Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU to Begin Independent Review of Fraternities, Sororities After Freshman's Death

The review comes after 19-year-old Adam Oakes was found dead following a fraternity event

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Virginia Commonwealth University announced Wednesday that it will conduct a review of Greek life on campus after the death of a student at a fraternity event.

Adam Oakes, 19 and a freshman, was found dead early Saturday at an off-campus residence where he attended a rush event for the fraternity Delta Chi. His family, who spoke with people who attended the party, said Oakes was given alcohol and hazed, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Oakes’ cousin, Courtney White, said she was told Oakes was blindfolded and given Jack Daniels whiskey to drink, the newspaper reported. He fell asleep on his side on a couch and was left there by other fraternity members, she said. The next morning, he was found unresponsive, lying facedown. Police were called, and authorities pronounced him dead at the scene.

Oakes was from Loudoun County, NBC Washington reported.

VCU suspended the Delta Chi chapter Sunday, and so did the fraternity’s headquarters. The school shuttered Delta Chi from August 2018 to August 2019 for failing to comply with university requirements.

To prevent such events in the future, VCU will propose new ways to make sure fraternities and sororities follow the rules and determine how to hold student organizations accountable when they don’t follow them. The call to investigate all Greek life came from VCU President Michael Rao. More than 1,500 students are members of VCU’s 40 fraternities and sororities, according to the school’s website.

After news of Oakes’ death began circulating on social media Saturday, students began calling for the permanent expulsion of Delta Chi. VCU’s Student Government Association made a similar plea, asking for the expulsion of the students involved and the fraternity.

Richmond police are leading the investigation of Oakes’ death, and VCU is working alongside, Senior Vice Provost Charles Klink said. Investigators hope to determine whether Oakes’ death was related to Delta Chi activity, Klink added.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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