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Alpha Phi Alpha faces up to 20 years after conviction for initiation-related crime

Man guilty in SMU hazing

Dallas: Frat pledge was forced to drink water until he nearly died

12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, June 24, 2006

By ROBERT THARP / The Dallas Morning News A 26-year-old Dallas man who pressured an SMU fraternity pledge to drink so much water during an off-campus initiation ritual that he nearly died was convicted of aggravated assault Friday.

Raymond Lee put a handkerchief to his shaved head and cried after the guilty verdict was announced. Jurors in his trial will return Monday to consider Mr. Lee’s punishment, which ranges from probation to 20 years in prison.

Attorneys for Mr. Lee argued that he was not guilty because he did not realize that consuming so much water is potentially dangerous. Attorney Ray Jackson told jurors that Braylon Curry voluntarily submitted to the “water night” initiation ritual, a longtime tradition of predominantly black fraternities that Mr. Jackson said prosecutors could not understand.

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“There’s been 20 years of water night,” he said.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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