Ever since moving into her freshmen dorm room, University of Hartford student Chennel Rowe — aka Jazzy — said her white roommate barely acknowledged her presence. However, when she recently decided to move into a different room, the painful extent of her roommate's intolerance became public knowledge.
“She asked me if I was moving out and I simply said ‘yup’ and she made a face and said ‘OK’ and then I saw her pick up her phone and automatically start texting,” Rowe told Fox 61 regarding her Oct. 17 move out.
Shortly after Rowe notified her roommate, identified as freshman Brianna Brochu, she was contacted by one of her RA’s who informed her of disturbing posts Brochu made to social media, reported the Miami Herald.
“Finally did it ya girl got rid of her roommate!,” read the post, which has since been deleted. “After 1 1/2 months of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack, putting her toothbrush where the sun doesn’t shine and so much more I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie.”
Brochu allegedly also posted photos of the clam dip and another of Rowe’s backpack with blood spots.
Immediately, Rowe reported it to Public Safety and West Hartford police were eventually involved and a police report was filed. Although the incident was reported, Rowe said the school asked her to sign a “no contact agreement," meaning she would have no communication with her roommate, and she was told if she talks about the incident she could be removed from campus.
Disheartened by the actions of the school, Rowe took her story to Facebook Live.
In the video, Rowe explained how she'd seen a doctor for severe throat pain for about a month, but they did not know the cause other than “some type of bad bacteria.” Rowe said she believes the vile actions from her roommate may have caused the sickness.
She also wrote that she believes her roommate's actions were racially motivated.
“As a young African American woman I don’t want to become another statistic. When it comes to college incidents/crimes and racial cases justice needs to be served,” Rowe wrote in a Facebook post.
Rowe's story quickly started a movement on Twitter wherein people demanded #JusticeForJazzy.
Brochu was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of the peace and released on bond. In a police report obtained by the Hartford Courant, police say Brochu admitted to licking the victim’s silverware and smearing her body fluids on the backpack, but said she only said she contaminated her lotions and toothbrush to “appear funny.”
University of Hartford President Greg Woodward released a statement Tuesday saying the allegations were “deeply upsetting” and Brochu's behavior “was reprehensible and does not reflect the values of our institution.”
“The incident has brought about accusations of racism, and I want you to know that I hear and share your anger and frustration. Acts of racism, bias, bullying, or other abusive behaviors will not be tolerated on this campus,” read the statement. “I pledge to do everything in my power to work with our community to address related concerns together.”
(Photo: West Hartford, Conn., Police)