The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Lee receives probation in Alpha case

Reaction is mixed after the trial of the first of eight men charged in a SMU fraternity-hazing incident that nearly cost a pledge his life.

Raymond Lee was sentenced to 10 years probation, a $10,000 and 180 days in jail after being found guilty of aggravated assault for forcing Braylon Curry to drink gallons of water in an Alpha Phi Alpha initiation rite known as “water night.” The ritual led to Curry collapsing and having seizures, and nearly drowning in his vomit. Curry spent 10 days in the hospital.

Ryan Williams, coordinator of student activities and Greek affairs, is not satisfied with the punishment, and said Lee’s punishment does not fit the crime.

“In my professional opinion, for fraternities and sororities, it may not be severe enough,” Williams said. “Fraternities and sororities are organizations that are based on values and for hazing to be involved at all with any fraternity or sorority isn’t acceptable. Hazing doesn’t have a place in education, it doesn’t have a place anywhere.”

Williams said he did not think the result of Lee’s trial will send a strong enough message to SMU students and expressed concern for the entire Greek community.

“There has been an increased awareness of our education on hazing, [but] if we can’t manage the two biggest threats to Greek life, alcohol and hazing, fraternities and sororities won’t be here in 10 to 15 years,” he said.

Assistant Dean of Student Life/Director of Student Activities and Multicultural Student Affairs Jennifer Jones was more optimistic about the case.

“I think a message has been sent, Jones said. “I don’t think students realize it can go this far.”

“This doesn’t take away from what happened to Braylon, but it offers some closure,” said Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life Dr. Dee Siscoe.

Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Jim Caswell said he hopes students realize that hazing is illegal and going to court is a huge monetary expense, among other things. Caswell added this incident is “a very good lesson in what not to do.”

Lee’s attorney, Kobby Warren said all things considered, they were content with the result of the trial.

“We didn’t believe the evidence supported a guilty verdict, but once they reached the verdict, we were pleased that we were able to keep him [Lee] out of TDC [Texas Department of Corrections].

Lee’s 180-day sentence has already begun, and is a result of this conviction violating a previous probation term he was serving.

Warren added he felt Lee should not have been charged with aggravated assault, and said he thought he should have been tried under the state’s hazing laws.

“This was not meant to be malicious. This was a tradition-it goes to the reasoning behind it,” Warren said. “It wasn’t like he said ‘let’s do this and see what happens.'”

Prosecutor Josh Healy said the reasons Lee was not charged under the hazing laws involved the severity of Curry’s injuries and the age of the people involved.

“We think it went much further than that [hazing],” Healy said.

Healy added he was pleased with the outcome and added Lee’s sentence was not as light as it may seem. He said Lee will be required to check in with a probation officer on a weekly basis, keep a job, submit to random drug testing as well as attend anger management classes.

There are seven additional members of Alpha Phi Alpha who have been charged in connection to this incident. Healy said he will be meeting with the lawyers for these men to discuss the potential for plea bargains.

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