National News

UHart president addresses concerns raised following roommate arrest

Posted November 3, 2017 11:05 a.m. EDT

— A community meeting was held on Thursday after a University of Hartford student was expelled for, among other things, putting bodily fluids on the personal items of her roommate.

On Thursday, university President Greg Woodward was available to speak with students who have raised concerns.

This comes after Brianna Brochu, 18, was charged with criminal mischief and breach of peace. Police also asked a judge to add a bigotry charge.

UHart said it will continue to speak about the case, not only because of what Brochu is accused of doing, but because of the conversation it sparked on race.

Wednesday night, students took to the West Hartford campus to speak out.

The victim, Chenelle Rowe, who goes by the nickname Jazzy, went on Facebook to describe what had been done to her by Brochu.

Brochu is accused of putting moldy clam dip in Rowe's lotion, spitting in her coconut oil, putting used tampons on her backpack and other things.

Rowe said she experienced sore throat episodes, but university doctors couldn't pinpoint the cause.

She eventually decided to move out of the room.

Brochu took to social media at that point to brag about how she drove her roommate out, Rowe explained. Rowe said a post made by Brochu about her referred to Rowe as "Jamaican Barbie."

In her video, Rowe brought up the race issue. It reached half a million people.

Police became involved and Brochu now faces those criminal charges.

UHart said it is working to make sure all students feel safe, respected and valued.

It said the conversations that began on Wednesday will continue and involve the whole community.

"Justice is definitely happening," said Erin Walton, the event's organizer. "Yes she has been arrested, yes she has been expelled. Nevertheless Jazzy is still dealing with this internally. Her family is still dealing with this, getting some retaliation on campus."

Brochu, who faced a judge on Wednesday, is due back in court later this month.

Woodward planned to meet with students in the Commons dining hall between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to answer questions and hear their concerns.

Gov. Dannel Malloy's spokesperson released a statement on Thursday that said "These allegations are deeply disturbing and shameful. Governor Malloy strongly condemns these alleged, heinous actions and shares concern for the young woman who was the victim of these heinous acts. There is no place for discrimination, hate crimes, or bullying in our society-much less in our places of education."