A white former University of Hartford student is accused of spitting in her black roommate's coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotion and rubbing used tampons on her backpack.
Police have arrested Brianna Brochu and said they are asking the court to add a hate crime charge to the list of charges filed against her after further reviewing the case.
In a statement on Tuesday, the University of Hartford president Greg Woodward called the incident "deeply upsetting" and said it has brought about "accusations of racism."
U.S. & World
On Wednesday, he said 18-year-old Brochu is no longer a student at the university as of this morning and will not be returning.
West Hartford police said the victim reported she was suffering from "severe throat pain" and suspected it was from her roommate tampering with her personal items.
As police investigated, they learned that Brochu posted on Instagram that she tampered with her roommate’s property and deposited bodily fluids on other property and had posted photos as well, police said.
The victim, Chennel "Jazzy" Rowe, used Facebook to share her story. During a Facebook live posted on October 30, Rowe said Brochu went into detail about the accusations and claimed to have put her toothbrush in a place "the sun doesn't shine." She also posted photos of the backpack and the dip.
The Facebook video posted has been watched more than 636,000 times. NBC Connecticut has tried to reach Rowe, but we have not heard back.
"There has been an outpouring of concern for the victim of these acts from across the University and the country. In my meeting with her yesterday, I reiterated my personal commitment to ensuring she has all available personal and academic resources the University can provide," Woodward wrote in a statement to the university community.
Brochu was initially charged with third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of peace, but police now say they are asking the court to add an intimidation based on bigotry or bias charge.
"One of our students was the alleged victim of bullying and her story was shared across social media. Let me be clear: the accused student’s behavior was reprehensible and does not reflect the values of our institution. Let me also be clear that I am confident the University has taken all steps to pursue this matter seriously, and will continue to do so," Woodward said in a statement.
He said Rowe was relocated to "a safe location," authorities were notified and the school "strictly and swiftly followed all procedural and legal processes related to this alleged event."
According to Woodward, Hartford University Public Safety learned about the incidents at 11:48 p.m. on Oct. 17, when the victim became aware. West Hartford police were notified by 1:12 a.m. By 2:16 a.m., a no-contact order was in place and the case was turned over to local authorities.
"The incident has brought about accusations of racism, and I want you to know that I hear and share your anger and frustration. Acts of racism, bias, bullying, or other abusive behaviors will not be tolerated on this campus. I pledge to do everything in my power to work with our community to address related concerns together," Woodward wrote.
Brochu appeared in court Tuesday with her parents, spoke only a few words and had a solemn expression soon after facing a judge.
The incident is getting nationwide attention, including from television producer Shonda Rhimes.
State Rep. Brandon McGee, who represents Windsor and Hartford, said he and other community leaders would be at the school Wednesday night for a peaceful rally at Hawk Hall on the University of Hartford campus.
"This is another example of the racially charged political and social climate and sentiment that as of late pervades American personal interactions throughout the country," McGee said in a statement. "This emboldened behavior is the result of the general discourse on diversity and racial relations from the top levels of leadership. What allegedly occurred on this campus amounts to multiple crimes. Not denouncing this behavior is akin to condoning it and I join with the many in opposition to this abhorrent treatment of each other."
The Brothers and Sisters United Group hosted the meeting.