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‘Adam and his family deserve answers:’ VCU outlines plan for independent Greek Life Review

Adam Oake's dad and cousin say they’re heartbroken over losing who they call their teddy bear,...
Adam Oake's dad and cousin say they’re heartbroken over losing who they call their teddy bear, who was full of love and wanted to show that to everyone he met.(Family Photos)
Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 4:46 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - In a blog post released on Tuesday morning, VCU President Dr. Michael Rao announced that the Division of Student Affairs will dive deeper into several areas of Greek life at the university.

Dr. Rao says that they will look into six areas including the role of advisors, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, incident reporting and the transparency of those outcomes.

The review will also examine issues related to hazing, drug abuse, alcohol and sexual violence.

This comes as the community continues to mourn the death of Adam Oakes, a VCU freshman that was found dead in an off-campus house on Feb. 27.

Oakes’ family believes he was hazed during a party as part of his initiation into Delta Chi. The fraternity was suspended by VCU and the national organization.

In the post, Dr. Rao also said he’s sickened by what happened. He said Adam’s family deserves answers and that there will be accountability.

Courtney White, Adam Oakes’ cousin, demands more action from the university.

“We need to see action,” White said. “Actions speak louder than words, so what are you going about this?”

The Richmond Police Department and VCU have not confirmed these reports of hazing. White hopes that the review will lead to more change

“You need to look deeper into Greek life because I guarantee you this is not the only fraternity that it’s happening at,” she said.

White is also working to make change happen not only at VCU, but around the country. She says she doesn’t want Greek life to be abolished, but believes changes need to be made to keep everyone safe.

White says she wants to keep freshmen out of the pledging process and also doesn’t want alcohol to be involved in fraternity and sorority activities.

“You can still have the Big Little reveal. You can still have the initiation,” White said. “You can still have all those wonderful milestones of being in Greek life, philanthropic work, without the alcohol.”

White’s long-term goal is to create a nonprofit in Adam’s name to educate seniors about the transition into college life, including joining a fraternity or sorority.

She says this goal is part of their mission to continue living like Adam.

“He cared about other people. He used his kindness to show that,” she said. “We want to take care of other people and this is our way of taking care of other people.”

White also says the money left over from a GoFundMe page created to cover Adam’s funeral costs will be used to create scholarships for seniors at Potomac Falls High School.

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