New Hazard of College Life: Roommate Spats Gone Viral

Latest is between 2 freshmen at Penn State
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2016 2:19 PM CDT
New Hazard of College Life: Roommate Spats Gone Viral
A file photo of the Penn State campus.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

When a college freshman who's just getting to know her roommate starts tweeting things like "two weeks down and I already hate my roommate!" and "my roommate situation is a horror story," the inevitable result is that newest of dorm problems: the roommate feud gone viral. This one at Penn State caught the attention of New York, the Daily Dot, and a host of other outlets, including Cosmopolitan, which says it went not just viral but "mega-viral." Neither roommate intended it to do so, of course, and the Washington Post takes a bigger-picture look at the issue and the not-so-fun consequences: "Because a feud between two frustrated roommates so captured the imagination of the Internet, two college students are now justifiably terrified that their reputations will never recover."

The feud started when Jessica (we'll stick with first names only) discovered that Nikki had been tweeting nasty things about her. She printed out the tweets, pasted them on a wall, tweeted the image to her friends, and, voila, it exploded into online infamy, with each girl gaining supporters and detractors online. Jessica supporters even began digging into Nikki's Instagram account and posting photos to try to damage her reputation. "Part of me feels bad, but a part of me feels like she’s the one who instigated it," Jessica tells the Post. (Nikki declined to be interviewed.) Each side alleges harassment, and campus police are looking into the complaints. It's a giant mess, and now Jessica is working on moving out. When asked by Fusion if she would handle the situation the same way again, she responds, "Yeah, probably." (Before this was the "roommate from hell" at UCLA.)

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