University of Hartford Student Faces Bias Charge for Endangering Roommate - Higher Education
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University of Hartford Student Faces Bias Charge for Endangering Roommate

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Shortly after moving into her dorm, Jazzy Rowe, a freshman at the University of Hartford, began experiencing severe throat pain. She had trouble eating and sleeping, and none of her doctors were able to identify the cause.

“I would try to whisper, and I could barely whisper,” Rowe said in a Facebook Live video on Monday.

Brianna Brochu

Meanwhile, Rowe’s relationship with her roommate, Brianna Brochu, had become tense. Rowe said she felt ignored and unwanted despite her own politeness. The relationship became hostile to the point where Rowe decided to move out. It was only until she was moving her things that she was able to connect the dots.

Brianna Brochu was arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief and breach of peace on Saturday for a variety vile acts including mixing body fluids into her roommate’s beauty products and contaminating Rowe’s personal items. In court on Wednesday, the police asked the judge to add a felony for bigotry charge. Brochu is a White student. Rowe is Black.

As Rowe was moving her belongings out of the room, Brochu boasted on social media about Rowe’s departure.

“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 allegations were first brought to university officials’ attention on October 17, but Rowe stated in her Facebook Live video that the university initially tried to silence her complaints. She said she had to sign a “no contact order” that would prevent her from making contact with Brochu.

But the day after she signed the order, two officials from university residential services visited Rowe in her new room for her old keys. According to Rowe, they implied that the no contact agreement dictated that Rowe would be removed from the campus residence if she continued to publicize the incidents with Brochu. She said she was required to wait for the public safety office to finish the investigation.

In a statement released on Tuesday night, University of Hartford president Dr. Greg Woodward emphasized the administration’s commitment to justice for Rowe.

“Let me be clear: the accused student’s behavior was reprehensible and does not reflect the values of our institution,” Woodward wrote. “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.”

He added in a second statement on Wednesday afternoon that Brochu would not be returning to the university. Citing student privacy laws, Woodward did not specify whether she was expelled.

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