Eighteen-year-old Brianna Brochu was a freshman student attending Hartford University who was expelled and arrested after boasting about having contaminated her roommate, Chennel Rowe’s, toothbrush, backpack, face lotion and other belongings over an extended period to drive her from the room. This was more than a prank or simple revenge. This was bigotry.
College is where students meet new people, gain independence and essentially learn how to be an adult. According to The New York Times, Brochu stated in a post on Instagram that, “After 1½ 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 animosity of Brochu’s acts are more than a mere annoyance with her roommate, but appear to be racially motivated. Brochu is caucasian and the victim of her actions, Rowe, is black.
The roommates had been placed together randomly and had a tense relationship, but that does not make it even remotely acceptable for someone to be smearing their bodily fluids over other’s belongings. A big part of college is adjusting and growing up. Clearly, Brochu was not ready to do either of these things. According to court documents, Brochu began lashing out at Rowe after she had posted videos of Brochu sleeping and teased her for snoring. However, if this was Brochu’s only motivation, why not just request a room change as Rowe had before she even knew about Brochu’s offensive actions?
Brochu made more than one post of Rowe, and even told police that she did lick Rowe’s plate, fork and spoon. Upon finding this all out, Rowe said the revelations helped explain why she had been sick early in the school year, suffering from extreme throat pain that eventually made it difficult to sleep or speak. According to Rowe, the nurse she visited earlier in the school year advised her that the throat pain was due to a bacteria present in her throat. Rowe suspected this was caused by “Brochu tampering with her personal items,” according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
University of Hartford President, Greg Woodward, stated that Brochu would not be returning to the school. He also encouraged students to come forward with their concerns, “The University of Hartford is not exempt from issues facing our society and world.”
According to The Washington Post, the police department announced it would be requesting that Brochu should be charged with intimidation based on bigotry, which is a felony. Both the school and the police are taking the situation seriously and following proper procedure to adequately punish Brochu, who quite frankly, deserves it.
Photo Provided by Dave Kleinschmidt via Flickr