RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Ten months after Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Adam Oakes died with a blood alcohol level over five times the legal limit, two men out of 11 accused in the alleged hazing incident appeared Tuesday morning in court.
Andrew White, Oakes’ “big brother” in the Delta Chi fraternity, pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of unlawful hazing of a student and buying alcohol for a minor.
WFXR’s sister station, WRIC, reported in September that prosecutors said that Andrew White, a former Delta Chi fraternity member, said unofficial pledges were expected to get “f****d up” the night Oakes was seeking membership in the now-expelled fraternity chapter.
“As much as we want to see this plea as a glimmer of hope in Adam’s case, it is only one of 11,” said Courtney White, Oakes’ cousin. “The pain and heartache has only just begun and there is such a long road ahead for our family. We hold tight to Adam’s memory and let that drive our actions toward change against hazing.”
“He was a genuinely nice person with an amazingly warm personality and heart,” she added. “Adam loved everyone he encountered, including Andrew [White], and unfortunately that opened him up to what occurred that night. Someone he saw as a new friend, mentor and companion disregarded the fact that Adam was a human being, that he was someone’s son, grandson, nephew and cousin.”
Oakes’ cousin said Andrew White had a strong misunderstanding of what it is to be a big brother.
“A big brother is someone who is supposed to look out for you, protect you and teach you what it means to be a brother in the fraternity,” she said. “To us, Andrew failed his first night on the job. His failure to fulfill his role cost Adam his life. Adam’s first night as a Delta Chi will always be his last.”
Andrew White’s sentencing is scheduled for March 1, 2022, at 9 a.m.
Editor’s note 12/21/21: We clarified a statement to reflect that the reporting took place in September 2021.