The expulsion of the Delta Chi fraternity at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) begs several questions:
- Are you in a fraternity?
- Do you have a child who is in a fraternity?
- Do you know what to do if your or your child's fraternity faces allegations of wrongdoing?
You may not have considered the drastic consequences of a general or personal allegation. Even if your child is not directly implicated in wrongdoing, they could be expelled and suffer immense reputational damage.
What Is the VCU Case About?
The VCU case centers on the tragic passing of Adam Oakes, a 19-year-old freshman who died in February 2021 of alcohol poisoning. Oakes was discovered in an off-campus house 12 hours after attending a Delta Chi event.
What Are the Allegations and Sanctions Against Delta Chi?
On June 3rd, VCU leadership announced that it would expel Delta Chi. The decision was based on allegations that fraternity members had:
- Demanded that Oakes drink alcohol on the night of his death
- Broken COVID-19 protocols on various occasions
- Broken school rules by permitting alcohol at fraternity events
- Engaged in hazing
Delta Chi had been previously suspended for various rules violations.
The Bigger Picture: What Happens When Fraternities Are Accused of Wrongdoing?
Cases involving allegations of wrongdoing by fraternity members may vary in:
- Their specific circumstances
- The way that a university adjudicates the case
- The discipline that the fraternity does or does not receive
- The way that disciplined parties appeal the decision
VCU's Delta Chi chapter is not the first frat to receive serious discipline for a serious injury, death, or general allegations of wrongdoing. Bowling Green State University expelled Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity after a pledge died of alcohol poisoning
Serious sanctions may occur even without documented injury. This is proven by:
- Pennsylvania State University's three-plus-year suspension of Alpha Delta Chapter of Kappa Sigma based on allegations of hazing, COVID-19 protocol violations, and other wrongdoing
- The University of Oklahoma's expulsion of two Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members after they were accused of racism
Any fraternity member implicated in wrongdoing should know their options.
Who Metes Out Discipline for a Fraternity Chapter or Individual Member?
Depending on the circumstances, the following parties may handle discipline for alleged wrongdoing by a fraternity:
- University faculty
- A student committee
- A national fraternity chapter
- A third-party law firm or investigative body that advises the university on appropriate discipline
Delta Chi’s national chapter outlines the procedure for expelling individual members. In the VCU case, “university leaders” handed down the expulsion ruling. The body that handles discipline may generally depend on the seriousness of allegations. It may also vary by university.
How Can You Defend Yourself or Your Child from Allegations of Wrongdoing?
Your child's future may be at risk if they:
- Are personally accused of wrongdoing
- Are affiliated with a fraternity that is accused of wrongdoing
- Are suspended or expelled from a university
An attorney-advisor can be of great value. They will advise you of your rights and defend your child. They will seek the best possible outcome in the face of difficult circumstances.
Nationwide Fraternity and Organization Misconduct Defense
Call attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for details about how our team can help. You can also contact us online here. We have unparalleled experience defending college students accused of wrongdoing across the United States. We will fight for your child's present and their future.