WEST HARTFORD, Conn.(WTNH)– A freshman at the University of Hartford was arrested for allegedly bullying her roommate, which was shared on social media and prompted a strong message from the university’s president.
West Hartford Police say 18-year-old Brianna Brochu was charged with criminal mischief and breach of peace after officers investigated a report of vandalism and harassment between her and her roommate at the University of Hartford.
An investigation by the university’s public safety revealed that Brochu posted photos and a statement on her Instagram saying she tampered with her roommate’s property, as well as deposited bodily fluids on the victim’s belongings.
The victim, Chennel ‘Jazzy’ Rowe, posted a video diary to her facebook page describing the entire situation that has been viewed more than a million times in the past three days.
In the video, Rowe read an Instagram post from Brochu detailing some of her actions.
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.”
The victim told police that she had felt “severe throat pain” which she believes was the result of Brochu’s tampering with her items. She also wrote a public post on her Facebook page on the incident.
The alleged bullying and accusations of racism were shared all across social media and got the attention of the University of Hartford’s President Gregory S. Woodward. He released the following letter to students regarding the incident:
Dear University of Hartford Community,
I am writing to you this evening to send a strong message regarding an incident that is deeply upsetting to me, our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. 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. Let me also be clear that I am confident the University has taken all steps to pursue this matter seriously, and will continue to do so.
Upon learning of the incident, Public Safety immediately ensured that the victim was relocated to a safe location, notified local authorities, and provided support for their investigation. The accused student was subsequently arrested by the West Hartford Police Department and her case will proceed through the legal process. The University will continue to precisely execute our defined process outlined in the Code of Student Conduct.
The University strictly and swiftly followed all procedural and legal processes related to this alleged event; claims to the contrary are based on misinformation. 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. I pledge to do everything in my power to work with our community to address related concerns together.
Throughout the day, I and members of my administration have been meeting with students, including representatives from the Student Government Association, multicultural organizations, and concerned students. I have also met with the affected student and we are in communication with her family. We will continue to offer support and assistance to her, as well as any other student that feels threatened, victimized, or uncomfortable on our campus. Let me repeat; racism and hatred will not be tolerated on this campus. Period. I encourage every one of you reading this email to report incidents on campus that are troubling and worthy of review.
I will proactively schedule and communicate additional community conversations in the coming days. I am willing and prepared to openly discuss concerns and will transparently share any additional information about University resources and processes that will make our community stronger. We pride ourselves on the diversity of our University and I am confident we provide a secure environment for our students in which to learn and thrive. Our community is not exempt from issues facing our society and world. We must strive every day to practice understanding, tolerance, inclusion, and grace. I know that you will join me in this critical mission.
Late Wednesday morning, the West Hartford police department requested that an additional charge against Brochu be added to the court’s case. The additional charge is Connecticut General Statute 53a-181k, intimidation based on bigotry or bias.
In the meantime, protesters supporting Rowe stood all day at the entrance to the campus carrying signs that read “#JusticeForJazzy.”
“We’re out here to support Jazzy,” said Erin Walton. “To let her know that she doesn’t stand by herself.”
The protesters reacted angrily to Brochu’s social media post, in which she bragged about the things she says she did to her roommate.
“It’s sickening because here’s a young lady that has suffered emotionally and physically because of the actions of someone else,” said Cornell Lewis.
“Here you have somebody on this campus who — over a period of time — I think she said a month and a half — systematically contaminated this young lady’s toothbrush, her belongings, with all sorts of bacterial matter,” another protester said. “Everybody knows this could be life-threatening.”
An African-American woman who drove by the protesters stopped to share her support of their efforts to stand by Rowe and keep attention focused on what happened to her.
The woman was visibly emotional.
“I’m mad and I’m upset about it because I have a daughter and a son,” she said. “You can’t do this. We have the right to be in the same room as anybody else.”
Brochu has been expelled from school and cannot have any contact with Rowe.
Brochu is due back in court Nov. 15.