VCU students react to ban on fraternity at center of 19-year-old pledge’s death

Posted at 1:09 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 13:09:40-04

RICHMOND, Va. - A committee at Virginia Commonwealth University that oversees student organizations says the permanent ban of an on-campus fraternitywas based on multiple reports and allegations.

They determined the Delta Chi chapter was responsible for violating university hazing and alcohol policies. The action comes three months after the February death of 19-year-old Adam Oakes, a pledging freshman.

The medical examiner ruled his death was the result of alcohol poisoning."Something definitely warranted, it's happened before just hope it actually is permanent."

VCU students reacted to the news Thursday that Delta Chi would be held accountable.

"It’s something that the university will look beyond the fraternity by also investigating other organizations that have hazing problems in the community,” said recent VCU graduate Anna Marie Rodriguez says Oakes' death definitely highlighted the university’s need for a thorough investigation into Greek life.

A former sorority member herself, Rodriguez says she left for personal reasons.

"How many more incidents, deaths and crimes have to happen before it actually gets addressed systematically within the university," she said. Oakes' family hoping this is just the first step.

The statement to CBS-6 reads in part: "It's a step in the right direction for Greek life reform and transformation of its culture at VCU. Eliminating the "bad seeds" or organizations who go rogue , put the lives of others in jeopardy and selfishly only think of themselves should not be representative of the university or of all Greek life. However, these actions do not bring Adam back!"

Other students like Elizabeth Pottanat agree with that statement and she says she hopes VCU stays true to their word of a permanent ban.

"Rules are rules, but people will always try and find a way,” said Pottanat. “I don't think much can be done. You can try and make more rules, but humans are humans. They're gonna try and do what they want."

No arrests have been made in Oakes' death but Richmond Police say their investigation is ongoing as VCU leadership pledges to identify additional opportunities to strengthen policies and procedures for fraternity and sorority life.