Sorority Sisters' Spat Ends Up in Federal Courtroom

The feuding pair go to Penn State
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2016 3:10 PM CDT
Sorority Sisters' Spat Ends Up in Federal Courtroom
This is Old Main on the Penn State main campus in State College, Pa.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

It's not unusual for two college roommates to wind up not getting along. What makes this dispute at Penn State exceptional is that it's now in federal court. Also, it involves a colander that may or may not have had noodles in it. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, the feud is between sorority sisters Molly Brownstein and Rachel Lader. They spent the spring semester living together while studying abroad in Spain, and things did not go well. In a complaint to the school, Brownstein and her mother called Lader a "monster" and an "expert bully with a PhD in intimidation." Lader, however, says she's the victim, accusing Brownstein of getting her parents—prominent donors to Penn State—to push through a disciplinary proceeding against her based on lies. She ended up on academic probation as a result.

Lader, an aspiring lawyer, has filed a defamation and breach-of-contract suit in federal court against Brownstein, her parents, and Penn State. She rebuts the allegations against her one by one, including the odd one that she dumped a colander of noodles on her roomie's bed because she was frustrated at Brownstein's messiness. The colander had no noodles in it, she says. The Guardian also reports on this "fractured sisterhood," quoting from a memo by Brownstein's mother that says, “In [Alpha Sigma Alpha], it is generally understood that you do not cross Rachel Lader." Lader calls that a defamatory lie. One odd final note: Long before this drama, the women signed a lease to share an off-campus apartment their senior year. Classes start Monday, notes Onward State, and so far neither has broken the lease, meaning they could actually be roommates again. (This roommate want-ad caused a stir at a small California college.)

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