A former University of Hartford student who allegedly tampered with her black roommate’s personal items and bragged about it on social media will likely face hate crime charges.
The Hartford Courant reported that police are pushing for intimidation based on bigotry or bias charges for Briana Rae Brochu, 18. Brochu, who is white, allegedly took to Instagram and admitted to rubbing used tampons on her then-roommate’s backpack, spitting in her coconut oil, and tampering with her toothbrush.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Brochu’s alleged target, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, detailed her ex-roommate’s unsettling behavior—and the university’s controversial response—in an hourlong Facebook Live stream. According to the video, Rowe said she moved out of the dorm room she shared with Brochu because she felt “unwelcomed.” As she moved her things on October 17, Rowe recalled seeing Brochu texting on her phone but thought nothing of it.
She said it wasn’t until two resident assistants alerted her to the post that she learned Brochu had been secretly tormenting her for weeks. The University of Hartford freshman noted that she had sought medical treatment numerous times for a persistent sore throat while she lived with Brochu.
“Finally did it ya girl got rid of her roommate!,” Brochu allegedly boasted on Instagram, according to the Miami Herald.
“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.”
— tsunami taj (@EverythingTaj) October 31, 2017
Brochu was reportedly arrested Saturday after admitting to police that she put her bodily fluids on Rowe’s backpack and licked her utensils. She is scheduled to appear in court on November 15.
Though the University of Harford announced Wednesday that they expelled Brochu, the Connecticut college is facing criticism for how they handled the situation. Rowe accused school officials of threatening to remove her from student housing if she spoke about the harassment, citing a no-contact agreement she supposedly signed.
Rowe also expressed frustration with the University for waiting so long to punish Brochu—a decision she believes was influenced by race.
“If the race roles were reversed, I feel like this would have gone down a different route,” she commented.
“It is clear there is work to be done at our University to ensure that all students feel safe, respected, and valued,” University of Hartford Vice President of Student Affairs and Director of Public Safety, Greg Woodward, said in Wednesday’s statement.
“The conversations that began with student groups, faculty, and staff yesterday are going to continue and involve our full community. I am dedicated to that mission and will continue to share additional information about opportunities for our path forward in meaningful dialogue and action.”
WTIC reported that National Fair Housing Alliance believe Brochu’s harassment may be in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Protestors, who weren’t students, appeared at the University Wednesday wielding signs that said #JusticeforJazzy, a hashtag spreading on social media in support of the teen.
School officials attempted to address students’ concerns Wednesday night during a meeting that lasted two hours.
[Featured Image: West Hartford Police Department; Facebook/Jazzy Rowe]