WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Things have been heated lately at the University of Hartford. An incident between roommates is getting national attention and the president of the university acknowledged on Thursday he’s received death threats because of it.
“I’ve received two thousand emails and a number of them are threatening,” said Gregory Woodward, President of the University of Hartford.
A group of students who News 8 met on campus on Thursday support him, saying he’s handled this situation well. But, others say the university responded slow to it.
It all centers around two roommates — Brianna Brochu, who’s white, and Channelle “Jazzy” Rowe, who’s African-American. For about a month and-a-half, Brochu was doing unthinkable things to “Jazzy” (without her knowledge) to try to get her to move out. Brochu bragged about it in an Instagram post that read:
Finally did it. Yo girl got rid of her roommate. After one and a half 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.”
The President of Connecticut’s NAACP calls this incident, “Totally disgusting.” Scot X. Eisdaile explained, “I’ve never seen anything this absurd since I’ve been in civil rights.”
On Thursday, President Woodward sought to lower the temperature on campus by meeting with students. He wanted to hear their concerns in an effort to help the campus heal. He pledged to meet with leaders of various student groups every week to get a better understanding of attitudes and issues on campus.
“I’m unbelievably sorry it happened,” said President Woodward. “It is the act of a person who made some really bad choices.”
Brochu has been expelled from school and arrested. She originally faced two misdemeanors, but West Hartford Police asked the judge to add a more serious hate crime charge.
Students who lived in the same dorm as the two roommates say they had no idea Brochu was doing this until she bragged about it online.
“She seemed nice — and then I heard what she did,” said Stephanie Cardenas.
In the meantime, “Jazzy’s” friends say all of this has taken a toll.
“Considering what happened, I’d say she’s holding in there,” said Briyani Belasse-Jones. “Every meeting that the school is having I plan to be there. Every single one of them. I plan to check up on her…I want to know what’s going on.”
At a meeting on Thursday, some African-American students suggested to President Woodward that perhaps more African-American classes on campus could help lead to better understanding among different students from different backgrounds.