On Friday, the University of Florida said it is charging the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity with theft, along with obscene behavior, public intoxication, causing physical or other harm and damage to property after students urinated on a flag and engaged in what was called inappropriate behavior, WHNT reported Friday. The school, WHNT said, suspended the fraternity for students’ actions at a Panama City beach resort and the fraternity has expelled three of its members.
Warrior Beach Retreat Founder Linda Cope said students threw marshmallows at vehicles belonging to veterans, made inappropriate comments to females at the retreat and tore flags off their cars. They also spat on a service member and his dog. Worse yet, police filed no charges in the incident.
“They actually spit on me and my service dog as well, and that’s just so disrespectful and 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,” said Nicholas Connole, a wounded veteran at the event. Cope, the organizer of the event, said students “were urinating off the balconies, throwing up in the elevators, making suggestive and sexual comments about veterans with their service dogs and derogatory and suggestive comments about their wives.” She also said it was all too reminiscent of treatment meted out to Vietnam veterans.
W. Kent Fuchs, president of the University of Florida, issued an apology to Cope and the veterans. Members of the fraternity also issued an apology. Emory University condemned the actions in a statement, but said but said “no evidence has been found to implicate Emory students in these reported incidents.”
“I can only imagine the pain and indignity of enduring this behavior,” Fuchs said. “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.”
“The behavior of some students who attended this event was out of line, and we apologize on their behalf for the behavior they exhibited,” fraternity members said in their apology. “We appreciate everything that you have done for our country and we assure you that the service that you have provided to the United States of America is unparalleled and is honored with the utmost respect.”
Veterans and their families did not retaliate against the students, CNN said. “These men and women acted like the leaders they are of our country,” Cope said.