VCU shares findings of fraternity, sorority reviews
To the VCU community,
This message shares the results of two important, extensive reviews of the VCU fraternity and sorority community. These reviews were initiated following the death of VCU freshman Adam Oakes at an off-campus residence in February.
It is important to note that these reviews were not meant to investigate Adam’s death. The Richmond Police Department is leading that ongoing investigation.
In March, VCU hired Dyad Strategies, a research and consulting firm specializing in cultural and risk assessment within fraternities and sororities, to conduct a comprehensive, independent review of fraternity and sorority life.
Issued August 2, the Dyad report, which can be found here, contains 14 recommendations across five themes:
- Health and safety
- Policy and procedure development/update
- Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life
- Fraternity and sorority recruitment
- Social culture/housing
In April, VCU also launched a concurrent, internal review of fraternity and sorority life, which examined operations, policies and procedures in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. The internal review, found here, considered the Dyad recommendations and the university’s response; it also includes additional recommendations, which have been referred to workgroups for further study.
Issued August 5, the internal report makes multiple recommendations, including:
- Prohibit alcohol at all fraternity and sorority events, which has been referred to a health and safety workgroup for additional consideration
- Evaluate fraternity and sorority membership for first year students, which has been referred to the recruitment, intake and member education workgroup for evaluation
About the reviews, VCU President Michael Rao said: “These reviews make important recommendations about how VCU can improve safety, oversight and accountability of our fraternity and sorority organizations. It’s clear that change will be beneficial, and we are committed to making that change happen. The Board of Visitors and I will ensure that we receive updates about the recommendations and implementation no later than December 1. This work builds on important actions the university took following Adam’s tragic death. VCU is committed to working with our fraternity and sorority students, alumni and national organizations to build a healthy and prosperous culture for our fraternity and sorority organizations.”
Previously, VCU announced that alcohol will be prohibited for the 2021-22 school year at all activities, events and gatherings of recognized student organizations with undergraduate student membership, regardless of how the event is funded.
We have also paused all new fraternity and sorority member activities, including recruitment and intake, until further notice as we work to strengthen our structure and processes and bring on new personnel.
The Delta Chi fraternity was not specifically part of these reviews, which examined fraternity and sorority life in totality. As of May 28, the Delta Chi fraternity permanently lost university recognition, meaning it is no longer authorized to operate as a student organization at VCU.
We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of our 1,200 fraternity and sorority members and we want to create a structure that supports the positive attributes of fraternities and sororities including leadership development and the service that members perform to the community and to VCU.
We will continue to update our community as this work moves forward.
Charles Klink, Ph.D.
Senior Vice Provost
Division of Student Affairs