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VCU President outlines Greek Life investigation after student's death

Posted at 12:56 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 18:22:47-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- VCU President Michael Rao said he was sickened by the death of VCU freshman Adam Oakes.

Oakes, 19, died February 27 following a Delta Chi fraternity event.

Oakes' family said Adam was given a dangerous amount of alcohol and blind-folded. He later hit his head on a tree, they said.

VCU and Richmond Police are investigating Oakes’ death, but officials have not confirmed specific details of how he died.

The fraternity was suspended and Rao has since ordered a review into Greek Life at VCU.

In a blog post Tuesday, Rao said he has charged the Division of Student Affairs to examine:

  • Governance, relationship with university administration and university oversight, including the role of advisors and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life
  • Accountability of members and chapters including incident reporting processes and transparency around outcomes
  • Issues related to hazing, alcohol and drug abuse, and sexual violence
  • Policies and practices related to recruitment and education of new members
  • Member experience such as social, educational, philanthropic activities, and academic success; connections and commitment to VCU and the Richmond community; and general practices related to inclusion, safety, and well-being
  • Alumni involvement

"The goal is for something like this to never happen again and to build a national model that promotes health and safety and creates a climate of respect and inclusion that is conducive to academic success," Rao wrote in his post. "Adam and his family deserve answers and there will be accountability."

CBS 6 investigative reporter Laura French reached out to VCU to ask when the university expected to complete the review and offer recommendations.

"There is no timetable for the review," a university spokesperson replied via email.