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Hazing incidents continue to devastate the lives of American college students and their families, and the issue comes to the fore again after an incident on one Missouri campus rendered Danny Santulli unable to walk, talk or see. In Michigan, the horrific death of Phat Nguyen – for which three former Michigan State University fraternity brothers were just criminally charged – brings attention to hazing yet again.
But these aren’t the only victims of what has been a widespread issue across several American campuses, and the father of late Virginia Commonwealth University student, Adam Oakes – who died during a hazing incident last year – is determined to raise awareness, so other students save themselves from danger.
Eric Oakes, founder of the “Love Like Adam Foundation” joined “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Sunday, with Adam’s cousin, Courtney White, where he relayed the devastation of losing his only child.
“To have something like this happen is unbelievable. It’s a warning to all parents and grandparents and students that this is going on,” he told host Rachel Campos-Duffy.
“Never in a million years did we think we would be in this situation,” he added.
Late VCU student Adam Oaks and the campus fraternity where Oakes died from a hazing incident at a party. (Handout/Google Maps)
Oakes went on to discuss what he is thinks could change the trajectory of students’ lives and stifle the alarming rate of hazing incidents at American universities.
“We need to start reaching out to [students] in middle school and then carry on the messaging into high school and then into college,” he said. “Hopefully, with the awareness that it will bring, they’ll have skills with them, and they’ll be able to see how to get somebody help if they see somebody in jeopardy…”
White followed Oakes’ discussion, sharing the effort they put together to raise awareness.
“We put a team of educators together to create a curriculum that’s for middle school, high school and colleges… one of the targets is that bystander intervention,” she said.
White said she believes that, if someone had intervened on Adam’s behalf, he would still be living today.
White also reflected on Adam’s impact and the energy he brought to others, describing him as someone who “lit up the room” and sharing how he was never afraid to show his love for others.
Taylor Penley is a production assistant with Fox News.