A white University of Hartford student, who poisoned her roommate by contaminating her things with noxious items, including bloody tampons, has exercised her white privilege and is getting away with a mere slap on the wrist.
Brianna Brochu, 18, bragged on her Instagram about the gruesome lengths she went to get rid of her African-American roommate. In the post, Brochu wrote about spending more than a month poisoning Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe by “spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons [on] her backpack, putting her toothbrush where the sun don't shine and so much more.” The post ended with Brochu calling Rowe a “Jamaican Barbie.”
During that time, Rowe suffered from a strange and prolonged sickness, including a very painful throat that kept her awake at night. Doctors could not find diagnose her illness and she was prescribed antibiotics.
Rowe also complained Brochu would “see me doing work, [and then] turn off the light and just walk out.” The antagonistic attitude worsened to such an extent that Rowe decided to switch rooms. That’s when a friend of hers sent Brochu’s Instagram post to her, detailing all her vile deeds.
When Brochu was first arrested, NAACP called her acts “blatant racism” and asked a hate crime charge to be added to her criminal mischief and breach of peace counts. However, Hartford State’s Attorney Gail Hardy argued there was no evidence of hate crime — despite Brochu calling her former roommate a “Jamaican Barbie.”
In November, Brochu said in an interview she was not racist, only acted foolishly. At her court hearing, her attorney Tom Stevens also backed her. Outside the courthouse, he said, “These were two students who were placed together ... who didn't like each other ... and it escalated.”
Now Brochu has been allowed in a probation program that could result in her criminal records being erased forever.
A state judge in Hartford Superior Court granted Brochu’s request for a special from of probation that could give her a clean slate. Brochu has been assigned 200 hours of community service, out of which 50 hours must be served with a social services group and 50 hours at a literacy organization. If she successfully complete her service and avoid any more trouble, her breach of peace and criminal mischief charges will be dropped after two years.
She also must have no contact with Rowe and must have a mental-health evaluation.
Brochu, who stooped to vile tactics to get rid of her roommate, will not be getting any jail time and worse, will not even have a criminal record. After two years, she will be allowed to go off scot free with no black mark dogging her footsteps. Given the leniency of her sentence, it’s possible she may not even derive any lesson from it.
However, the trauma she caused Rowe is probably much more long-lasting.
But that’s white privilege for you.
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