Katharine DeRosa, News Editor
Eight people were arrested on Friday in connection to the death of VCU freshman Adam Oakes, as a result of a seven month-long investigation led by the Richmond Police Department, according to RPD spokesperson Tracy Walker.
Out of the eight people, seven were taken into custody by VCU Police and one by Virginia State Police. Three more indicted individuals are expected to “turn themselves in within the coming days.”
“Seven remain in custody at the Richmond Justice Center, being held without bond,” Walker stated in a release. “Enayat W. Sheikhzad was arrested by Virginia State Police in Prince William County and was released on bond.
Benjamin Corado, Quinn Kuby, Riley McDaniel, Alessandro Medina-Villanueva, Jason Mulgrew, Christian Rohrbach, Colin Tran and Enayat Sheikhzad have been charged with “unlawful hazing of a student.” Corado, Kuby and Tran were additionally charged with “purchase, giving alcohol to a minor.”
Oakes was pronounced dead by Richmond Police on Feb. 27 after he was found dead at a West Clay Street residence the morning after attending an event from Delta Chi, the fraternity Oakes pledged to. Oakes’ family says a hazing event led to his death.
VCU’s chapter of Delta Chi was suspended the morning after his death and officially expelled from campus on June 3, according to a university statement.
The cause of death was ruled accidental due to ethanol toxicity, which is a type of alcohol poisoning, according to a May 25 report from the Richmond Medical Examiner.
The seven month-long investigation was conducted by the RPD in collaboration with VCU Police and the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, according to Walker.
Hazing is considered a class one misdemeanor in Virginia, which is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine or both.
The international headquarters of Delta Chi released a statement condemning the actions of the former members of the VCU chapter following the arrests that were made on Friday.
“The alleged actions of these individuals are an affront to the values of Delta Chi. Our policies are clear as it relates to the expected conduct of members including that no member shall engage in or condone acts of hazing,” the fraternity stated. “Any individual found responsible should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The university hired consulting agency Dyad Strategies to conduct an independent review of Greek life on March 22, according to a university statement. The external review, complete with recommendations, was released on Aug. 2 and the university’s internal review was released on Aug. 5. The internal review states which recommendations will be put in place, and which have to be reviewed further.
The university placed fraternity and sorority recruitment on hold on Sept. 3, according to an announcement made by Dean of Students Reuban Rodriguez. The announcement came a week after many Greek life organizations were present at the school-wide student organization fair on Aug. 27.
“Although fraternities and sororities are not allowed to recruit and intake new members, they are still allowed to represent and conduct normal operations as student organizations at the university,” stated Matt Lovisa, Director of Communications for Student Affairs, in a Sept. 7 email.
According to Lovisa, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life may allow recruitment to resume “at some point” this semester.
“No family should ever have to experience what the Oakes family has experienced,” Delta Chi stated in the release. “Delta Chi remains committed to continued cooperation with all law enforcement agencies and efforts.”