RICHMOND, Va. -- The VCU community is gathering virtually Wednesday evening to honor the life of Adam Oakes, a freshman who was found dead Saturday morning in an off-campus residence.
Family members said they were told that Oakes was given a dangerous amount of alcohol at a fraternity event Friday night and, at some point, was blind-folded and hit his head on a tree.
Oakes’ family said fraternity members failed to check on him after he passed out. The 19-year-old was found dead Saturday morning.
Following his death, an investigation began and the Delta Chi fraternity was dealt a cease-and-desist order by the national chapter and the university.
"Part of the police investigation will determine whether Adam’s death was related to a Delta Chi activity," Dr. Charles Klink, senior vice provost for student affairs, said in a message to VCU students, faculty and staff on Tuesday.
Now, the university says its launching an independent review of Greek life.
Wednesday afternoon, student organizers of the virtual vigil did their part to honor Oakes, handing out candles for those who want to participate online to celebrate Oakes’ life.
“I think it’s great if we can all just come together as a university and remember him, not only for his honor but for his parents and everything, and we should remember that something like this should never happen again,” said one organizer.
The virtual memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. via Zoom.
Memorial at Monroe Park for @VCU freshman Adam Oakes. There will be a virtual vigil tonight starting at 6pm:https://t.co/Eq30mTjY3Z— Jake Burns (@JakeBurnsCBS6) March 3, 2021
Student organizes are here handling out candles for those who want to participate online to celebrate Oakes’ life. @CBS6 #RVA pic.twitter.com/svUhH0J0KW
The VCU students organizers say the vigil has gotten the attention of thousands.
They say its a small sign of humanity within a horrible tragedy.
“It feels so good to know that people are still honoring other people’s lives and the humanity is still there,” said an organizer.
“Maybe we didn’t necessarily really know him personally, but this is something we can do and we hope it reaches out to a bunch of people and that he’ll never be forgotten,” said another organizer.
A GoFundMe page has raised close to $40,000 that the Oakes family plans to use to start a scholarship fund in Adam's name.