Update on VCU Fraternity and Sorority Life Independent Review

Dear VCU students, faculty and staff,

This is an update about the independent review of fraternity and sorority life following the death of freshman Adam Oakes on Feb. 27 at an off-campus residence. Richmond Police continue to investigate the cause of his death, with assistance from VCU Police.

VCU urges anyone who has information to speak up and contact Richmond or VCU Police.

The Division of Student Affairs has hired Dyad Strategies, a research and consulting firm specializing in cultural and risk assessment within fraternities and sororities, to conduct a full external review of the VCU fraternity and sorority community.

The external review at VCU will consist of two phases: a quantitative assessment of the fraternity/sorority community, followed by an in-depth qualitative examination of fraternity/sorority culture guided by the results of the quantitative assessment.

Throughout this process, we will provide updates on our Fraternity and Sorority Life Independent Review page.

The first portion of the review, the community cultural survey, will launch in late March. Dyad representatives will then visit VCU in late April to conduct interviews and focus groups. The final report, which will include benchmarked findings and a series of recommendations, will be submitted to VCU in June.

Cultural and risk assessment examines factors that influence member and organizational experiences including sense of belonging, quality of relationships, alcohol use, social status, hazing, openness to diversity, commitment, identification, sexual assault mindset, and motivation to join, among others.

The firm has completed fraternity/sorority community cultural assessments on nearly 100 campuses, is currently partnered with 15 national fraternities and sororities, and has conducted full-scale external reviews on nearly 20 college campuses over the past five years.

The company’s partners, Gentry McCreary, Ph.D., and Joshua Schutts, Ph.D., are widely regarded as leading experts on the culture of fraternities and sororities. Their research has been published in the Journal of Cognition and Culture; Oracle, the research journal of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors; The American Journal of Alcohol and Drug Abuse; and the Journal of College and Character.

This independent review is a crucial step to ensure fraternity and sorority life at VCU becomes a national model that promotes health and safety and creates a climate of respect and inclusion that is conducive to academic success.

Regards,

Charles Klink, Ph.D.
Senior Vice Provost
Division of Student Affairs