Freshman’s alleged hazing death prompts VCU move to permanently ban fraternity

Courtesy Courtney White

(RICHMOND, Va.) — A suspended fraternity at Virginia Commonwealth University could be banned for life if an investigation by the school determines the Greek organization was responsible for misconduct related to the death this year of a 19-year-old freshman, whose family alleges was the victim of an alcohol-fueled fatal hazing incident.

Officials at the university in Richmond announced this week that they have tentatively recommended the permanent removal of the Delta Chi chapter but will hold off on the ban until an investigation by the school’s Division of Student Affairs is complete.

The move to abolish the fraternity from VCU comes as the Richmond Police Department continues its investigation into the death of freshman Adam Oakes in February at an off-campus party involving Delta Chi pledges.

The Division of Student Affairs initiated disciplinary proceedings against the Delta Chi fraternity on Monday, according a statement from the school.

The university said it will move forward with plans to issue a lifetime ban on Delta Chi if the allegations are found to be responsible for Oakes’ death.

Once complete, the Division of Student Affairs report will be reviewed by VCU’s Student Organization Conduct Committee, which will decide the fraternity’s fate. VCU officials said they expect the school’s investigation to be completed sometime this summer.

Oakes’ family welcomed the university’s probe.

“I’d love to say that after Adam’s death we can change the world and we can change the culture. But I have to think realistically, you know. This happens in so many other states,” Oakes’ cousin, Courtney White, told ABC affiliate station WRIC-TV in Richmond.

White and other family member allege that hazing involving alcohol played a significant role in Oakes’ death after he received a bid to rush the fraternity.

Oakes was found unresponsive on Feb. 27 at an off-campus residence near the university, according to the Richmond Police Department. Police have released few details on the investigation and results of an autopsy on Oakes have not been released.

VCU and the Delta Chi national chapter both suspended the VCU Delta Chi chapter in the wake of Oakes’ death.

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