by G. Brown
The news is full of stories that make you angry, but the story of what University of Hartford student Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe had to endure provokes ‘Hulk’ level rage.
Rowe’s room mate admitted to contaminating their living space to force the Black college freshman to move out. Dorm mate Brianna Brochu admitted to spitting in Rowe’s food and beverages, rubbing body secretions on eating utensils and smearing used tampons on Rowe’s backpack to contaminate.
Rowe was aware of the disdain her room mate showed towards her and knew something was wrong. Rowe describes going back and forth to the clinic to get help with bouts of inexplicable illness saying, “I had extreme throat pain and couldn’t sleep to the point I couldn’t speak…I could barely whisper.” She had no idea what her room mate was doing to possibly cause her health problems. Rowe didn’t learn what was being done to her until she packed her things to move and Brochu prematurely celebrated her victory by boasting on social media…
— Blake ⛽️ (@hasaniblakejr) October 31, 2017
When friends alerted Rowe to the post, she reported the poisoning attempts and assault to university authorities who promptly did nothing. It wasn’t until Rowe told all in a heartfelt post for support that school administrators felt pressure from social outrage. The 18-year old Brochu was arrested, charged with criminal mischief and breach of peace and initially and finally kicked out of school.
Some have classified the ordeal as ‘bullying’, but that’s a nice way of denying what this was— a hate crime. Brochu referred to Rowe as “Jamaican Barbie” and claims Rowe created a “hostile environment”. So your room mate doesn’t say hello to you every morning, or gush every time you grace the room with your presence and you respond by poisoning her with your bodily fluids? No…this isn’t bullying-it’s a hate crime.
College is supposed to be the place where we learn among other things how to get along with others and to settle or at least accept our differences. What Brochu did was despicable, sickening and downright deranged. It’s what happens when privilege tells you that you don’t have to adhere to civilized logic, but should let your hatred guide your response. All she had to do was ask to be reassigned and move to a different dorm. Instead she sought to harm and humiliate Rowe.
Even worse than Brochu’s evil, contemptible and churlish behavior was the university’s plodding response. Rowe was poisoned and her room contaminated, what if Brochu decided to settle things with a knife or gun? The university didn’t take the matter seriously until Rowe publicized it on FaceBook and a flood of responses made Rowe’s ordeal everybody’s ordeal. Why did this poor girl have to go to such extremes to get university officials to care enough to do something to help? Her health and life were at risk, but still the university took its time in expelling Brochu.
Hopefully Rowe is in a safer environment and can recover from her health ordeal. But he mental anguish she endured, may stay with her a life time.