We’ve all either experienced bad roommate situations, or know someone who has. But for one student at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, her bad roommate story could have resulted in her death.
Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, an African-American student, took to social media after moving out of her residence where she was living with fellow classmate, Brianna Rae Brochu. Rowe said Brochu’s behavior made it impossible to continue to live there because she would do things like “see me doing work, [and then] turn off the light and just walk out.”
During the entire time, Rowe was dealing with health issues. Her throat was sore, and getting worse. Doctors gave her antibiotics, but couldn’t figure out the underlying cause of her symptoms.
Eventually the annoyances of her roommate’s behavior were too much, and Rowe decided to move out to a new room in the university housing. That’s when a friend of hers alerted her to a social media posting by Brochu, who wrote:
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.
After being alerted to the fact that her roommate had been harassing her and poisoning her behind her back, in addition to vandalizing her property, Rowe contacted university officials — who initially told her to stop talking about it, and threatened her if she did go public with the allegations.
Not happy with the outcome of the situation, Rowe posted a Facebook video of what had happened, asking for advice on the issue. Her video went viral, prompting university officials to respond and culminating in the arrest of Brochu. Brochu faces a hate crime charge and will not return to the institution.
Rowe acknowledged the sheer hypocrisy of how the university handled this situation, and if the roles were reversed, officials probably would have dealt with the allegations in a more efficient manner.
“And the fact I’m black and my old roommate is white, if the roles was switched, I want to know if it would be handled the same way,” Rowe said in her video. “I damn well know it wouldn’t. … I feel like me as a black person and her being a white person, if I’m the woman who committed all these crimes, this would’ve been completely different. … There were so many crimes committed, that she openly posted. … I would’ve been locked up already, they would have had no hesitation, cuffed me and taken me away."
It shouldn’t require a video reaching “viral” status for university officials to act upon an incident like this. Brochu obviously has racial prejudices — but the university staffs' response to Rowe’s pleadings for justice need to be reviewed, as well, to determine how to better respond to similar allegations in the future.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Flickr: Matthias Rosenkranz