White Student at University of Hartford Expelled, Charged With Criminal Mischief After Boasting About Contaminating Black Roommate’s Belongings

A building on the campus of the University of Hartford. A white student was charged with criminal mischief and expelled after contaminating the belongings of her black roommate.
Andre Jenny/Alamy

A student at the University of Hartford in Connecticut was charged with criminal mischief and expelled from school after boasting about having contaminated her roommate’s toothbrush, face lotion and other belongings in an effort to drive her from the room.

The student, Brianna Brochu, 18, was in court on Wednesday for charges that originated with an Instagram post in which she said that she had finally accomplished what had apparently been a long-held goal: ridding herself of her dorm roommate, Chennel Rowe, whom she referred to as “Jamaican Barbie.”

“After one and a half months 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 to Jamaican Barbie,” said the post, which has since been deleted. Ms. Brochu is white; Ms. Rowe is black.

Lt. Michael Perruccio of the West Hartford Police Department said that the police began investigating the report on Oct. 18 and that Ms. Brochu turned herself in on Saturday.

On Wednesday, the police department said it would be requesting that Ms. Brochu be charged with intimidation based on bigotry or bias, a felony. The university announced that she was no longer a student there.

Brianna Brochu, 18, bragged about driving away her roommate on Instagram. “I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie,” she said.
West Hartford Police Department

“As of this morning, Brianna Brochu is no longer a student at the University of Hartford,” said the school’s president, Gregory S. Woodward. “She will not be returning to the institution.”

Ms. Rowe, a freshman at the university, described her roommate’s behavior in a Facebook video on Monday, and accused the school of attempting to keep the episode quiet.

She said that the revelations, posted on Instagram as she was moving out, had 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.

Ms. Rowe said that she and Ms. Brochu had been placed together randomly and that their relationship had been tense.

“I moved out because I felt like I was unwanted in my own room,” she said.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Jonah Engel Bromwich