College roommates can be notoriously hard to handle in the best cases, especially for those away from home for the first time. But a viral video posted Monday by a University of Hartford student that alleges her roommate bragged about covertly harassing her for weeks has drawn national outrage and birthed the hashtag #justiceforjazzy.
Jazzy Rowe, who is black and a freshman at the University of Hartford, posted a video Monday evening that detailed the shocking allegations against her roommate.
In the video, she describes how she was finishing her move out of the apartment into another room when her roommate, later identified as freshman Brianna Brochu, who is white, paused her movie and asked if she was moving out, Rowe said in the video.
When Rowe told her roommate she was indeed moving out, Rowe said Brochu began texting on her phone.
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A few minutes later, Rowe said, she was notified by resident assistants to check her phone immediately. On her phone, friends had made screen shots of Instagram posts from her roommate (since deleted) in which Brochu allegedly bragged about covertly harassing Rowe for months.
“Finally did it ya girl got rid of her roommate!,” the post reads in the video posted by Rowe. “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 apparently followed up with a picture of the clam dip and another of Rowe’s backpack with visible blood spots.
“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 before posting a 90-minute live video describing the situation.
In the video, Rowe talks about how she had gone to the doctor because she had been having severe throat pain for about a month, but they did not know the cause other than “some type of bad bacteria.” Rowe says she believes the harassment from her roommate may have caused the sickness.
Rowe reported the incident, but wrote on Facebook that she decided to post her story online because “when it comes to college incidents/crimes and racial cases justice needs to be served.”
The story kicked off a tidal wave of outrage online under the hashtag #justiceforjazzy.
Jail records show that Brochu was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of the peace, both misdemeanors, and released on bond. In a police report obtained by the Hartford Courant, police say she admitted to licking the victim’s silverware and smearing her body fluids on the backpack, but denied tampering with lotions and cosmetics, saying it was a lie to “appear funny.”
University of Hartford President Greg Woodward released a statement Tuesday saying the allegations were “deeply upsetting” and that the accused student’s behavior “was reprehensible and does not reflect the values of our institution.”
Woodward added that the possibility the harassment was racially motivated was especially disturbing, and deserved special attention.
“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,” he wrote. “I pledge to do everything in my power to work with our community to address related concerns together.”
On Wednesday, Woodward released a second statement saying Brochu had been expelled from the university and would not return. Police have asked the court to add a new hate crime charge - intimidation based on bigotry or bias, reported NBC Connecticut.