By Debbie Gregory.
The University of Florida closed a fraternity Tuesday amid allegations that its members hurled drunken insults and spat at a group of disabled veterans at a Panama City Beach resort.
The closing of Zeta Beta Tau’s fraternity comes a week after the school suspended the fraternity, which expelled three of its members, after finding out about their inappropriate behavior. The school previously said it was charging the fraternity with obscene, behavior, public intoxication, theft, causing physical or other harm and damage to property.
According to Linda Cope, founder of the Warrior Beach Retreat, Veterans in attendance were picked on by Zeta Beta Tau members, who also allegedly spit on the Veterans and their service dogs.
“In all of my years, I’ve never seen such debauchery and disrespect,” Cope said, adding that the women accompanying the fraternity men were behaving with an equal lack of respect.
The Warrior Beach group says the frat members were extremely drunk and were urinating on flags, vomiting off of balconies and were verbally abusive over the weekend.
UF President Kent Fuchs said he is saddened and disappointed by the reports, adding, “Our University has always honored, and will always honor, the service of veterans.”
International president of ZBT, Matthew J. Rubins, echoed Fuchs’ sentiments, expressing that he was “absolutely disgusted” by the allegations.
“ZBT has a long history of serving our country, with brothers currently serving in all ranks of the military,” Rubins said. “ZBT will work diligently to demonstrate that the alleged behavior of a few does not represent the values of the many.”
Laurence Bolotin, Executive Director, Zeta Beta Tau International, posted on the fraternity’s website, “We intend to turn this situation into a teachable moment for all ZBT members.”
The University of Florida suspended Zeta Beta Tau on April 24th. And while the UF chapter of the fraternity is effectively shut down, both ZBT and the University of Florida said they intend to further investigate the incident to “fully understand what happened.”
As of now, three members of 128 active members of the fraternity have been expelled, as the school admitted the fraternity was charged with obscene behavior, public intoxication, theft, causing physical or other harm, and damage to property.
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Military Connection: UofFL Closes Fraternity Over Abuse of Vets: By Debbie Gregory