Ian Price

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Eight Virginia Commonwealth University students have been charged with hazing in a fraternity pledge’s death from alcohol poisoning after a party earlier this year, officials said Friday.

The eight men arrested Friday range in age from 19 to 22, police said. All are charged with unlawful hazing of a student and four are also charged with buying and giving alcohol to a minor. Seven were held without bond at the Richmond Justice Center. The eighth was arrested in Prince William County and released on bond. Three others who were indicted are expected to surrender in the coming days, police said.

The university confirmed that all eight were students and all but one were enrolled this semester. The student code of conduct allows for sanctions up to and including expulsion, the university said in a statement, but it can’t share potential disciplinary information, if any, about specific students.

The indictments come nearly seven months after 19-year-old Adam Oakes of Loudoun County died. The office of the chief medical examiner ruled that his death was caused by alcohol poisoning.

Oakes had received a bid to the Delta Chi fraternity and attended a party where he would receive his “big brother” the night before his death. Oakes was told to drink a large bottle of whiskey and later passed out on a couch at an off-campus residence, his family said. He was found dead the next morning.

Richmond police, campus police and the university launched investigations. The chapter was suspended by the university and the fraternity’s national headquarters and in June VCU expelled the fraternity.

Last month, 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.

“VCU continues to mourn the tragic death of Adam Oakes and is grateful to the Richmond Police Department for its investigation,” the university said in a statement. “VCU is dedicated to continuing its efforts, announced this summer, to promote a safe and welcoming fraternity and sorority life culture for all.”

Oakes’ family expressed their gratitude in a statement, news outlets reported.

“We are grateful for some measure of justice these charges and arrests may produce, as well as the protection from hazing they may give young, impressionable college students,” the statement read. “The past seven months have been agonizing for our family. This is the first time these young men have been held accountable for their historically toxic and destructive traditions, manipulation of the VCU disciplinary systems, and for Adam’s death.”

The fraternity’s national office said in a statement that it was aware that former members of the indefinitely suspended chapter had been arrested.

“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 said. “No family should ever have to experience what the Oakes family has experienced.”

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Sam Hartman threw three touchdown passes and Wake Forest scored on its first seven possessions in a 37-17 victory against Virginia on Friday night.

The Demon Deacons (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their fifth in a row against the Cavaliers as Hartman connected on scoring throws of 39 yards to Taylor Morin and 12 yards each to Blake Whiteheart and A.T. Perry.

The Cavaliers (2-2, 0-2) nearly failed for the second week in a row to force a punt, following a 59-39 loss to No. 21 North Carolina in which they allowed 699 yards by allowing 473 to the Demon Deacons, many coming on big plays.

Wake Forest finally kicked the ball away with a 37-17 lead and 8:36 to go.

The Demon Deacons drove 75 yards in the opening 2:41 with Hartman finding Morin all by himself for a 39-yard touchdown.

Virginia drove to the Demon Deacons’ 4 yard-line with a first-and-goal, but Brennan Armstrong lost two yards, Mike Hollins gained a yard and Armstrong threw incomplete on third and fourth down.

The stop set a great tone early for the visitors, linebacker Luke Masterson said.

“I mean, it’s electric. I love this team. It’s really fun. The guys are awesome to play with and we just we have fun out there. And we got that stop, that was obviously a highlight of the game and it’s just a great feeling,” he said.

Justice Ellison later burst free for a 63-yard run to start a drive and finished it with a 1-yard dive to make it 17-3.

“It’d be hard to find fault right now with how we’re executing our offense,” Deacons coach Dave Clawson said. “We’re able to do what we need to do.”

Virginia trailed 20-3 at halftime and tried to make a game of it with a pair of third quarter touchdown drives, but Hartman and Wake Forest answered each with one of their own, sending fans streaming for the exits.

“I thought we executed really well in the second half. You know, they came back and scored and had a chance to get back into it. We responded,” Clawson said. “I thought we got good, good pressure on the quarterback. We needed that. We were a little bit bend but don’t break. We gave up some plays and some yards, but for the most part, we kept them out of the end zone and our offense was incredibly efficient.”

Armstrong, who threw for 554 yards last week, topped 400 yards for the third consecutive game. He hit on 33 of 59 passes for 407 yards and hit Jelani Woods on a 17-yard scoring throw and Dontayvion Wicks from 22 yards.

Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said he accepted the blame for the poor performance, saying he clearly hadn’t prepared his team well enough.

Still, he said: “The bottom line is Wake Forest won most of the one-on-ones from the beginning of the game to the end,” he said.


Nick Sciba booted three field goals for the Demon Deacons and has now made 64 of 71 attempts in his Wake Forest career. That’s better than 90% which is what NCAA career record holder Brett Baer of Louisiana Lafayette finished with for his career.


Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons pace of play is a bit faster than most, and Virginia struggled at times to keep up and line up. A rotation of three running backs in the first half also kept them fresh, and Hartman was well protected.

Virginia: The problems that surfaced in the loss to North Carolina remained: a slow start and the absence of a running game. They finished with 506 yards, including 99 rushing, but much of that came late or with Armstrong running away from constant pressure. He was sacked six time for minus 37 yards.


The Demon Deacons are back at home next Saturday to face Louisville.

The Cavaliers have another short week and play at Miami on Thursday night.


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