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Soccer star's parents sue Stanford University after her death

Original post made on Nov 30, 2022

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

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 30, 2022, 9:40 AM

Comments (20)

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:52 am

Online Name is a registered user.

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!

Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2022 at 1:46 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

“…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?!

Posted by Menlo Mom
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 30, 2022 at 1:59 pm

Menlo Mom is a registered user.

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.

Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2022 at 2:30 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

@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.

Posted by Morgan
a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 30, 2022 at 3:13 pm

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@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.]

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 30, 2022 at 4:17 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

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.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2022 at 5:11 pm

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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.

Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2022 at 5:39 pm

resident3 is a registered user.


“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.

Posted by Donya
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 30, 2022 at 7:13 pm

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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.

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2022 at 8:10 pm

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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.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Dec 1, 2022 at 10:26 am

MyFeelz is a registered user.

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.

Posted by staying home
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 1, 2022 at 11:02 am

staying home is a registered user.

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.

Posted by Menlo Mom
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 1, 2022 at 3:47 pm

Menlo Mom is a registered user.

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.

Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2022 at 5:10 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

@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?

Posted by jr1
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 7, 2022 at 11:25 am

jr1 is a registered user.

Wow, this speaks volumes about Stanford University.

Posted by jr1
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 7, 2022 at 11:28 am

jr1 is a registered user.

Stanford has a problem.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 7, 2022 at 12:22 pm

Annette is a registered user.

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.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 7, 2022 at 12:29 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

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."

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Dec 7, 2022 at 4:44 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

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.

Posted by III
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2022 at 10:07 am

III is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

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