VCU reaches settlement with family of hazing victim

VCU reaches settlement with family of hazing victim

 RICHMOND, Va. - As part of a recent settlement agreement, Virginia Commonwealth University will pay about $1 million to the family of a young man who passed away following a fraternity hazing incident in 2021.

The Richmond University must make more adjustments to its fraternity and sorority life as part of the deal with Adam Oakes' family. According to a press statement from VCU, the Fairfax County Circuit Court approved the arrangement on Friday.

A joint statement from the family and the university stated, "This is a plan to establish a safer and healthier environment for students who are involved in fraternities and sororities and to create a climate of respect and inclusiveness that is needed for academic success."

According to a police investigation, Oakes, a 19-year-old with a Delta Chi fraternity bid, was instructed to consume a huge bottle of whiskey in February 2021. The following morning, the Loudoun County freshman's body was discovered. Alcohol poisoning was determined to be the cause of Oakes' death by the chief medical examiner's office. Delta Chi was expelled by VCU in June 2021.

Adam was adored by his parents, grandparents, nephews, cousins, teachers, and friends. He had a bright future ahead of him, and his senseless passing caused unfathomable suffering and grief for everyone he knew, according to the statement released on Friday.

In addition to the $995,000 cash settlement, the deal stipulates that before joining a fraternity or sorority, VCU students must finish 12 credit hours and meet other qualifying standards. Additionally, it will impose stricter guidelines on the serving and consumption of alcohol at events hosted by student organizations as well as ban alcohol from any fraternity or sorority activity attended by new members.

In addition to establishing February 27 as an annual hazing prevention day and day of mourning for Oakes, VCU will begin the process of building a physical memorial to Oakes on campus. A reporting obligation for details regarding student organizations determined to have broken the code of conduct is also included in the settlement.

Each of its final seven years on college, Delta Chi was subject to disciplinary action, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

According to the newspaper, several former fraternity members have admitted guilt to misdemeanor hazing or misdemeanor supplying alcohol to a minor or have been adjudged guilty in connection with the case. No one has been imprisoned.

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