Of all the nightmare stories of bad college roommate pairings, this one may be near the top of the list. While most roommate conflicts end with room reassignments, this one ended with criminal charges and claims of a hate crime.
Brianna Brochu and Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe were randomly paired as roommates at the University of Hartford, and moved in together in late August, but they weren’t getting along.
After nearly two months of tension, Rowe was moving out on Oct. 17, when she got some bad news courtesy of Brochu’s Instagram page.
The Instagram post
“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 onion and rubbing used tampons on her backpack, putting her toothbrush in places where the sun doesn’t shine, and so much more I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie,” Brochu wrote in a post that has since been deleted.
Because bragging about crimes on social media is a bad idea, and because her transgressions were particularly disgusting, other social media users turned the incident into a viral hashtag, #JusticeForJazzy. Some users said they believed the crime was racially motivated (Brochu is white and Rowe is black).
Something so vile and disgusting has come to my attention and I'm so over how passive these institutions are when i… https://t.co/wceArsmcBi— Sharine Taylor 🇯🇲 (@Sharine Taylor 🇯🇲)1509477003.0
Briana Brochu was sent to college as a racist & her parents should now watch her go to prison as one. This is a hate crime! #JusticeForJazzy— Andrea Roberts 🌹 (@Andrea Roberts 🌹)1509536083.0
Bullying? You got to be kidding me. This was a crime! Shame on you for trying to minimize this and alienating the v… https://t.co/BP3Qk2Zf4J— Kathy Ó Maol Fábhail Hawkins (@Kathy Ó Maol Fábhail Hawkins)1509504449.0
Punishment and university response
University president Gregory Woodward issued a statement Tuesday condemning Brochu’s actions.
“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.”
Brochu was arrested Saturday and charged with third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of peace after admitting to licking Rowe’s eating utensils and smearing bodily fluid on her backpack.