VCU launches review of Greek life after student’s death

A former member of Greek life at VCU speaks out about Adam Oakes.
A former member of Greek life at VCU speaks out about Adam Oakes.(Source: NBC12 | Source: NBC12)
Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 11:19 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Commonwealth University has launched an independent review of Greek life on campus following the death of a freshman.

Adam Oakes’ family believes hazing led to his death after he was offered a bid to join Delta Chi at VCU.

His family says two pledges told them that he was forced to drink a handle of Jack Daniels whiskey on Friday night. They were also told that Adam was blindfolded and ran into a tree.

Oakes was found unresponsive in a home off-campus on West Clay Street early Saturday morning.

Delta Chi was suspended over the weekend, and Richmond police pledged a thorough investigation into the death. Now, VCU is launching an independent, comprehensive review of Greek life at the university.

“In light of Adam’s death and our commitment to a safe and healthy campus, this review will make recommendations about how Greek organizations meet the high expectations we have for them,” read a statement from Senior Vice Provost Charles Klink. “Simply put, this cannot happen again. We will keep our community informed about the review and its outcomes.”

The university says it continues to work with Adam’s family and “will always keep Adam, his family and friends in our hearts.”

Former members of Greek life at VCU, including Teresa Partin, are also mourning Adam’s loss.

“I was just heartbroken, upset, disappointed because somebody should’ve been looking out for him,” Partin said. “VCU Greek life alum all feel the same way and that we stand behind Adam and that this isn’t something we think should’ve happened.”

Partin says she was never hazed but has heard of it happening.

“I know of stories, unfortunately, from sorority sisters and other organizations that hazing does happen,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that it happened to this extent at VCU.”

An online petition is calling on VCU to expel Delta Chi, which has more than 11,000 signatures.

Partin hopes Oakes’ death will motivate the school and fraternity to take more action.

“We need to see action from VCU,” Partin said. “We need to see action from Delta Chi fraternity and the chapter here at VCU and if there isn’t any action taken, I think that will send a very loud and clear message.”

The Richmond Police Department didn’t offer any updates to the case.

NBC12 also knocked on Delta Chi’s door to get a response, but no one answered.

Anyone who believes they have information to contact Richmond Police Detective M. Gouldman at 804-646-3915 or call the VCU Police at 804-828-1196.

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