A Virginia college fraternity has been suspended after a student pledging the organization was found dead at an off-campus house, according to reports.
Virginia Commonwealth University said Sunday that it had ordered the Delta Chi fraternity to cease activities following the death of 19-year-old freshman Adam Oakes.
Oakes, who had recently received a bid to join the fraternity, had been drinking at a party Friday night in which they match new members with a “big brother,” news station WRC-TV reported.
But after a night of partying where at one point he was blindfolded, Oakes was found unresponsive at home in Richmond, news station WTVR reported.
“I don’t think he could handle it,” Oakes’ cousin, Courtney White, told the outlet.
“He ended up falling into a tree, hitting his head on a tree. We don’t know if he passed out or was unconscious.”
Police said they pronounced him dead at the scene and ordered an autopsy to determine his cause of death.
“This is a tragic loss for Adam’s family and members of our community,” school officials said in a statement.
“The Delta Chi fraternity’s national chapter issued a cease-and-desist order to the VCU chapter on Saturday; the university took a similar action today and continues its investigation,” the statement continued.
The Delta Chi national headquarters did not confirm whether Oakes was a member, but said in a statement that they were “devastated to learn of the death of a student at the Virginia Commonwealth University.”
“The health and safety of our chapter communities is a top priority for The Delta Chi Fraternity, which suspended the chapter after learning of the incident late Saturday afternoon,” the statement said. “We encourage all members to cooperate with law enforcement investigative efforts and all directives of University Administration.”