A Connecticut university attracted attention on social media when a white freshman named Brianna Brochu was arrested for allegedly harassing her Black roommate until she moved out of their shared dorm. On Oct. 30, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe posted a Facebook Live video detailing her experience on the University of Hartford's campus, which has now gotten almost 500 thousand views. Rowe claims Brochu smeared period blood on her book bag, and allegedly contaminated her face lotion with rotten food and stuck her toothbrush “where the sun doesn’t shine,” which Brochu also claimed in an Instragram post. Brochu also claimed to have licked Rowe's eating utensils and plates. University of Hartford President Greg Woodward addressed the incident in an all-school announcement, saying, "One of our students was the alleged victim of bullying and her story was shared across social media. Let me be clear: the accused student’s behavior was reprehensible and does not reflect the values of our institution." Woodward also said that the University "strictly and swiftly followed all procedural and legal processes related to this alleged event." Bustle has reached out to the University for comment, and will update this post when we hear back.
UPDATE: According to a statement made by University of Hartford President Greg Woodward on Nov. 1, Brochu has officially been expelled from the University of Hartford. "As of this morning, Brianna Brochu is no longer a student at the University of Hartford. She will not be returning to the institution,” the statement read. NBC Connecticut reported that police have asked the court to add an "intimidation based on bigotry or bias charge" in addition tothird-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of peace,with which Brochu was originally charged. The University of Hartford has not yet responded to Bustle’s request for comment.
Rowe found out about how Brochu had allegedly tampered with her personal belongings after Rowe moved out of the shared dorm on Oct. 17. Although she didn't immediately detect Brochu’s actions, Rowe had decided to leave the shared dorm of her own accord. “I kind of felt unwanted and she was giving off vibes,” Rowe told Fox61.
After finding out her roommate was moving out, Brochu took to Instagram to brag about what she claimed to have done to Rowe, whom Brochu referred to as "Jamaican Barbie" in the post.
“Finally did it yo girl got rid of her roommate!! After 1 1/2 month of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons [on] her backpack, putting her toothbrush places where the sun doesn’t shine and so much more I can finally say goodbye Jamaican Barbie,” Brochu wrote in the caption of photos on Instagram. Rowe read this caption in a Facebook Live video she posted after the incident.
Rowe spoke about becoming sick during her time as Brochu's roommate on Facebook Live as well. “While I’ve been [at the University of Hartford], I’ve been getting sick. Not knowing why, I’ve been getting sick. It started with throat pain. I thought maybe because it’s colder up here, I’m just probably catching a cold,” she said. “The sore throat pain got worse and it was just throat pain. And this was happening for about a month. It got to the point where I had extreme throat pain where I couldn’t sleep, to the point where I couldn’t speak. Like I’d try to whisper, and I could barely whisper.”
According to Rowe's Facebook Live video, on-campus doctors who examined her initially couldn’t figure out what caused her sore throat, but identified “some type of bad bacteria” in the back of her throat.
Brochu was arrested for her alleged actions toward Rowe and is facing charges of third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of peace according to local reports. Though the alleged incident prompted "accusations of racism," as Woodward wrote in his announcement, Brochu was not charged for a hate crime. Brochu was released without having to post bail, according to the Hartford Courant. It is unclear at this time if the University has taken disciplinary action against Brochu.
When questioned by police, Brochu admitted to licking Rowe’s utensils and smearing period blood on her bag, but claims she made up the other things she said on Instagram to be funny. Let's get one thing straight: nothing about this situation is funny. As many social media commentators noted, Brochu's alleged actions could have resulted in very serious health consequences for her roommate.
Brochu told police that her actions were in response to Rowe’s bad attitude, unwillingness to compromise, and "posting Snapchat videos of me sleeping and making fun of me snoring."
It’s yet to be determined what legal consequences Brochu will ultimately face, but it’s clear that Twitter has Rowe’s back. #JusticeForJazzy helped spread this story across the country, and folks are calling for swift justice for the college freshman.