8 Va. college students charged in hazing death
UPDATED 1:00 PM PT – Saturday, September 25, 2021
Eight college students are charged in the alcohol related death of a Virginia fraternity pledge. Authorities announced criminal hazing charges against eight Virginia Commonwealth University students on Friday in connection to the death of 19-year-old freshman Adam Oakes in February.
Charges surfaced after the 19-year-old fraternity pledge was reportedly forced to drink a bottle of whiskey during a frat event, causing him to pass out on a couch where he was found dead the next day. Officials said a coroner confirmed the teen had died from alcohol poisoning the next day.
The men, aged 19 to 22-years-old, were arrested Wednesday and face criminal hazing charges among other counts. Oakes’ family released a statement upon the arrests.
“We are grateful for some measure of justice these charges and arrests may produce, as well as the protection from hazing they may give young, impressionable college students,” read the statement. “The past seven months have been agonizing for our family. This is the first time these young men have been held accountable for their historically toxic and destructive traditions, manipulation of the VCU disciplinary systems, and for Adam’s death.”
All students belonged to the Delta Chi chapter. Delta Chi’s national chapter has since suspended the VCU affiliate earlier this year and has condemned hazing among its members.
VCU has halted all new recruitment and has banned the consumption of alcohol at Greek life events. “VCU continues to mourn the tragic death of Adam Oakes and is grateful to the Richmond Police Department for its investigation,” the university said in a statement.