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19-Year-Old Adam Oakes Died Last Year After He Was Hazed At A Fraternity, And Now His Parents Are Advocating For A Law That Would Make Hazing A Felony

With undergraduate students across the country gearing up for back-to-school greek life rush events, parents Eric and Linda Oakes are still mourning the loss of their nineteen-year-old son, Adam.

In 2021, Adam was a freshman attending Virginia Commonwealth University when, during a traditional “big brother” pledging event, he was found dead on the Delta Chi fraternity house’s floor.

According to the Oakes, Adam had been invited to rush the fraternity, and, on the evening of February 27, he was “handed copious amounts of alcoholic drinks by Delta Chi brothers.”

Adam was reportedly forced to finish all of the beverages and passed out shortly afterward.

“They left him laying on the cold hard floor of the fraternity house to ‘sleep it off.’ But Adam would never wake up again and his first night as a Delta Chi pledge ended up being his last,” the Oakes said.

The following morning of February 28, Adam was tragically found still face-down on the floor with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.419– five times the legal limit. His cause of death was ruled ethanol toxicity, also known as alcohol poisoning, and the Commonwealth declared that Adam’s passing was a result of Delta Chi’s hazing.

A Growing Issue

Adam’s case is, unfortunately, far from an isolated incident. At least one hazing-related death has occurred on a U.S. college campus every single year since 1959 (except for 2020, when COVID-19 campus closures impeded greek life rush events).

GoFundMe; pictured above is Adam

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