VCU Student Death Prompts Investigation, Orders Frat Closed
This story was updated to include additional information from the Richmond Police department and information regarding a student petition.
Richmond Police and Virginia Commonwealth University are investigating the death of 19-year-old freshman Adam Oakes.
While VCU and RPD officials have not confirmed the cause of death, several social media accounts point to hazing as the cause of his death over the weekend. In a statement, the RPD said a medical examiner has not yet made a determination.
The university says the local chapter of fraternity Delta Chi is facing consequences.
“The Delta Chi fraternity's national office issued a cease-and-desist order to the VCU chapter on Saturday; the university took similar action today and continues its investigation,” the VCU statement reads.
VCU says the investigation is being led by RPD while the university assists.
VCU mourns the death of student Adam Oakes.
This is a tragic loss for Adam's family and members of our community and we encourage any students in need of support to contact University Counseling Services at (804) 828-6200. pic.twitter.com/WiroQSQDpy
— VCU (@VCU) February 28, 2021
The social media accounts for the VCU Delta Chi chapter have gone offline since Oakes’ death. In a statement, the national Delta Chi organization confirmed that its VCU chapter has been suspended.
Following Oakes’ death, students have called on VCU to expel Delta Chi from its campus permanently, citing not only this weekend’s incident, but also “a horrible reputation” of sexual misconduct.
In the last day, a GoFundMe to cover Oakes’ funeral costs has garnered almost $30,000 dollars. The organizers of the fundraiser remember Oakes as “the happiest, most joyful guy that everyone wanted to be around.”
In a tweet, VCU President Michael Rao offered his “heartfelt sympathies to Adam’s loved ones and closest friends.”
VCU encourages all students in need of mental health support to call University Counseling Services at 804-828-6200. Anyone with information regarding Oakes’s death should contact RPD at 804-646-3915, or VCU Police at 804-828-1196.