VCU expels fraternity chapter after student death
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Commonwealth University announced the expulsion of a fraternity from campus Thursday following a pledge’s death from alcohol poisoning after a fraternity party.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the university’s student organization conduct committee found Delta Chi responsible for violating policies on hazing and alcohol. The fraternity can no longer operate as a student organization at VCU. The expulsion took effect May 28.
VCU had prohibited alcohol at fraternity and sorority events during the pandemic. Delta Chi was also accused of breaking rules on chapter events, COVID protocols, recruitment activities and hazing.
“This permanent removal as a recognized student organization is another important step in holding fraternities and sororities at VCU accountable for organizational misconduct,” the university said in a statement.
The decision comes three months after 19-year-old Adam Oakes of Loudoun County died. The office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled that his death was caused by alcohol poisoning.
Oakes had received a bid to the Delta Chi fraternity and attended a party where he would receive his “big brother” the night before his death. Oakes was told to drink a large bottle of whiskey and later passed out on a couch at an off-campus residence, his family said. He was found dead the next morning.
The university and the fraternity’s headquarters suspended the chapter immediately.
The university has hired a consulting firm specializing in fraternity and sorority culture to investigate Greek life at the school. A report is expected this summer.
Richmond police are also still investigating the death.
Delta Chi headquarters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The university issued a four-year ban on the chapter in 2018 after repeated violations, including providing underage students with alcohol, but later lowered the suspension to one year, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has reported.