The University of Florida’s chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity could be another Greek organization shut down after members reportedly spit on military veterans and urinated on their American flag.
The Zeta Beta fraternity attended Panama City Beach for their spring formal, staying at the Laketown Wharf resort. In the midst of their partying weekend, a group of veterans were also staying at the same resort for the Sixth Annual Warrior Beach Retreat, which is an event held for injured veterans and their families.
For the past six years, the Warrior Beach Retreat has been hosted by Panama City Beach to honor wounded veterans and give them a chance to spend time with their loved ones, according to retreat founder and mother of injured Iraq vet, Linda Cope. Cope told reporters that she has never seen such “debauchery and disrespect” from a group of young adults. She claimed that the fraternity members and their female companions were spitting on these veterans and their service dogs, mocking their American flag, and urinating all over it.
According to Panama City Beach Police, officers did not receive any calls and there was not an incident report or arrests made. Appalled by the incident, Cope decided to email UF president W. Kent Fuch about the disrespectful antics of the student body. Immediately after, Cope received an email apology from the president saying:
“I want to make clear that I am deeply sorry for the affront that our students may have caused,” Fuchs wrote in the email. “I want to assure you that it is not representative of our students or our university, and we will make every effort to learn more, take appropriate action and prevent similar incidents from occurring again.”
Janet Spikes, spokesperson for the University said that she was “extremely concerned” about the allegations, and assures that the University is not going to stand by and do nothing.
We’re taking this matter very seriously and opened an investigation to determined what happened and what we need to do in response.
The Zeta Beta Tau chapter, which is under probationary status until Dec. 19, 2015, also wrote to the Warrior Beach Retreat apologizes for the actions of their members, and making it certain that they will face major consequences.
“As a Fraternity, we have a ZERO tolerance policy for such behaviors, and those found guilty will be expelled. The deeds described on both social media and in letters to our University are completely against our Fraternity’s values and ideas and those that have failed to respect those values will not be welcomed anymore.”
You can watch the WUFT News coverage of the incident via Vimeo, below:
The University of Florida has officially suspended the members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. Retired U.S. Army major general, combat veteran, and UF vice president Dave Kratzer expressed his thoughts on the incident in a press conference release.
“I am personally offended and disappointed by the behavior that has been described to me. This is not representative of our students or of the university.”
Featured image via usnews.com