Along with roommates usually comes roommate drama. For me, it happened junior year, when, despite my mother’s warnings that three is never a good number for roommates, I decided to live with two of my friends in a two bedroom apartment. The best part of this scenario was that I had my own bedroom, which turned out to be good thing when I became the odd man out after I started dating one of my roommate’s best guy friends. Even though I had asked her at least thirty times if it was okay and she said it was, after that our trio became a duo that I was not a part of.
Luckily for me, things kind of resolved themselves over time, and there was never any kind of big blow out or anything. Which is not the case for two Alpha Sigma Alpha sisters from Penn State, because the only place their issues are getting resolved is court.
Earlier this week, Rachel Lader, a senior, filed a defamation and breach-of-contract lawsuit in federal court in Philadelphia. In the suit, she alleges that the partners of her former roommate, Molly Brownstein, used their influence as Penn State alumni and donors “to manipulate a baseless disciplinary proceeding against her that ended with Lader being placed on academic probation and threatened with expulsion.”
Um, what? Okay, let’s go back to the beginning. Apparently, all of the trouble started when the sisters were roommates together in Barcelona on a study abroad trip earlier this year. Apparently, Lader was such a crappy roommate on the trip that Brownstein filed a disciplinary case while the two were still aboard.
According to Philly.com:
Lader allegedly played music too loud in the Barcelona apartment the girls shared during a study-abroad trip earlier this year, brought a boy back to their hotel room in Prague and once – in a fit of frustration over Brownstein’s purported slovenliness – dumped a colander filled with pasta on her roommate’s bed.
Also included in the documents from the disciplinary case? An eight page letter written by Brownstein’s mother that detailed all of Lader’s infractions against her daughter and also stated, “In the sorority, it is generally understood that you do not cross Rachel Lader – better to pretend to be her friend, then be her enemy. The other girls were frankly scared of Rachel.” Can you say helicopter parent?
Lader denies all of the allegations that the Brownsteins made against her with the university – except for the colander incident, which she says was meant “to draw attention to the fact that Brownstein wasn’t pulling her fair share of the housework around the apartment.” Lader refused to agree to a deal that included academic probation and breaking her apartment lease for this fall (she and Brownstein are supposed to share an off-campus apartment) in exchange for dropping the disciplinary proceedings against her, she received a letter that charged her with harassment, a violation of Penn State’s student code of conduct. (Sidenote: according to Philly.com, neither Lader or Brownstein has bent on the apartment issue, so they could find themselves living together again this fall)
And so that’s how we got to the lawsuit. Lader’s lawsuit against both the Brownsteins and the school asks a judge to clear her disciplinary record with the university, as well as award damages for both defamation and inflicting emotional distress, which Lader claims has induced migraines, anxiety, and colitis. For her part, Brownstein claims that Lader’s behavior produced similar results; in a memo filed with the university included in Lader’s lawsuit, she wrote “Rachel bullied me to the point where I had to leave in the middle of the night in an area where people get stabbed outside my building. Whenever I think about it, it brings me to a full on terrible place and makes me completely depressed.” I assume they will both continue to deal with their respective traumas until U.S. District Judge Timothy Savage sets a date for a hearing on the suit.
You don’t dump pasta on their bed or have your mommy and daddy use their power to file a disciplinary case on your behalf. Instead, you suck and up and deal with it like an adult — or shell out the money for a single. No matter who wins this case, it looks like the real loser is the Penn State chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha – who has to deal with these two crazies for one more year. .