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Mace and Crown | May 22, 2018

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'Alpha Class:' Inside the frat life

Fatima Rivera | Staff Writer

Greek life is a major stamp in many universities throughout the nation. At Arizona State University, it is a part of campus life. It shapes the image of the school and has a heavy influence on potential students. “Alpha Class” gives viewers a chance to see that influence inside campus grounds.

In the beginning, a phone call between an unknown caller and a young man takes place, where the caller is asking a series of questions. One question stands out, making the man stop and look stunned towards the camera. Different locations in ASU’s campus are seen, with each one displaying different Greek letters which establish how big greek life is on their campus.

Three young men start to recall the time they were pledging for a fraternity, leading to brutal hazing traditions. Each of those events led to the fraternity being disbanded, and the pledging class deciding to create a new fraternity with better rules.

However, it wasn’t all a cakewalk. The process of giving bids, establishing rules and how the “brothers” worked together to create a better environment is shown throughout the film, giving one more insight on what exactly makes the“brotherhood.”

“Alpha Class” is a documentary created by Danny McManus and his company D-Mak Productions, capturing not just his story as a frat member at ASU, but other members as well, to create awareness of the consequences of hazing. The film is split into different parts retelling what was going on during that time and leading to the final moments of the new fraternity.

Hazing is a big theme surrounding the entire documentary, with explicit retellings of “Hell Week” from the former pledges, with one activity where all of the pledges were locked in a room, only able to eat what the brothers would give them. One pledge began to throw up blood and ended up being thrown up on under orders of the other members.

“I’d rather cut my arm off than to go what you’re about to,” an unknown member is hearing those words before starting the step in the hazing process.

A segment in the documentary involves students outside of greek life asking what their opinions on fraternities were. Most of the responses were based on stereotypes that they have heard of one girl saying she was told, “don’t fall asleep at a frat house.” As many fraternities are not among these stereotypes, they continue to pop out as more horror stories surface from the members that stray away from the rules.

The documentary is insightful, gets an inside look at how a fraternity works and how they deal with controversial situations that affect not just themselves, but other members as well. Terms and information are explained for those who are not familiar with Greek life and listening from an insider point of view on hazing gives a strand of opinions be formed. One huge question is, “Why do they decide to stick through that?” and that is answered indirectly and directly in this film.

“Alpha Class” is somewhat of a blast from the past with the difference of years between the time filming began and when it was released but is relevant to many things today.