Anyone who’s left home for college knows that one of the most anxiety-inducing parts about the whole ordeal is wondering if you and your roommate will get along. For some of us, the worst we can imagine is her eating our food, having sex–while you’re in the same space, or leaving clumps of her hair all over the new rug your mama just bought you from Target.
Very few of us consider the fact that our roommate might make it her personal mission to torment us. But that’s what happened to one student at the University of Hartford, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe.
In this 22 minute Facebook Live video, Rowe details the horrors her roommate inflicted on her. She explains that she was assigned a random roommate. After just a month and a half of living with her roommate, she moved out because she felt that she was “unwanted,” that she was a ghost in her own room. Still, there was no physical violence so she decided to just keep the peace. Then, she noticed that her throat was hurting. There was so much pain, she had trouble speaking and experienced extreme pain when she attempted to talk. She assumed it was a cold but noticed that she didn’t develop any of the other symptoms. It was just the throat pain. So she decided to go to the student health center. While they couldn’t tell her what was wrong, they noticed that there was a bad bacteria in her throat.
In the midst of all this, the roommate situation wasn’t getting any better so Rowe made the decision to find another roommate. She began moving her things out of the room, slowly but surely. Eventually, her roommate, a White girl, looks up and asks if she’s moving out. Rowe responded with one word. “Yes.” Rowe said that the girl made a face and then immediately hopped on the phone. Rowe assumed she was telling her friends that her roommate was leaving.
That wasn’t the case.
You can watch what happens here, in the 2 minute abridged version.
For those who are unable to watch right now. Rowe’s roommate hopped on Instagram to alert her followers that:
“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.”
That wasn’t all. The girl started uploading images of the blood she’d rubbed on Jazzy’s backpack. Public Safety confiscated the bag because they said it was a health risk. As she was moving out, Rowe started discovering more things her roommate had done to her.
Thankfully, Rowe filed a report. They issued a no-contact order between the two students.
But two people from the University’s Residential department said that if Rowe spoke about the situation or the terms of the agreement, she could be removed from campus. They tried to assure her that the situation was over. But Rowe repeatedly mentioned that the fact Public Safety had yet to conclude their investigation, so how could it be over?
Rowe said that she was determined not to become another statistic.
“I don’t be another statistic because the thing with colleges, it could be a rape situation or something serious and they just brush it under the rug. They just leave it until the situation disappears, they don’t take care of it at all. It’s a proven fact. The fact that I’m coming into college, my freshman year, and all this sh*t is happening. Multiple crimes were committed in [this social media post]. And it’s the fact that nothing’s being done. And I’m not about to sit here and have this thing just blown away in the wind and nothing happened.
And the fact that I’m Black and the roommate was White, if the roles were switched, I want to know if it would be handled in the same way. I damn well know it wouldn’t.”
Hours after Rowe’s video went viral on Twitter, the University President, Greg Woodward, issued this statement:
“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.
When the case went public, the identity of the other student was released. According to Heavy.com, Her name is Brianna Brochu. Brochu, 18, of Harwinton, Connecticut, was arrested by the West Hartford police department on October 28 and charged with second-degree breach of peace and third-degree criminal mischief, both misdemeanors.
Brochu admitted to licking her roommate’s plate, fork, spoon, and smearing bodily fluid on her backpack but she denied doing any of the other things she mentioned in the Instagram post. She told police that she did not mean to injure or sicken her roommate and that bragging about doing so on social media was an attempt to “appear funny.”
Brochu claimed that she began lashing out at Rowe because she created a “hostile environment” by being rude, uncompromising and posting Snapchat videos of her snoring in her sleep. She said she tried to change rooms but was unable to do so.
As of now, Brochu was released on $1,000 bail and is set to appear in court today. She faces up to a year in prison.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated as the story progresses.