Aug. 9, 2021
Virginia Commonwealth University on Monday shared the findings of two extensive reviews of the fraternity and sorority community. These reviews were initiated following the death of VCU freshman Adam Oakes at an off-campus residence in February. The Richmond Police Department is conducting an ongoing investigation into his death.
“These reviews make important recommendations about how VCU can improve safety, oversight and accountability of our fraternity and sorority organizations. It’s clear that change will be beneficial, and we are committed to making that change happen. The Board of Visitors and I will ensure that we receive updates about the recommendations and implementation no later than December 1,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “This work builds on important actions the university took following Adam’s tragic death. VCU is committed to working with our fraternity and sorority students, alumni and national organizations to build a healthy and prosperous culture for our fraternity and sorority organizations.”
In March, VCU hired Dyad Strategies, a research and consulting firm specializing in cultural and risk assessment within fraternities and sororities, to conduct a comprehensive, independent review of fraternity and sorority life.
The Dyad report, which was issued Aug. 2, includes 14 recommendations across five themes:
- Health and safety
- Policy and procedure development/update
- Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life
- Fraternity and sorority recruitment
- Social culture/housing
In April, VCU also launched a concurrent internal review of fraternity and sorority life, which examined operations, policies and procedures in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. The internal review considered the Dyad recommendations and the university’s response; it also includes additional recommendations, which have been referred to work groups for further study.
Issued Aug. 5, the internal report makes multiple recommendations, including:
- Prohibit alcohol at all fraternity and sorority events, which has been referred to a health and safety work group for additional consideration.
- Evaluate fraternity and sorority membership for first-year students, which has been referred to the recruitment, intake and member education work group for evaluation.
VCU previously announced a ban on alcohol at all events sponsored by recognized student organizations with undergraduate student membership for this upcoming academic year and paused all fraternity and sorority new-member activities, including recruitment and intake, until further notice.
The Delta Chi fraternity was not specifically part of these reviews, which examined fraternity and sorority life in totality. As of May 28, the Delta Chi fraternity permanently lost university recognition, meaning it is no longer authorized to operate as a student organization at VCU.
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