Former VCU Frat Member Pleads Guilty to Hazing in Pledge Adam Oakes' Alcohol-Related Death

Andrew White, a 23-year-old former Virginia Commonwealth University student and former member of the Delta Chi fraternity, pleaded guilty Tuesday in the case of the hazing alcohol related death of Adam Oakes in February.

White pleaded guilty to charges of hazing and serving alcohol to a minor in the Richmond Circuit Court, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Each charge is punishable by a $2,500 fine and up to a year in prison, and White was not sentenced on Tuesday.

Oakes was a pledge to the Delta Chi fraternity and attended a party where White was named his "big brother" in the fraternity. He was allegedly given a bottle of whiskey and told to drink the entire thing, after which he was found dead the next day.

The medical examiner's office ruled in May that Oakes died of alcohol poisoning, and the death was ruled an accident.

The fraternity was suspended the next day, and expelled weeks later after an investigation found that it violated the university's alcohol and hazing policies.

"This permanent removal as a recognized student organization is another important step in holding fraternities and sororities at VCU accountable for organizational misconduct," the university said in a statement at the time.

In 2018, the fraternity was suspended for four years for similar violations, which was later reduced to one year.

White is one of 11 former members of the fraternity charged in the death, with all 11 charged with unlawful hazing of a student and four, including White, were charged with buying and giving alcohol to a minor. So far, White is the only one to plead guilty.

There have been several serious incidents involving hazing on college campuses recently. At the University of Mississippi, seven members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity were arrested for cyberstalking a former member who accused the group of hazing. An arraignment for them is scheduled to be held on February 28, 2022.

Hazing, Alcohol Poisoning, Virginia Commonwealth University
A former VCU student has pleaded guilty in the hazing, alcohol poisoning death of 19-year-old Adam Oakes that happened at the university in February. Above, Reverend F. Todd Gray, first lady Jill Biden and Massey's Associate Director for Disparities Research Vanessa Sheppard participate in a panel discussion at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, on February 24. Ryan M. Kelly/AFP via Getty Images

Oakes' parents, Eric and Linda, and cousin attended the plea hearing.

Richmond police, campus police and the university launched investigations in the aftermath of Oakes' death.

In September, the university announced that it would ban alcohol at fraternity and sorority events, publish misconduct instances online and pause new member recruitment. On the same day, two investigations of university Greek life on campus were released, finding that there are concerns about hazing and binge drinking at the university and staff has struggled to address them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.