Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond suspended a local fraternity Sunday after a 19-year-old freshman was found dead following a fraternity rush event involving alcohol.
The death of Adam Oakes at a Delta Chi party prompted the school and the fraternity’s headquarters to suspend its Richmond chapter.
“We are heartbroken at the tragic loss of one of our own,” VCU President Michael Rao wrote.
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
Police investigation revealed Oakes visited a house in the 100 block of West Clay Street on Friday night. During one of the fraternity’s rush events, he was blindfolded and forced to drink alcohol, causing him to run into a tree that left him injured.
Onlookers helped Oakes into the house and put him down on the couch, where he was found lying face down Saturday morning. Police arrived and pronounced him dead at the scene.
‘He Is All We Had’
Oakes’ father, Adam Oakes, told WRIC that the family is in a state of shock. “He is all we had. He is everything we had in our life. We had one child, he’s a lovely kid. He just totally enjoyed life,” Oakes’ father said.
A GoFundMe was created to support the Oakes family that has raised over $36,000 so far.
In an effort to take a stand against hazing in academic institutions, VCU students are now rallying for permanent expulsion of the fraternity through an online petition that has garnered over 9,000 signatures.