Stanford soccer star Katie Meyer’s parents have spoken out about their daughter’s death. Here’s what they said

The parents of Katie Meyer, the 22-year-old Stanford women’s soccer captain who died by suicide Tuesday, told the Today Show on Friday they had seen “no red flags” that their daughter was going through a crisis but believed in one possible disciplinary action by the school may have contributed to her death.

“The last few days are like a parent’s worst nightmare and you don’t wake up from it. It’s just awful,” said her mother, Gina Meyer

Meyer, who is majoring in international relations just months after graduating, was found dead at her on-campus apartment Tuesday night. Her parents, Steve and Gina Meyer, said they FaceTimed Katie just hours before her death.

“She was excited. She had a lot to do, a lot to do, but she was happy,” said her mother Gina.

But her parents said they believe their daughter may have received an email from the school regarding disciplinary action, indicating she may be in trouble.

“Katie, who is Katie, was defending a teammate on campus over an incident,” Steve Meyer said, prompting a disciplinary action.

“We haven’t seen that email yet,” Gina Meyer said. “She had been getting letters for a few months. That letter was sort of the last letter that there would be a trial or anything. That’s the only thing we can think of that triggered something.”

Stanford officials did not respond to questions about Meyer’s parents’ disciplinary action, described Friday. Meyer’s parents did not respond to requests for further comment.

Students, faculty and staff across the university expressed shock at the loss of the athlete and resident assistant, who many described as outspoken, friendly and very dedicated to the campus.

One of Meyer’s professors, Bob Sutton, who teaches organizational behavior, said Meyer’s death provoked feelings of helplessness and shock from “students through faculty to top administrators.”

“Katie’s loss is so profound because she was so spirited and action-oriented and connected with so many people on campus,” Sutton said.

“We all looked up to her and admired her so much – she was a world-class athlete for sure, but the other things were even more impressive to me. And she was adept at being a powerful force without being overbearing or arrogant. That really hurts.”

Meyer was at least the fourth Stanford student to die unexpectedly in just over a year and the third to die by suicide. As the Stanford community faltered, many urged the university administration to do more to change what has been labeled a toxic mental health culture — a culture that encourages students to put their personal dilemmas aside.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 800-273-8255 for a 24-hour toll-free counselor at a locally operated crisis center.

Crisis Text Line: Text “Connect” to 741741 to reach a free Crisis Advisor anytime.

Last February, Stanford said medical student Rose Wong was found dead by suicide in an on-campus dorm. Six months later, engineering student Jacob Meisel was killed in Palo Alto after being hit by a train in what the Santa Clara County coroner ruled a suicide. In late January this year, law student Dylan Simmons was found dead in an apartment on campus.

Crystal Moore, a Ph.D. Candidate at the Stanford School of Education, said the news of another student death shocked her more than she thought.

“The heart breaks. We’re not doing well mentally and yet life goes on at Stanford,” she tweeted. “The classes meet, exams are taken, papers are due. Cannot see therapist on campus long term. Co-payments for community therapists have been waived during distance learning but will be this year as we return to normal.”

Just a month ago, university officials recognized a mental health crisis on campus, writing in an email to students and staff following a “publicly visible medical emergency” that the students “have shared high levels of stress and disconnection over the past few months.” .

On Friday, Stanford said it had expanded its mental health offerings over the past two years.

“Like other colleges and universities across the country, Stanford has seen a sharp increase in demand for mental health counseling and other wellbeing resources over the past two years. The increase in mental distress has been exacerbated by the challenges posed by the pandemic,” Stanford spokesman Dee Mostofi wrote in an email.

Mostofi added that Stanford has added four employees to its clinical staff in the university’s counseling and psychological services, as well as its non-clinical wellness coaching staff by five. When asked how many people are clinical staff in total, Mostofi said the service has increased its staff “by about 20%,” but would not confirm the total. Mostofi declined to answer how many people were employed to do wellness coaching.

She added that training for the university’s 500 resident assistants, senior high school students who work in dormitories, in 2020 and 2021 on the mental health challenges caused by the pandemic, as well as loneliness, isolation and community building trained to support good health. Being.

Stanford also provides students with “grief processing groups” led by grief counselors through neighborhoods, individual homes and sports teams, she said.

However, some students believe that’s still not enough — Stanford’s graduating college has repeatedly discussed the need for greater support for on-campus mental health and more financial resources from the university for existing services, including in a Wednesday night meeting .

Alain Perez, a Class of 2023 student who serves on the student senate, echoed calls from others for on-campus mental health resources and called Stanford’s lack of support despite his promises “annoying.”

Stanford’s psychological counseling service “is underfunded and unwelcoming. Stanford’s own culture creates a level of anxiety and stress that no one should experience,” he tweeted. “As well as the fact that professors are teaching on a regular basis in the face of the news, it tells us that life is expendable for them and contributes to the very problem we are facing, especially after such a traumatic and formative time.”

Danielle Echeverria is a contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @DanielleEchev

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