On May 1, Fox Orlando announced that the Panama City Beach Police Department, in Florida, are continuing the criminal investigation into an alleged incident between unknown members of the University of Florida’s Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and veterans participating in the Warrior Beach Retreat weekend.
On April 24. members of a wounded warrior group, who were visiting Panama City Beach for a retreat, say they were extremely disturbed by the actions of a number of ZBT fraternity members, who allegedly spit at the group, yelled insults and urinated on flags.
Police are attempting to identify possible suspects and victims. Officials say if it is determined a crime has occurred, criminal charges could be filed.
After the events were reported, the school immediately suspended fraternity activities and expelled three members. UF President Kent Fuchs had strong words for the members of ZBT. “The reported conduct of this fraternity contradicts the values of service and respect that are at the center of this university.” The international president of ZBT also was disgusted and outraged by the actions of the chapter. The chapter was established at the University of Florida in 1921.
UF then began permanently shutting down the chapter on that campus, and began an internal investigation. At the time of the incident, Nicholas Connole, one of the veterans on the scene said, “it hurts. I come and I feel honored and I feel safe and that I belong, but now I feel like I’m defending myself.”
A spokesman from Warrior Beach Retreat, Inc. says,
“I am very grateful for the actions taken by the University and the fraternity. I would ask people not to take justice into their own hands but to pray for a quick resolution for all those involved. Investigations are being done by the fraternity, the Panama City Beach Police Department and the University.”
On the Greek Rank website, for the most part, people are disgusted as well, “These guys think it’s funny to disrespect people that are injured fighting for their freedoms….No class, none. I will never hire anyone from this frat”, “94 years down the drain, way to go”. Oddly, the positive comments are almost all from women, including one from ‘Greek Girl’, “ZBT is one of my favorite fraternity. Nice guys, some definitely hot and their parties are always fun.” and ‘Dottie’ who writes “Seriously some of the hottest guys.” So the positive comments all relate to their great parties and “hotness,” not so much their attitudes and behavior.
This ZBT chapter certainly managed to turn up the heat and light a fire under the feet of many outraged vets and UF alumni. If anyone has any information regarding this incident please contact PCB PD at (850) 233-5000.