VCU launches independent review into Greek life after student dies in off-campus fraternity house

Adam Oakes

Virginia Commonwealth University announced Tuesday that they are launching an independent investigation into Greek life days after a student died in an off-campus fraternity house.

Adam Oakes, 19, of Sterling, died Saturday after what his family has described as a rush event where the teen reportedly drank a large quantity of alcohol.

READ MORE: VCU student from Loudoun Co. dies in off-campus fraternity house

Richmond Police and VCU Police are investigating Oakes' death, while VCU has announced it suspended the campus chapter of the Delta Chi fraternity.

VCU released the following statement on its website Tuesday:

"On behalf of all of VCU, we continue to mourn the death of Adam Oakes, a freshman who had a promising future ahead of him. Like our community, we fervently want to understand what happened. VCU is working closely with the Richmond Police Department, which is leading the investigation into Adam’s death.

Part of the police investigation will determine whether Adam’s death was related to a Delta Chi activity. VCU is fully supporting the investigation and asks 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.

This past weekend, Delta Chi fraternity's national office and VCU issued cease-and-desist orders, which suspends the chapter’s operations while the investigation continues.

Richmond Police has pledged a thorough investigation. While eager for answers, we must allow time for the investigation to proceed.

However, VCU is not waiting until an investigation is complete to take more action.

At the direction of VCU President Michael Rao, 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.

Simply put, this cannot happen again. We will keep our community informed about the review, and its outcomes.

At their best, fraternities and sororities promote fellowship, leadership and service through sound ethical and moral judgement. This comprehensive review will propose new ways to ensure all organizations follow our values and how they will be held accountable when they do not.

VCU is dedicated to acting now, and will be ready to do more pending outcomes of the police investigation. The university continues to work with Adam’s family and will always keep Adam, his family and friends in our hearts."

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