BBC This World - Frat Boys: Inside America's Fraternities (2016) Movie Script

This programme contains
very strong language
and scenes which some viewers
may find disturbing.
America's frat boys.
Notorious for hard drinking...
..and even harder partying.
Bound by a secret
world of rituals...
He chose me. Bond has been made.
..and lifelong bonds
between fraternity brothers.
I can smell the other side,
put it that way, and I want it.
I'm doing it,
there's nothing stopping me.
Its members go on to become some of
the most powerful
and influential people in America.
Do I think he's putting in
the effort that we all have put in
to become a brother? No, I do not.
But they are also institutions
accused of creating
a culture of sexual abuse...
Woke up in this bed, like,
with no clothes on and I had no idea
where I was and I was so scared.
..and brutality towards
its new members.
I just remember that
I was lying there on that floor
and I didn't think
I was going to make it.
I'm not a man at all,
brothers, I'm a weak boy.
Here we have Kappa Sigma.
They are one of the fraternities
on campus right now.
Across America, thousands of college
students pledge allegiance
to a fraternity or
sorority each year.
Most are named after ancient
Greek letters.
It's a tradition stretching back
250 years.
In the back you have
Kappa Alpha Theta.
It's down there,
you can barely see it.
It's pretty nice. And then you have
Sigma Chi on the left.
Fraternities are elite
clubs that provide
accommodation for their members.
There's over 120 different
national organisations.
This is the AZD house,
Alpha Xi Delta.
Ben is in his third year at
the University of Central Florida.
A fraternity is a brotherhood.
It's an organisation of like-minded
people who are just
kind of together to meet
a common goal.
A sorority is the same thing
but with women.
You have an opportunity
to meet so much more people,
to become something greater
than yourself.
generally kind of the most
successful people on campus?
I don't want to stereotype,
but, yeah, we are.
We're way more successful.
Fraternities supply $3 billion worth
of housing
across university campuses,
and to live in a fraternity house
can cost students up to
$2,500 per term.
It's an investment in yourself,
to get an experience
you really can't get anywhere else
in the world.
This is the Gazoni Family
house on the right.
Ben is a brother in
the Gazoni Family, an independent
fraternity that has broken away
from one of the national groups.
This is Fish Bowl.
This is called Fish Bowl because
they built a fishbowl into the bar,
which is pretty cool.
Big Momma's house! This is Brandon.
The fraternity is currently home
to 78 active members.
When I grow up
I want to own a business.
I want to be a dentist and become
as successful as possible.
I want to be an engineer.
I want to become a sports agent
and represent all the top athletes
in the sports world.
But that's going to be a little
side job for me.
In order for me to become
successful and wealthy,
I'm probably going to want
to own my own company.
You've always got to dream big.
I want to drive that fast car, live
in a big house, have a lot of kids.
Always have high
expectations for yourself.
We're killing the rest
of the bottle...
Where's the bottle?
They also have certain expectations
of the girls who come
to visit the house.
I'm sure there's many
uses of this pole
but we typically...
It's just like an attraction.
People come to this room, like,
"Oh, my God, a stripper pole,"
and then come in and have fun.
So when we finish the bottle
we use the top of the shelves
to put it there,
showcase what we drink.
A trophy case. Yeah, a trophy case.
What's this up here?
I don't know what
you're talking about.
It's just, uh, bras and underwear.
I mean, people forget it
and leave it there.
I don't know,
it just happens, you know?
We are by far the most fun people
you will ever meet in Greek life.
We have more connections,
we have more friends,
we have more fun than anyone else.
I have no idea why anybody at any
school would not want to be
a part of Greek life,
the Gazoni Family,
or anything greater than
themselves in general.
It blows my mind.
But there is more to being
a frat boy than booze and sex.
Many hope it will lead to
a life of power, wealth and success.
These are the members of
Alpha Kappa Alpha,
who are the members and staff.
These are people who
work on The Hill.
All of these women
are destined for greatness.
I don't know one AKA who
fell off the beaten path.
Frederica S Wilson joined
an African American sorority
at university aged 18.
She is now an influential member
of the US Congress.
This is my favourite here.
Whenever you see the two of us,
I mean, there's that connection.
You know, it's not just
a casual acquaintance.
Is this on the...?
Air Force One.
Mm-hmm, President's plane.
And that's another
one on Air Force One
and I have another one
on Air Force One.
I have many more pictures,
but if I knew that I was going to
have this many pictures I wouldn't
have blown them up so big, so...
Membership of a fraternity
or sorority can last
way beyond graduation.
It's a wonderful world
of friendship, of service,
of love, for life, for ever.
It is one of the best decisions
I've ever made in my life.
In this Congress,
75% of the men belong
to a fraternity...
..and maybe 40% of the women
belong to a sorority.
But most of those members
aren't African American women.
Fraternities were formed in 1776
as secret literary dining clubs
with many similar rituals
to the Freemasons.
Ever since, they've mostly been
a bastion of America's
white middle classes.
Today, what's known
as Greek life has played
a role in the lives of many
of America's elite and powerful.
From Hollywood movie stars to
the bosses of some of America's
biggest companies, these still quite
secretive societies form part of
a network that reaches high into the
upper echelons of American society.
Nearly half of America's presidents
have pledged to a fraternity.
It's just that one little thing
that gives you an advantage
over another candidate
for a position to say,
well, we're fraternity brothers,
and so we obviously subscribe
to the same values
and the same beliefs,
and so therefore,
if I'm the candidate for a job,
you may say,
well, you know,
he represents qualities
that we are really looking for,
because I know what those are.
If you are a Tau Kappa Epsilon
and you are 23 years old
and you are looking for
a job in a new city,
you have, as a list of resources,
a complete group of people
that you are part of,
and you can send a resume to
or you can make a phone call to.
And you as well as they have pledged
lifelong brotherhood,
and it works to the benefit
of many people.
In Florida, a new
intake of students are about to try
and join the Gazoni Family.
But new recruits will have
to prove themselves before they can
enter the brotherhood.
This kid has been washing
this guy's car for ever.
The hose doesn't reach, man.
That's awful.
The recruits will go through
an intensive ten-week period
called pledging where they will be
tested to see if they fit in.
I'm going to have you move
my entire bed to the left
and you are
going to take this sponge
and this bleach and you're going to
remove any mould that you see.
So, like, any of this black shit.
To demonstrate their loyalty,
the pledges have to do all
the menial jobs around the house.
I just want you to hang
all my clothes,
spray them with wrinkle release,
unwrinkle them.
Um, that's it.
All right, cool.
Pledge number 12.
It's James...
..and he's just going to
hang up my clothes. Hm?
I thought it was Jordan, not James.
Is it Jordan?
Thanks, man. Love you too, Bro.
See, I'm confused.
Just hang the shirts and throw
the pants in the dresser.
Button-downs first,
then long sleeves, and then T-shirts
and then, if you don't have enough
hangers, athletic shirts.
Pledging is a period
before you are a brother.
It's kind of a test run to see
if the organisation is actually
right for you.
You follow through the process
and then you earn your place
in the organisation.
Ben is definitely...
He's a well-respected brother
around here.
He's definitely a good guy to...
not necessarily idolise
but try to follow in
their footsteps, kind of thing.
I'm originally from Leicester,
lived there for 15-and-a-half years.
I moved here in my second year
of high school.
I'd never even heard of a fraternity
until I moved to America.
I didn't even know what it was.
I'd seen it referenced
in a couple of movies
but wasn't really paying
attention to it.
Didn't realise how
much of a big deal that was
until I moved out here
and out here it's...
It's a big deal.
Why do you want to be
part of a fraternity?
A lot of people just think it's
about going out and drinking
and everything -
they have other stuff too.
You get to meet a cool bunch
of people
and a lot of your friends that you
keep for the rest of your life
you meet in college,
and it's a really easy way to meet
a big group of people.
You get to meet the right people,
who you want to talk to,
and essentially it's also a good
way of, like, getting connections
outside of college that could help
you link up with jobs and stuff.
All right, not just to get girls.
Absolutely not, not just that.
It's a bonus.
One day I'll have someone
doing this for me,
that's the best way to look at it.
And everyone has done this.
It's not like we're singled out
and we're the only people
that have done this.
Everyone who's up there,
even the President, has done this.
You know, you earn your stripes,
I guess.
This is not coming off.
Hey, man.
What are you going to start with?
The normal stuff. OK.
Let's go down the line.
What's your major?
Finance. And what do you want
to do with that?
I'm going to be a financial adviser
and stockbroker.
Before I graduate I'm just
trying to trade a lot.
Favourite quote? Favourite quote?
"They say money can't buy happiness
but I'll take my fucking chances."
'Part of the pledging process,
'you have to get to know
all the brothers.'
What's the point of joining
an organisation
if you don't know anyone in it?
So every week you have to interview
a certain amount of brothers.
You have to get to know them,
ask them certain questions -
when they were initiated,
their families, whatnot.
Best tip for pledging?
Um, just meet as many
girls as possible.
The more girls you meet,
the more girls that like you,
the more likely you are
to get through.
Biggest fear?
Not being successful.
Same as everybody else.
Really? Yeah.
Makes sense.
And the last one - ass or tits?
Dang. Tits.
All right, I'm done.
All right, cool.
Jordan is one of 25 pledges
trying to join the Gazoni
I'm going to go through this,
so hopefully you guys have
everything done. If not...'s going to reflect poorly
on you.
I am the shepherd
of the flock of sheep
and they are all the new sheep
and I am trying to guide their way
to the pasture, you could say,
which is the brotherhood in my mind.
Let's go over the, uh,
14 expectations.
Do you guys know them all?
All right, was the first one?
Second one?
All right. Greek alphabet.
Anyone think they know it here yet?
Alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon,
zeta, theta, eta, iota...
No, you messed that up.
Oh, I messed up?
Eta. Yeah, zeta, eta, theta.
I said that!
All right, if you guys don't know
that yet, you're going
to have to just start
knowing your shit, guys.
Hopefully you've been getting your
interview done, your house hours.
I'm going to be looking
through that tonight.
'We all want to become the best
people we can be'
and that's why we do have such
a strong brotherhood, it's cos
we all have about the same values
and same wants and goals in life.
Across America, around 100,000
students are going through
this process at the same time.
But pledging isn't always
innocent fun.
A big university is in crisis mode
tonight after a teenage student
found unconscious
in a frat house has died.
A drastic move after
the tragedy on campus.
West Virginia University
is suspending all Greek activity
after a freshman died.
What's happening right now
at West Virginia University
in Morgantown is just the latest
tragic incident involving
fraternities at colleges
all across our country.
Sometimes, the process of joining
includes more sinister elements.
There are some rituals that
do take place
where you're supposed to
demonstrate your manhood,
or your strength, or your intensity
or your perseverance,
or your ability to endure
difficult circumstances
that results in a tragedy.
Shut the fuckers up!
Shut the fuck up.
With brothers swearing an oath of
secrecy, little is known.
But a handful of unverified images
have appeared online.
Each of you little bitches
have sinned
and now you bitches... Ooh!
..will confess.
What if we confess to the wrong
thing, brother?
What these videos appear to show
is that pledging rituals
can involve physical beatings,
forced alcohol consumption
and even branding of the skin.
For the last 20 years, attorney
Doug Fierberg has worked on lawsuits
related to dangerous pledging
practices which are known as hazing.
This is a wrongful death
in a fraternity case.
A wrongful death, fraternity hazing.
Wrongful death, fraternity hazing.
For years in this country, Americans
had been denied the truth
about how dangerous fraternities
are to young people and families.
Most everything in here
is filled with files
of fraternity injury and death.
And that's just, sort of,
part of what's active.
There's filing cabinets
all around this office.
In them are just tragedies involving
fraternities and Greek life.
We took this picture when he
went up to his university
and he got this new laptop.
We were monkeying around with
his Photo Booth.
Eight years ago, Harrison Kowiak was
in the process of trying to join a
I remember clearly asking him
why he wanted to join
and he said, "Well, you know,
I just want to get
"the full college experience."
It was 11.30 at night
and the phone just rang.
It was Harrison's fraternity.
And I remember him telling me
that there had been an accident,
that it happened on campus,
they were playing football
and he fell down very hard
and hurt his head.
That's what we were told.
I took the flight up and I remember
the brother and another brother
from the fraternity that
Harrison was pledging
had picked me up at the airport
and they were very upset
and drove me immediately over
to the trauma centre,
but it was too late.
He was alive,
but frankly, just barely.
We sent Emma to school that morning
just feeling...
I wouldn't want to upset her.
Then Leanne called and said you
two better come up here.
So, I went over to pick her up
and she said, you know,
"It's bad, isn't it?
It's really serious, huh?"
We just, like, hopped on a plane
to North Carolina
and I just didn't know what was
going on. And then, erm...
Yeah, I mean, at that age
I just really was
not understanding what
was happening at all.
It just... Wait, because I can
remember it quite clearly,
but I can't, like, say it.
You don't expect to send your child
off to college and not come back.
You don't expect them to go
and study and come back in a coffin.
At first, the family say they
were told that Harrison had
been injured while playing football.
But as the hours passed,
it became clear this wasn't true.
After individuals are injured
in fraternity events,
we often see the brothers coming
together to manufacture stories.
The same ties of brotherhood that
brought everybody together
and created a strong lifelong
are the same ties that then have
the individuals afterwards
getting their stories straight.
The Kowiak family commissioned an
investigation into Harrison's death.
They now believe that he died
in an initiation ritual.
It was Hell Week.
They drove about 20 miles
off campus, it was an open field.
There was no lights,
no electricity there.
The fraternity brothers were
wearing dark-coloured clothing.
The two pledges were told to run
from one end of the field
to the other end of the field
and touch or get the sacred rock.
Once they had started running across
the field they were being tackled
by the fraternity brothers
who were football players.
It was just that one hit where
he hit the ground so hard
that he had injured his head.
I can just hope one day - maybe even
on their death beds, who knows -
just realise what they did was wrong
and what they did was wrong in
trying to cover the whole thing up.
The university, the fraternity and
the individuals involved arranged
an out-of-court settlement
with the Kowiak family,
without admitting liability.
The reasons for why the schools
might hide the truth about
fraternities -
it would deter individuals from
joining fraternities
and fraternities are extremely
valuable to universities.
They have very loyal alumni
and are often significant donors
to the university
and they do not want
the fraternity system changed.
The university involved, the local
police force and the national
all said that hazing played no part
in the events that night.
The university says it has
a zero tolerance policy on hazing.
Since Harrison's death
eight years ago,
at least 22 students in America have
died while pledging to a fraternity.
Ultimately, all we can do at the
national level
is to put the protocols and
the policies in place.
Whenever somebody doesn't
follow that path,
then it becomes very challenging.
So, we can only have so much
control at the national level
over those types of things that
have to do with hazing,
that have to do with incidents that
are completely inconsistent
with what we stand for.
In the fraternity industry,
the activities of the chapter
are supervised much like the
fox watching the chicken coop.
The individuals that have
historically hazed and been hazed
are the ones that are responsible
for implementing
and then enforcing
anti-hazing policies.
It's doomed to fail,
it has failed, it always fails
and it will fail again
in the future.
In Florida, it's time for each new
recruit to be matched up with
an established member who will
become his big brother.
Getting a big brother in a
fraternity is a very private ritual.
We went through a little adventure
and then at the end he found out
it was, you know, it was me.
What's the little adventure that you
went on beforehand?
How do I put this? I can't really
tell you because it's, like,
it would give out our secrets
but hide and seek, I'd say.
He got to find me.
He got to find me. Yeah.
Hide and seek? Yeah. You could sum
it up as, like... He has no clue it
was going to be me. put in the work to get
a reward, kind of thing.
You had to put in work to get
the reward at the end.
How different is having a brother
in the brotherhood to your own
brother in your family?
I'm looking at it the same way.
You know what I mean?
If he needs help, I'm going to give
him the same amount of effort in
helping him
as I would my own brother.
But you didn't come from
the same parents?
Yeah, but I accepted this.
It's like...more like you
accept this for yourself.
It's how it is - brotherhood.
It's why I chose him.
It was a long process, but I chose
him, you know what I mean?
He chose me.
The bond has been made.
There's like, shit on the table.
Sorry, bro.
There's, like, hair. What classes
are you taking? Right now? Yeah.
Physics, bio and two psych classes.
What's your major?
Health sciences pre-med.
I knew Andor a little bit, so I knew
a bit about him
and every time I've hung out with
him, we've just had a lot of fun,
He's just a good guy, so...
Well, thanks. You're welcome.
Jordan is a cool guy. He's going
to have a lot of questions later on.
So anything he does or needs help
with, I'm going to be the one
guiding him, I'd say.
Becoming a good man, a better man,
is what we're trying to do.
With a big brother's support,
pledges are expected to represent
the fraternity's image in every way.
What are we working? Our upper body?
We're doing tri's and a little
bit of bi's, mainly the triceps.
Usually the scrawny kids don't get
love like that.
The bigger ones do, so...
There you go.
They used a call me concave chest.
Like, my chest was, like, indented.
I was very scrawny, I had braces,
just an unpleasant looking kid,
to be honest.
I joined the frat. The first thing
that happened was my braces.
I was, like, I really don't need
these any more. The girl's don't
like them.
I got nail clippers and I
just took them all off.
Everyone saw the change. Like, "Oh,
shit. That's actually pretty cool."
I got a confidence boost in that.
Try not to rock a little bit.
I talked to Frank. I'm, like, yeah,
I need to get a little bit bigger.
Everyone's getting on me for my
concave chest, so...let's start
going to work out.
Before he looked like his chest
was indented,
so now you can tell it's opening up
a little bit more...
I see some growth. One more set and
then we'll get into it. Control it,
there we go.
'We don't want to be the goofy
fraternity, we want to be the
good-looking fraternity, I guess.'
Which is mad, like, shallow of me,
Whatever, it's like a shallow
organisation. Fuck it.
Do you know what I mean? It is what
it is. What do you mean by "it's a
shallow organisation"?
I mean, through appearance, through
sororities and fraternities. If a
girl doesn't find you attractive,
she's not going to give you the time
of day. And if she finds one of my
brothers unattractive,
she's going to classify all of us
unattractive individuals.
As a brother, you look cooler,
that you get a lot of girls, that
you can talk to a lot of girls.
But, like, me personally, like,
I'm not the type of guy
that is going to bring home ten
different girls in one month.
No, I'm probably only going to do
two or three girls, because that's
the way I am.
Looking good, man. Mm?
See that? See that?
See that, see that? Ooh!
Being able to talk to girls, it
increases sorority relations.
The better we are with sororities,
the more girls will come round.
Let me see.
Do you want to play ball?
All right, Jen, you're up.
Am I playing? Do I have do go from,
like, a certain...
Hooking up with sororities is
crucial to being a successful
Oh, that's good!
I think sororities are the best
people ever.
Do an impression. Do an impression.
IN GIRLIE VOICE: Are you going out
Jen is a sister in Zeta Tau Alpha.
Sorority girls are actually rude
girls. I mean, that's slightly
A sorority with close relations
to the Gazoni Family.
'When you're in a fraternity, like,
want the older brothers to think
you're cool.
'You want to be accepted.'
If a guy gets with a girl in a
sorority and she's really hot,
or she's in a good sorority,
it definitely looks good on them.
Girls love us! Every girl loves us.
If they hear you're a Gazoni,
they're going to love you.
Getting girls, it's probably,
like, the number one thing
on their priority list sometimes.
It's numbers with guys, for sure.
Like, "Oh, how many girls have you
had sex with?"
"Oh, 30!" Ugh, gross.
Yeah. Ugh. Some guys are really
gross, too.
Like, ugh, God.
A fraternity at Duke University is
suspended this morning.
It stems from rape allegations
at an Alpha Delta Phi fraternity
party earlier this month.
The school president took that
action over the weekend
after a female student's graphic
account of being gang raped
at a university fraternity house.
This is the Sigma Alpha Epsilon
house here behind me.
The suspects in this case are being
held without bail tonight.
They're charged with first
and second degree rape.
Greek life is currently at the
centre of a national controversy
about rape on campus.
Marissa is in her final
year at college.
She has witnessed first hand how
the set-up between fraternities
and sororities can leave female
students vulnerable.
That's, like, if you look up
fraternity in the dictionary and
it's that.
I think fraternity and sorority
Greek life is just
the personification of patriarchy.
Like, they're totally in the
position of power in these
They're setting up the parties,
they're in control of alcohol,
they're in control of the set-up.
Like, it's at that their house.
It's their stomping ground,
Like, they're so much in control
and, like,
they want to feel masculine,
they want to hook up with girls.
They want to party, they want to
feel cool and there's honestly,
like, a pressure.
Like, there's a time in the night
where you see the switch in the
I've had guys try to dance with me,
I tell them no and they just won't
leave me alone
and I've had to, like, scream in
their face and tell them to leave me
It's, like, I shouldn't have to do
that. Like, I shouldn't feel so
and I shouldn't have to, like, tell
someone no multiple times to not
touch me.
It's crazy.
Two years ago, Marissa went to a
frat party where events spiralled
out of her control.
I had a beer and then the next thing
I know I, like, don't remember
Like, just such a clear blackout
that I've never experienced before.
Especially, like, for how little I
drank and then how fast it happened.
And then I woke up and I was at an
apartment, not at the fraternity
house any more.
I, like, woke up in this bed
with no clothes on
and I had no idea where I was
and I was so scared.
I had some bruises on my arms.
It looked like I was grabbed
and I had some on my legs, too.
So, I obviously knew something
happened and that was really hard
and so I just wanted to go home and
shower and just forget about it.
At most American universities,
allegations of rape and sexual
are initially dealt with
by the college itself.
But Marissa didn't report what
happened to her.
There's just not a proper system in
place that women feel comfortable
reporting it
and feel confident that they're
going to have their case dealt with
Because I can't even name one person
that has successfully gone through
every step of the process and gotten
their assailant expelled or
Not one person.
This is the counselling
centre right here.
So we pass through fraternities
coming here.
So, and there's more on
the other side.
No matter what angle you're coming
from, you could walk by
where you were raped in order
to get help.
Many American universities
are private institutions
and rely on donations.
It's estimated that 75% of donations
come from former Greek members.
I think that the schools have a
motive to want to sweep
fraternity sexual violence
under the rug
and not necessarily expose
it and root it out.
Schools benefit a lot from having
fraternities on their campus in
many ways.
Financially, in recruiting and
admissions, and access to alumni.
The university wants to keep it
within the school
and keep it more of a student
affairs issue.
"Oh, this just happened. Let's talk
it out and figure it out." Like, no.
This is a violent crime and
it needs to be treated that way.
Most people will call
the counselling centre.
Call up the sexual assault helpline,
but they rarely get to that point
where they file criminal charges.
Just because every school has to,
like, release the amount of sexual
assault reports...
..and no-one wants to be
the rape school.
The institution is set up in a lot
of ways that allows for sexual
assault to thrive.
We have vulnerable victims
that are accessible.
Two, we have interested
and then, three, we have an
institutional motive to sweep sexual
violence under the rug,
because it's going to
make them look bad.
Study after study shows that
fraternity men are three times more
likely to sexual assault
than non-fraternity men.
I can certainly say that,
you know, nothing about
sexual relations with somebody else
is part of the fraternity system
It's not something that is any
part of our operations, our ritual,
the things that we believe in.
Do those type of things happen
because you've got guys
who are of a certain age and
together and maybe there's a little
bit of peer influence?
Or the same way that there would be
with the military or with a sports
Perhaps, yes.
A study commissioned by the
American Association of Universities
found that one in four female
college students reported unwanted
sexual contact
and more than one in eight
experienced serious sexual assaults.
I honestly have lost track of how
many people that I know
that have been sexually assaulted.
It's hard to, like, look at all
the houses and be, like...
when you know your closest friends
were raped there, it's really hard.
Yeah, this is...
..a love/hate relationship with
this place.
Fond memories and bad.
Syracuse University says it has been
at the forefront
in the fight against
sexual and relationship violence
and it has a strong structure in
place to prevent and respond to
sexual and relationship violence.
Last year, 16 students were
suspended or expelled.
In Florida, there's just a week
left of pledging.
Cheers, cheers.
Good morning, good morning.
And the Gazoni Family have an
important men-only event planned.
All right, let's go! Let's go!
Today's our brotherhood
retreat event.
We are at ManChild Land,
pretty excited. I don't know what
to expect from it.
It's bonding time.
One, two, three.
Yo, we're here!
Today's event takes place in
the extensive grounds of one
the brother's family homes.
We're at ManChild Land.
We've got a tiki hut, private beach.
We've got everything.
All right, y'all. Listen up.
This is an exercise that we call
Over The Rope.
The object - your entire class has
three chances
to make it over the rope and however
you do that is up to you.
But you cannot go under the rope,
you cannot touch the rope.
If you do not get in three tries,
you fail. All right?
Let's get a move on, team.
The idea behind Over The Rope
is for all of our new guys
who are looking to be initiated
at the end of this semester
to learn that, you know, we're
stronger as a group.
One, two, three... Whoa, whoa, whoa!
Let's go.
One, two, three.
Jump. Fuck, yeah.
You know, as the group of guys
getting over the rope gets smaller
and smaller,
it becomes more difficult to get
the next person over the rope.
ALL: Ooh!
KEEP IT GOING! Let see it.
ALL: One, two, three.
All, right, guys - come here -
bring it in.
Yo, bring it in!
So what this is supposed to
symbolise to you guys is...
that we're stronger as a unit
and as you guys divide up
and you become individuals,
the task becomes a lot harder.
Remember that if you are lucky
enough to become brothers.
Go drink!
Tomorrow, the brothers will decide
who makes it into the fraternity.
No-one wants to fuck up, but...
at the same time, you don't want
to try and suck up to them all day,
they're probably not going
to like that either.
Just be yourself, that's what
they've said
from the start of the semester.
Some of the brothers have got
their doubts
about Jordan's commitment.
He hasn't been coming around often,
like, he has a lot of work.
He had to take
a test on the fraternity,
didn't do too well, like...
Brothers take that accountable
and it might hurt him,
but he has today to like,
bring that back, know what I mean?
Um, this is what we call
circle of brothers.
And basically,
what I'm going to kick off,
I'm going to kick off what this
organisation has done for me
and what I would like to do to help
this organisation in the future.
So this organisation,
it has...
truly made me a man.
It just solidifies the fact more
that this is exactly what
I want to do, so.... And it was
important to come out today,
this is a big bonding event
for the brothers
and it's one of your main bonding
events this semester, so they
would have looked at it a bit like,
OK, maybe you don't want to be here.
In the future,
I want to make good connections
outside the fraternity,
help out any brother who needs help
with work, anything like that.
In the future, when I make a good
amount of money, come back
and like Tim, make some donations
and stuff like that.
OK, Jordan, let's go. Not to be able
to enjoy it any more after this
would kind of suck. I see this
and I want to do this as a brother.
Since the day I've been here,
I've wanted it, really bad, like.
I wanted it so bad.
I can smell the other side,
put it that way, and I want it.
I'm doing it. Yeah.
There's no stopping me.
It's time for the brothers to decide
who will get through to initiation.
The brothers have a final vote
on who gets in.
We're not going to be
there to see the vote.
I've put in a lot of time
and effort this semester,
as have all the other pledges.
I think there's always a chance
that they could say no.
INDISTINC ..Initiate Jordan Cole - are there
any objections?
Yes. Let's go.
Jordan is the first
to be discussed.
As you guys know,
I'm pretty adamant that this kid not
get included in this initiation.
The way I see it, we all worked hard
to get to where we are and, um...
I'm not about to devalue the entire
pledge process for one kid
who did not come around to
any of the events that he was
asked to come to up until this
last week. I would think he has
put in the least amount of work
as any pledge I've seen here.
The final vote is,
you need 87.66% approval rate.
There's not a single thing about
where we came from, how we
started or where we're going, and
I don't want to take him with us.
There's cons and pros, we talk
about it, a lot of speeches go on.
So, I have assigned him
multiple things to do.
I don't know if you guys are aware,
but multiple weeks, he does not turn
in any interviews and just tells me,
"Oh, I'll get you ten next week".
"I'll get you ten the next week."
I like the kid as a person, I think
he's a cool-ass kid, but do I think
he's putting in the effort that we
all have put in to become a brother?
No, I do not.
So, I'm his big brother.
The only time he missed the five
interviews was
when he was in Chicago.
Five interviews, that's all
he missed from you. And, uh...
That's not true, by the way. Well,
then he's lying. Someone's lying.
I didn't think he's lying, cos
he showed me all the others.
Any more questions?
Yo! All in favour of initiation
of Jordan Cole, raise your hands.
Damn. Yeah, what's up?
All right, bro.
See ya. Oh, shit!
I have to go down the boys' house.
At 11.40.
I've been told to come to the
President of the fraternity's house,
Ando's apparently there
as well, so...
I have no idea what's going to
happen, so...we shall see.
After hours of waiting to know
if he has been accepted,
Jordan has one final tradition
to endure.
We just tell them after the vote
that, "Hey, come over,
"we really want to talk to you
about what happened."
And we'll bring him in,
surround him,
"Hey, I'm sorry, but
you just didn't make it."
We let 'em walk out of the house,
they're all upset,
he doesn't know what to say.
And then you're like, "Hey,
just kidding! You made it through!"
Did we get you? You guys!
Just freak him out a little bit,
it's just a tradition we got going.
We all had to go through that,
it was a very bad feeling.
Congrats, you're in, good luck.
You've got a long week!
It just makes you realise how
much you can lose by losing this
and how much you like it.
I mean, I was in tears
when this happened to me.
I'm like, "No way, no way this is
happening". It was funny.
Oh, man!
Yeah, it was... They got me good!
I won't lie, they got me
really good.
That was a huge weight
lifted off my shoulders,
I'm very happy about that.
Jordan has been ordered to come
straight to the house to join
the other successful pledges for
a week of initiation rituals.
Any ideas what they have planned?
Haven't got the slightest clue.
Well, good luck. Thank you, sir.
It's our secret, yes,
they all talk about it,
and you're not supposed to ask,
but they make it very clear
that, you know, what happens in the
process is part of the brotherhood,
and it stays within the brotherhood.
During his second year
at university,
Terence was initiated
into a fraternity.
The first thing that we learned,
I'll never forget it,
it was like a greeting, and you say,
"Greetings, sir, we are pledges
of Tau Kappa Epsilon
"and we will do whatever it takes
to obtain brotherhood, sir."
They would have us take this
deep breath and we'd go...
And they went, "OK, hit the floor"
and then with the blindfolds on,
we'd have to just fall down
onto our hands
and then we'd start doing push-ups
or whatever else
they wanted us to do.
The hegemon is the person
who administers the physical
discipline, you know,
for the fraternity, and he was huge.
His job is to make sure
that the people getting
inducted into this brotherhood, that
they have, like, paid their price
and they are proving that they're
worthy to be called brothers.
Very often, fraternity brothers
that have been hazed together
then are in fact turning
the tables the next year
and trying to make it so that either
the new pledges go through
exactly what they went through,
or certainly maybe even more.
If it's easier,
then they're not demonstrating
their commitment to the fraternity
and how they are worthy to be
joining this fraternity.
So they make it harder.
Initiation rituals involved Terence
being beaten with a boat paddle.
They called it the hostage position.
You lie on the floor with your hands
behind your head with a blindfold on
and as you progress, you start to
lose pieces of clothing.
Yeah, I got a beating so bad...
There was broken glass on the floor
and sludge and rocks and dirt
and you're all scratched up.
I just remember I was lying there
on that floor and, uh, I didn't
think I was going to make it.
By the end of the week,
Terence passed out...
..and woke up in hospital.
They'd split my skin open. The blood
had pooled, became infected.
My liver started to shut down.
And, uh, they told me
I came really close.
They did four surgeries on me
altogether, they gave me three
units of blood to keep me alive
and, er,
I was in the ICU for a week.
But this is my branding.
The triangle.
So they have a cattle brand that
they had specially made
for us and they heat it up over
a fire like they do with cows
and I got held down and...
From his hospital bed,
Terrance learned he had made it
into the brotherhood.
I was in. You know?
I'd made it through.
I earned the right to be
part of the brotherhood
and got a T-shirt with the letters
on it, but when I realised that they
weren't coming to the hospital,
nobody came to visit me...
They checked up every once
in a while,
but they were just
so concerned with themselves.
After that, I just realised that
I didn't want to be a part of it.
Back in Florida, it is time
for Jordan and the other pledges
to be initiated into the Gazoni
Family brotherhood.
One of our goals this week is to
really break these guys down,
you know, find out, you know,
what we can do to build them
up into better men.
This is something that is strictly
within our brotherhood.
It's truly a treasure that you
want to keep close to your heart,
so you don't want to share with
anyone else.
The Gazoni Family have asked us
at this point to stop filming.
The two primary reasons that we
can't have cameras around this week
is because we have events where
brothers really open up emotionally.
The second reason is,
these events are private and if...
..they were filmed and shown to
people, then it wouldn't be
a surprise to the incoming
pledges about what we do.
See, I thought that it
was about putting pledges through
a lot of kind of mental
and physical pain.
I'm going to take the Fifth
on this one.
I just...
What do you mean? I don't know.
I don't know how to respond to that,
Does hazing go on?
I can assure you we do not
beat kids. Does not happen.
That is something
I can tell you 100%.
I want justice, because what
they did to me was...awful.
Terence was beaten so severely,
it put him in intensive care.
His former fraternity have handed
him an out-of-court settlement,
but Terence now wants to sue
the individual brothers
he says were involved.
Hey. Good to see you.
Good to see you.
I haven't seen you in a while!
You know Karen? Hi, Karen.
To have hurt Terence this much
and to have put him
in hospital for this long with
such life-threatening injuries is
absolutely unprecedented.
Why don't you sit here
and we'll just talk about the way
the deposition is going to work.
We're going to prepare the case
to be presented to a jury.
You've never had your deposition
taken before? No. OK...
So let's talk about it.
I don't even know what it means.
It's a part of the legal process
that involves him
being questioned
by the defendants under oath.
Which is a process that usually
attorneys control,
and they use to try and get
information from the victim
that can be used against them
in their own case.
There's going to be defence
are there going to be defendants?
The defendants are ALLOWED
to be there,
but it's VERY unlikely
that they will be there.
Even in a case like this?
Yes, even in a case like this.
Because I feel that
that would be intimidating.
If they do show up, they can't say
anything. If they do...
indicate in some way that they're
trying to threaten you,
we'll stop the deposition
and cancel it.
And they'll have to
schedule it again.
I want this to go through
and the only thing that I guess
I'm a little worried about is
if you know, the individuals
showed up
and then I have to sit in the room
with a whole team of attorneys
plus the people who have
done this to me,
who I'm still kind of fearful of,
you know, just staring into my eyes
while I try to tell the truth -
that's a little intimidating.
Are you confident for Terence?
Very confident.
Done correctly, the truth prevails.
So individuals who will try to
circumvent the system
and to disclaim responsibility
for what they did to him,
they'll be found responsible.
The individuals Terence is suing
deny any wrongdoing.
The university says hazing would be
a violation of its code of conduct.
The national fraternity have closed
the chapter involved.
When you have tradition
and when you have people
so ingrained in commonality
and something that is just...
..expected, it is very difficult
to break that tradition.
Congresswoman Frederica S Wilson
is a proud member of a sorority.
But she has been a prominent
campaigner against hazing
and has successfully introduced
a state law in Florida making
it a criminal offence.
But she has no illusions about the
scale of the problem nationally.
It's a feeling of wanting to belong,
that's what it is.
chose this organisation and if this
is the criteria for belonging,
I'm willing to do this.
I'm willing to take the pain,
because I want this so badly.
And that has to stop.
That has to stop.
If chapters are following the ritual
and those things we really
ascribe to, then they do well.
Whenever you have, again,
somebody who deviates from that and
decides to do something to somebody
or do an act that is not consistent
with our values or morals,
that's where we see the problem.
The problem is, that gets more
attention because it is
something that is completely
out of line with what is expected.
Lianne Kowiak's son died while he
was pledging for a fraternity.
Now she campaigns to raise
awareness of the risks.
There is a lot of hazing
that goes on.
It may not be spoken about openly,
there's a lot that is
in a shroud of secrecy.
She's alerting young people
about the dangers of hazing before
they leave for university.
Well, good morning,
good afternoon everyone -
I'm really excited to be here.
Today, she is talking to the senior
students at her daughter
Emma's school.
In order to belong to a group,
whether it's Greek life,
whether it's athletics...
You don't need to be hazed.
There's this like, image
I see at my school where
they think frat boys are cool, but
they don't know the true reality.
I really hope that my mom's speech
really does help and give them
an insight into what
it's really like.
If I can save one life, then that's
one life that I have saved.
It's time well spent.
And to me, making a difference
is very important.
I felt it was really informative,
showed me a lot about what to do
if you're in a situation that you
don't think you can get out of.
I think this just kind of would
help what I would hope to do
and really execute that when I go
into a sorority.
I don't think that a fraternity
is right for me.
I'll try to make some friends
when I'm in college,
but I don't think a fraternity
is the way to go with it.
In Syracuse, to try and help
victims of sexual assault on campus,
Marissa and her friends have set up
a support group called
The Girl Code Movement.
I think the misconception
about consent
and the misconception about what
rape really is comes from a
lot of intersection of drinking
and sexual assault on campuses...
Right after my best friend's
assault, she was like,
"We need to do something about
this". We're here to be, like,
"I believe you, I support you
and I'm here to help."
Like, those three things, like...
mean a world of difference.
Pretty much everyone probably does
have someone they know and just
because they haven't talked about
it, doesn't mean that you
shouldn't care about it.
Through all of that anger
and frustration
and pain of what happened, like,
now I can say that
I'm supporting other people
and that's like the best thing
that I can be doing.
750,000 undergraduate students
are currently pledged to
a brotherhood or sisterhood.
And with rumours of them
even spreading to British
universities, Greek life is more
popular than ever.
In Florida, after seven days of
initiation rituals
behind closed doors...
..Jordan and the other pledges
have finally been accepted
into the Gazoni Family.
Gentlemen, you guys just put in
a very long, enduring week,
welcome to the greatest family
in the history...
This week was, uh,
it was definitely an experience!
It was an experience I would
never have anywhere else,
but it was worth it,
it was a good experience, so...
He proved everything he needed
to prove, I promise you that!
What do you mean by that?
Proved that he was a man,
he wants to be a good man.
They put you through the ringer
a bit, to build you up,
to make sure like, you know
that they'd have your back.
It builds a strong brotherhood with
the people you pledge with, as well.
ALL: # Here's to brother Jordan
who's with us tonight
# He's happy, he's jolly,
he's fucked up like us
# So drink, motherfucker
# Drink, motherfucker
Drink, motherfucker, drink! #
Keep on going!
Keep on going!
He did great. He's finished with his
initiation, he's finally a brother!
Gosh, it's like the next step,
you can't wait for your own pledges.
It's incredible! You get to get in a
circle, you're part of the family,
you finally feel like on the same
level as everybody
instead of a step away,
it's incredible.
# long
# With many a winding turns
# That leads us to who
# Knows where
# Who knows where. #