with any sense of humanity, Katie would be alive and here with us today."

In response to the suit, Stanford said: "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."

The university "will address any other misrepresentations or inaccuracies that are found in the filed complaint once it has received a copy. We plan to fully defend the university and named defendants against these allegations."

In a statement released after filing the lawsuit, Meyer's 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. 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."

Help is available

Any person who is feeling depressed, troubled or suicidal can call 988, the mental health crisis hotline, to speak with a crisis counselor. In Santa Clara County, interpretation is available in 200 languages. Spanish speakers can also call 888-628-9454.

People can reach trained counselors at Crisis Text Line by texting RENEW to 741741.

Read more: How to help those in crisis

Comments

Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:52 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:52 am

Good for the parents. Thanks for finally reporting this.

Did Stanford ever get around to disciplining the football player accused of sexual assault or was his conduct also just more of the acceptable Boys-Will-Be-Boys attitude? That wasn't clear.

Who can forget the Brock Turner case and Stanford's toleration of entitled "15 minutes of fun" and the national publicity campaign brought against them to even acknowledge the victim!

Who can forget the more RECENT rape case where they criticized the victim for not reporting the crime to them instead of the police because she knew they wouldn't act?

Stanford's press has not been stellar lately on student safety (failing to warn the dorms about a non-student living on campus for a full YEAR), honesty (the recent expose of the president's having falsified his own research) and their "contributions" to the larger community as they continue their relentless expansion taking AWAY PA housing rather than helping to solve problems while claiming they've never ever added a single car trip!


resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2022 at 1:46 pm
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 1:46 pm

“…We know all too well that in professional settings women have everything to lose and have to work twice as hard to prove that they are qualified and professional, and any mistake is magnified, any attitude of assertiveness is demonized. I never take anything for granted…. I have given everything to this school …”

Heartbreaking. CRUEL on Stanford’s part.

After every effort this young woman made to settle this otherwise ridiculous situation with a coffee spill, the University end's it with a FIVE page Memo threatening everything she had worked for, and threatening her. Shocking that this is still happening today. How many Stanford lecturers out there on how we should think and live? Have you no common sense?!


Menlo Mom
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Nov 30, 2022 at 1:59 pm
Menlo Mom, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 1:59 pm

I'm a parent of middle schoolers, one girl and one boy. One thing I hope to press into their bodies as I hug them is that no mistake is insurmountable - no school pedigree or the lack or loss thereof will change the trajectory of their lives. I have a sister-in-law who thinks this way, and she has been mired in depression and anxiety for years. I feel so much empathy for Katie that the prospect of not getting admitted to Stanford Law/having this 'black mark' on her undergraduate record would negate *ALL* of the other accomplishments she had. [Portion removed.]
Remind your kids that plenty of people who are successful ultimately had a stumble or multiple stumbles along the way. I'm going to re-read Julie Lythcott-Haims' books and fortify my efforts to have my kids believe that missteps can be overcome.


resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2022 at 2:30 pm
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 2:30 pm

@Menlo Mom,

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]

I see this differently. The adults in the room are supposed to be Stanford and they failed to grow up. They should also be experts at “strung so tightly.” Apparently, that’s ok with them as long as you don’t make any missteps.

Stanford turned it into a quasi legal situation and I hope that Katie’s parents will fight the battle she had on her own but at the end of the day, like sending my preschooler to school, the school is responsible for a student’s safety. The school was simply cruel. Stanford showed a very low bar for understanding the emotional health of one of their own and maybe because they are the ones who are strung up so tight.


Morgan
Registered user
Meadow Park
on Nov 30, 2022 at 3:13 pm
Morgan , Meadow Park
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 3:13 pm

@Menlo Mom - You really shouldn't speak for what someone else is thinking/going through, especially someone that cannot correct you themselves. You are arrogant to think you know what Katie Meyer was thinking/feeling at any point in her life. [Portion removed.]


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 30, 2022 at 4:17 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 4:17 pm

Missteps by whom?? The young woman is dead BECAUSE of missteps made BY Stanford, Ms Lythcott-Haims' former employer when she was dean of freshman. Let's not forget that Stanford's indifference to to the safety of their students, especially women, has gone on for a long long time -- including when she was employed there -- and continues to this day.




Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2022 at 5:11 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 5:11 pm

I can see this is a very particular incident and it is not something I particularly address in this comment.

However, we are doing our young people in general a great injustice by not preparing them for the real world where there is disappointment and what can be called unfairness. When we give participation trophies, invite the whole class to the birthday party, don't keep record of kids sports, pass everyone in the class with A for effort, and various other forms of bubble wrap activities.

Youth suicide is on the rise and each one is different and extremely sad. Our young people need to be better prepared for future life. It means that they will learn how to act with disappointment as young children and have an experience in their past on which to build when the next disappointment comes along.

As I said, this is not a statement about the complicated issues of the above case, but a reflection on how children need to be taught how to deal with failures and disappointments.


resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2022 at 5:39 pm
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 5:39 pm

@Bystander,

“reflection on how children need to be taught how to deal with failures and disappointments.”

Let’s count the ways that one could prepare a 22 year old for a FIVE page disciplinary memorandum about a coffee spill from Stanford University. Listening to coach Shaw in his address, did I hear the term indoctrination that goes on to integrate athletes into the place with rarified air?

This young woman was not cared for, or safe because of the mistakes of grown ups; nothing can prepare a person to handle abuse of power.


Donya
Registered user
Barron Park
on Nov 30, 2022 at 7:13 pm
Donya, Barron Park
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 7:13 pm

I could not believe what I was reading. This 22 year old was getting punished for the coffee spilling incident instead of getting sent to a therapist. This assuming that she did it intentionally. What kind of a harsh world is Lisa Caldera living in? A supremely insensitive Dean of Student Support she is. Her job is to support students?
I have a question. Was the football player's background an ethnic minority? I can just see that if that is the case then Ms. Caldera was trying to be her utmost woke.
I am so very sorry and sad.


Neighbor
Registered user
South of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2022 at 8:10 pm
Neighbor, South of Midtown
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 8:10 pm

How can a dean, Lisa Caldera, make a call to investigate and “press charges” or the academic equivalent.

Stanford needs to investigate its own policies and the authority that an “associate dean” has student affairs. This is a appalling.


MyFeelz
Registered user
JLS Middle School
on Dec 1, 2022 at 10:26 am
MyFeelz, JLS Middle School
Registered user
on Dec 1, 2022 at 10:26 am

The problem with Stanford's bully tactics are that there's nobody who can beat them. Not financially and not in a Court, anyway. Katie probably already well knew the way Stanford Law operates. Look in the Santa Clara County Superior Court case files. Stanford seems to have two tactics: Make the complainant bleed out all of their money until there's nothing left to fight with, or outlive the complainant. That's not an organization I would have been proud to be associated with. I'm reading a lot of "blame the victim" as if Katie brought this on herself. It's disheartening. Stanford apparently ambushed Katie after empty promises of support, and they got what looks like the intended reaction. So sad.


staying home
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 1, 2022 at 11:02 am
staying home, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 1, 2022 at 11:02 am

I love Stanford and their athletics, but I hope they get taken to the cleaner on this one. Something has to change. Threatening a student with losing everything over coffee being spilled/thrown is harassment. I am getting tired of hearing Stanford tout its accomplishments when it can't protect its own students.


Menlo Mom
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Dec 1, 2022 at 3:47 pm
Menlo Mom, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Dec 1, 2022 at 3:47 pm

I think what Stanford did is terrible; I'm sorry if anyone thought my comment implied otherwise. I hope the parents get justice.

My comment was really only a reaction of deep sadness for the parents over the loss of their child. I assume that the environment of Stanford, full of many young people who feel they've never been able to make an A- and must be perfect at all times to get in/stay there (a quote attributed to Katie in this article), puts insane pressure on each kid there. I don't presume to know what Katie thought. The authorial tone of the article seems to imply that there's a connection between receiving the notice that action would proceed and her law school acceptance would be jeopardized/record as an undergraduate would be marred and her death by suicide. I just think it's really sad that anyone would feel that even the worst outcome of that (very unfair) disciplinary action would be worse than death. That is the aspect of this case that was in my heart as I commented.

You're right, I don't know what was in her mind at any point in her life. I also think Stanford is culpable in the matter. I just also feel, wow, I really don't belong in this area of type A superachievers and want to work to prevent my kids from becoming enculturated into it. I'll start by never allowing them to consider the big S for university. The place is toxic.


resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2022 at 5:10 pm
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Dec 1, 2022 at 5:10 pm

@Menlo Mom,

This has nothing to do with how anyone can think this or the other, or about the company you keep. Mental and emotional safety of young adults, including early 20’s is something that it takes a village to care about. Stanford failed all of us because they, their scientists, doctors etc should know better. Having a heart, and common sense would be good too but how do you hire for that? That’s what we should be worried about, how are these adults being trained?


jr1
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Dec 7, 2022 at 11:25 am
jr1, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Dec 7, 2022 at 11:25 am

Wow, this speaks volumes about Stanford University.


jr1
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Dec 7, 2022 at 11:28 am
jr1, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Dec 7, 2022 at 11:28 am

Stanford has a problem.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 7, 2022 at 12:22 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 7, 2022 at 12:22 pm

In truth, Stanford has lots of problems. The recent list is long and quite unfortunate. There's this lawsuit, the lawsuit brought by the parents of the young man who died of an accidental fentanyl overdose, the connection to the FTX collapse, the Trustees needing to investigate President Tessier-Lavigne, losing Coach Shaw, and the always controversial expansion plans. Big headaches for our big neighbor. This is unusual; Stanford needs to get back to doing better than this.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 7, 2022 at 12:29 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Dec 7, 2022 at 12:29 pm

Also problematic are all the Stanford folks rushing to defend the Theranos founders whose fake-it-until-you-make-it fraud could have killed people and buyibg into Holmes claim that "pretty people like me don't go to jail."

And its long history of ignoring rapes and assaults, esp. by athletes "enjoying their 15 minutes of fun."


MyFeelz
Registered user
JLS Middle School
on Dec 7, 2022 at 4:44 pm
MyFeelz, JLS Middle School
Registered user
on Dec 7, 2022 at 4:44 pm

To those who are listing Stanford's problems, there are way more of them in hiding than we ever read or know about. It's part of the "Stanford Mystique". It's what makes them bullet proof. Some day, all will be revealed. They just got around to apologizing for their anti-semitism over 50 years too late.


III
Registered user
Midtown
on Dec 10, 2022 at 10:07 am
III, Midtown
Registered user
on Dec 10, 2022 at 10:07 am

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.