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VCU fraternity member convicted in 2021 hazing death to participate in restorative justice program

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Adam Oakes, 19, died last February in a hazing incident. (Photo courtesy of Oakes family)

A fraternity member who played a role in the hazing death of Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Adam Oakes is no longer sentenced to spend two years in jail.  

Instead of jail time, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin says Adam White’s sentence was suspended as part of an agreement with the state, and in consultation with the Oakes family. 

White, who was Adam Oakes’ “big brother” at the Delta Chi fraternity, pleaded guilty last year to one count of hazing and for giving alcohol to someone who was underage. Originally, he was sentenced to spend two years in the Richmond City Justice Center, but now will be on probation and participate in restorative justice programs.  

White will also work with the “Love Like Adam” foundation, which was created by the Oakes family and aims to educate students and the community about the dangers of hazing.  

McEachin says the Oakes’ family finds this resolution “permits some lasting good to come out of this senseless tragedy.”  

Oakes died in February 2021 from alcohol poisoning at an off-campus pledge event. Family members and friends told VPM News last year that Oakes loved sports and “always put family first.”  

Ten other fraternity members allegedly involved in Oakes’ death are still facing charges. The fraternity has since been suspended from VCU.  

The change in sentencing comes one day after the General Assembly passed “Adam’s Law,” which requires student groups at Virginia colleges and universities to take hazing prevention training.