Lisa Connors, an Anders University freshman, has big hopes of a job at the university newspaper. Her ambitious mother, Gwen, suggests Lisa should join a sorority, Pi Gamma Beta as she herself had great fun. Lisa applies to Pi Gamma Beta, the most prestigious sorority on campus.
Lisa also talks her way into joining the school newspaper, even though she is not qualified. At the paper, she meets Steven Tyler, a fellow student with whom she becomes involved romantically. In order to join the sorority, mainly consisting of snobs who enjoy others' suffering, candidates must endure the cruel humiliation of hazing. Shelby Blake, another freshman desperate for sorority acceptance, immediately befriends Lisa.
When Steven discovers Lisa and Shelby's experiences in connection with PGB, including, apparently, having to eat broken glass, he is appalled. He publishes an article critical of hazing. This leads to his being beaten up.
Lisa refuses to cooperate when the sorority require the two applicants to strip and strut back and forth across a table while the sorority call out degrading and hurtful names and draw on the candidates' skin. In consequence, Lisa is absent when the girls take Shelby up a clock tower to hang a banner. Shelby falls to her death when sorority sister, Drea Davenport, orders her to go over the railing. The next day, Shelby's death is declared a suicide.
Reluctant Lisa, with Steven's prompting, decides to investigate even though the hostile sorority claim it was an accident.