Prairie A&M U: Parents say hazing killed their son


By DAN MCCUE
Courthouse News
DALLAS – A fraternity killed a freshman pledge by forcing him onto a bread and water diet while inflicting extreme exercise regimes on him in a hazing ritual, his parents claim in Dallas County Court. The Rev. Donnie and Katrina Wade seek punitive damages from Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and Prairie A&M University.

Donnie Wade II entered Prairie A&M University this fall as a biology major and intended to become a doctor, his parents say. He decided to pledge to Phi Beta Sigma on the campus about 25 miles northwest of Houston. After meeting with defendant Marvin Jackson, a “frat brother,” Wade had to pay a $900 initiation fee, his parents say.

Wade and his fellow pledges then were forced onto a bread and water diet and had to do menial tasks for fraternity brothers, who repeatedly beat them with paddles “as a bonding mechanism” to make pledges “closer as a group of brothers,” the complaint states.

In October, the initiation entered a new phase and the pledges had to participate in mandatory exercise sessions behind the ROTC building at a local high school. At no time did anyone in the fraternity ask about the health of the young men, nor was a physical requested or required, the Wades say.

Dressed in boots, sweats and additional layers of clothing, the pledges were awakened before dawn and had to do running exercises on a track, run up and down bleachers, and other exercises. Witnesses said Wade repeatedly fell behind during the first of these events, called an Indian Run.

In an “Indian Run,” the person at the back of a line sprints to the front, as the group continues running. Wade had to be helped across the finish line after this, the Wades say. Throughout the exercises that followed, they say, their son continued to show signs of fatigue until he collapsed.

When he came to, Wade said that he was hurting; he stood, but collapsed again. Jackson and other fraternity brothers told the other pledges, “Donnie is all right, he’s just tired,” according to the complaint. Full story.

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