Student sues sorority over living conditions

Panhellenic Council chapters at Oregon State gather in the Memorial Union Quad for their annual Bid Day event.

Michael Eubanks, News Contributor

An OSU student and her mother have recently filed a lawsuit against the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, alleging that the Corvallis chapter facility provided unsafe living conditions.

The lawsuit was filed in the Benton County Circuit Court on Dec. 23 by Ruchi Vora and her mother Sanjay Vora.

According to the lawsuit paperwork, the sleeping room provided by the organization required roughly 30 females to sleep together in tightly-squeezed double and triple bunk beds.

The room was located on the third floor of the building, and was a converted attic that had ceilings that sloped down to an estimated eight feet in height at the wall. It was estimated that the room was 900 square feet.

The lawsuit paperwork states that the individual bed provided to Ruchi was the top bed of a triple bunk bed that was over 6 feet tall. A wooden, handmade ladder was left near the bed unsecured to the wall, and shook when Ruchi used it.

The bed was located at the corner of the room where the ceiling sloped down, making the space above the bed very limited. Additionally, the lawsuit also alleges that there was a pipe and emergency sprinkler directly above the bed that Ruchi was at risk of hitting while sleeping.

Despite initial concerns regarding the sleeping conditions, Ruchi still moved into the facility on Sept. 14. On the morning of the 15th, Ruchi had a difficult time breathing due to the lack of air circulation in the room and found the temperature of the room to be very high.

When she tried to get off the bunk bed in the dark room, Ruchi almost lost her footing on the unsecured ladder. She then had a panic attack, which her and her mother believe was caused by the accommodations provided by the sorority. 

Approximately 24 hours after initially moving in to the facility, Ruchi returned to her home in Portland to discuss the situation with Sanjay. Both of them agreed that they felt the living conditions provided were unsafe, and the decision was made that Ruchi would move out of the facility and seek new housing.

On Sept. 17, Sanjay reached out to the chapter’s financial officer, seeking a refund for money paid in the initial agreement. Four days later, on Sept. 20, the financial officer emailed her back stating that there would be no refund.

The financial advisor then emailed back again on Oct. 1, stating that the organization would not refund the $2,400—which was the room portion of the license for a full year—but would instead issue a refund of $585. The chapter president has not responded to request for comment. 

Ruchi is seeking $2,985 in damages from the organization, and wants the organization to address the facility’s living conditions by removing the triple bunk beds from attic sleeping rooms, providing secured ladders on all beds, providing adequate ventilation in the attic sleeping rooms, and reducing the number of occupants in those rooms.

Ruchi has declined to speak with the Barometer regarding the lawsuit, and Kate Gilley, Kappa Alpha Theta chapter president, did not reply to request for comment in time of publication. 

Information will be updated as soon as it becomes available.

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