The hashtag #JusticeForJazzy prompted national attention to the plight of Chennel "Jazzy" Rowe, 18, a Black University of Hartford student, whose white roommate rubbed used tampons on her backpack and poisoned her body lotion, among other hateful incidents.
Brianna Brochu, 18, was arrested by the West Hartford Police Department on Saturday and charged with second-degree breach of peace and third-degree criminal mischief, both misdemeanors. Rowe posted a Facebook Live video on Monday detailing her ordeal. She said that a neighbor, along with two campus resident assistants, told her about Brochu's disturbing Instagram posts.
The video went viral and snippets began circulating on social media using the hashtag:
— Blake ⛽️ (@hasaniblakejr) October 31, 2017
On Wednesday, police said Brochu would also be charged with intimidation based on bigotry or bias, which is considered a hate crime charge. The same day, the university announced that Brochu was expelled.
University president Gregory S. Woodward said in a statement Wednesday that University Public Safety was notified of Brochu's actions on Oct. 17, and the West Hartford police were called in. According to court documents obtained by Heavy, that was the day university authorities and Rowe were made aware of Brochu's Instagram posts.
Rowe said she felt ostracized by Brochu since the beginning of the school year and put in a room change request.
"On 10/17/17 she began moving her belongings out of the room she shared with Brochu and into her newly assigned room," according to the documents.
An Instagram post on Oct. 17 stated:
"Finally did it yo girl got rid of her roommate!! 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 places where the sun doesn't shine, and so much more I can finally say goodbye Jamaican Barbie."
Three photos followed the caption: One of Rowe's purse "stained with a reddish brown substance."
"Brochu later told me that was 'period blood,'" the court document states. "The second picture was a plastic food container with a milky white substance."
The caption read: "Like this moldy clam dip and I've been mixing it with her face lotion."
The third picture "appeared to be some type of weave hair piece and had the caption of, 'This b**ch legit bought a box of f**king hair.'"
In the #JusticeforJazzy thread, a social media user pointed out the irony of Brochu mocking Rowe hairstyle choices:
— tsunami taj (@EverythingTaj) October 31, 2017
According to the Hartford Courant, Brochu told police she "began to lash out due to a 'hostile environment' caused by [the victim's] rude behavior, not compromising, and posting Snapchat videos of me sleeping and making fun of me snoring." She also said that on Oct. 11 she had requested a room change, but was unsuccessful.
The University of Hartford is a four-year private institution located in West Hartford, Conn. It has just over 5,000 undergraduate students, of which 56 percent are white, 16 percent are Black, 12 percent are Latino, 3 percent are Asian and less than one percent are Native American, according to College Scorecard.
Woodward said in a statement on Tuesday that "acts of racism, bias, bullying, or other abusive behaviors will not be tolerated on this campus."
"Clearly we've got work to do, as I said, but are we alone in this?" he told Fox 61 on Thursday. "Everyone's got this work to do, right? Hatred is kind of fashionable at the moment, which is really unfortunate.
"So, let's come out of this stronger on the other side. Let's put into place not just a lot of talk, but actual things, right? Classes, seminars."
On Thursday, Connecticut Gov. Daniel P. Malloy's spokesman, Chris Collibee, said in a written statement:
"Governor Malloy strongly condemns these alleged, heinous actions and shares concern for the young woman who was the victim of these heinous acts. There is no place for discrimination, hate crimes, or bullying in our society — much less in our places of education."
Brochu's case was transferred to Hartford Superior Court with a court date of Nov. 15.