Sept. 16, 2022
Oakes family, VCU agree to create ‘national model’ for fraternity and sorority life
Agreement creates a blueprint to foster a safer and healthier community for students who are part of fraternities and sororities and to create a climate of respect and inclusion that is needed for academic success.
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The Adam Oakes family and Virginia Commonwealth University have reached an agreement identifying changes to fraternity and sorority life that they hope will become a “national model” for universities and colleges across the country.
Approved today by the Fairfax County Circuit Court, the agreement also provides for the family to receive a monetary settlement of $995,000 from VCU and the commonwealth of Virginia.
A joint statement from the Oakes family and VCU follows:
“Adam was a beloved son, grandson, nephew, cousin, student and friend. He had a tremendous future ahead of him and his senseless death brought unspeakable pain and tragedy to all who knew him.
Adam is missed every day. His family and friends, in partnership with VCU, are dedicated to making a difference for others in his memory.
This is a blueprint to foster a safer and healthier community for students who are part of fraternities and sororities and to create a climate of respect and inclusion that is needed for academic success.
By working to honor Adam’s life and legacy, we are dedicated to creating a national model for universities and colleges across the country. Some of these changes are already complete or underway.
Adam died on Feb. 27, 2021, and nothing can take away the pain of losing someone so loved. Our agreement honors his memory, and our goal is that it will help save lives in the future.”
Important elements of this agreement include:
- Requiring students to have successfully completed 12 credit hours at VCU and to meet all other eligibility requirements before joining a fraternity or sorority; changing the length of new member education to 28 days; and prohibiting alcohol at any activity of any fraternity or sorority that is attended by new members.
- Designating Feb. 27 as an annual hazing prevention day and a day of remembrance of Adam Oakes and the causes and circumstances of his tragic death.
- Requiring that any alcohol served or consumed at an event sponsored, endorsed or organized by a student organization shall be provided by a licensed third-party vendor following advance notification with VCU.
- Including a link to the Love Like Adam Foundation website on VCU’s Fraternity and Sorority Life page and creating a webpage, linked through the Fraternity and Sorority Life page, that celebrates the life of Adam Oakes and includes the circumstances of his death.
- Incorporating bystander intervention instruction in the hazing prevention training required by Va. Code §23.1-820 (Adam’s Law) that focuses on assisting individuals who are being subjected to hazing, intoxicated, at risk of sexual violence, bodily injury or otherwise in need of help.
- Posting on the VCU website a report that provides summary information for all matters in which a student organization was found responsible for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. This report will include details that inform students and parents of the nature of the incident, including whether any individuals were injured.
- Following university process to create a physical memorial to Adam on campus.
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