UF Zeta Beta Tau Under Investigation After Disrespecting Veterans

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The University of Florida’s chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity is under investigation after members spit on and took flags from wounded veterans.

Last weekend, Zeta Beta Tau students from UF and Emory University were in Panama City Beach for their spring formal. They were staying at the Laketown Wharf Resort where veterans were also staying for the Warrior Beach Retreat, according to Linda Cope, founder of the retreat.

For the past six years, the Warrior Beach Retreat has been hosted by Panama City Beach twice a year to bring in wounded veterans and their families.

Cope honors her son, Joshua, at the retreat — he lost both legs and his right hand after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Iraq, according to the retreat site.

“We focus on the caregiver and strengthening marriages,” Cope said. “That’s our vision.”

The event brought together combat wounded veterans and included a parade on April 16 where between 8,000 and 10,000 people lined the streets. Cope said the students from Emory and UF acted dishonorably the next day.

Members of the University of Florida chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity are under investigation after spitting on and taking flags from wounded veterans. The students and veterans were in Panama City Beach when the incident occurred.
Members of the University of Florida chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity are under investigation after spitting on and taking flags from wounded veterans. The students and veterans were in Panama City Beach when the incident occurred. ” credit=”Adriana Yurizza / WUFT News

Cope said Zeta Beta Tau students picked on the veterans, spit on them and their service dogs, and urinated on American flags.  

“In all of my years, I’ve never seen such debauchery and disrespect,” Cope said.

Cope also said the women accompanying the men were equally as bad.

According to Panama City Beach Police, officers were not called, and there was not an incident report or any arrests.

Janine Sikes, the assistant vice president for media affairs at UF, said UF President W. Kent Fuchs received an email from Linda Cope concerning the incident.

Cope then received an email apology from Fuchs on Wednesday.

“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.”

“The University of Florida is extremely concerned about allegations, specifically of illegal behavior with our students,” Sikes said. “We’re taking this matter vary seriously and opened an investigation to determined what happened and what we need to do in response.”

Sikes said she is not sure how long the investigation may last.

Executive Director of the National Zeta Beta Tau Laurence A. Bolotin, a University of Florida graduate from 2001, also wrote to Cope, stating Emory, UF and the international headquarters are fully cooperating with investigations and both chapters have placed themselves under suspension.

The UF chapter, which is currently under probationary status until Dec. 19, 2015, wrote to the Warrior Beach Retreat and veterans to offer apologies and to assure those involved would face consequences.

According to the letter, “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.”

The UF chapter also offered financial assistance to the retreat so more veterans can participate in the coming years.

“We’re going to let them do that,” Cope said. “I’m thinking of different ideas because we could really use some fundraisers.”

Both the national and UF chapters were contacted for comment but did not return phone calls; however, they released their written statements.

Emory has not yet contacted Cope. Updated: Emory has released a statement that university officials have been in touch with the Copes. 

“We’ve gotten nothing from Emory,” she said, “not one word.”

Expulsion may not be the only punishment students involved may face. Gainesville attorney Geoffrey Mason said this could qualify as a hate crime with additional battery charges.

Mason said someone could make the argument that the veterans’ national origin — the fact that they are Americans — was a factor.

“I would say especially if they were over 65,” he continues, “then that would absolutely be a hate crime, if it’s related to age.”

Prejudice towards physical disabilities or limitations can also be regarded as a hate crime.

“If they spit on a person, that’s absolutely battery,” Mason said.

Mason said Florida has provisions dealing with battery of the elderly, which would be classified as a higher level crime. The maximum legal sentence would be five years in prison and up to a $5,000-fine.

Penalties from UF have yet to be determined.

“I can’t talk about individual students, but I can tell you that the Zeta Beta Tau chapter certainly faces sanctions,” Sikes said.

It is Cope’s hope that students can learn a lesson in respect and responsibility from the incident.

“To every action, there is a reaction and a consequence,” Cope said. “They don’t need to take in vain the sacrifice these men and women have given for them to have the freedoms they have.”

 

Nicole Wiesenthal and Adriana Yurizza contributed to this report.

About Kathryn Williams

Kathryn is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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68 comments

  1. Wow just wow.the author starts by repeating the same sentence twice: “the fraternity is under investigation after members spit on and took flags from” … what ever happened to ALLEGEDLY??? these kids are tried and convicted in the public eye before the email has dried. Can anyone show me anywhere in the article where anyone , other than Linda cope, has collaborated these ALLEGATIONS? I see her name as the source of the email to the president of U of f. I see her as the sole source of information to the media. I see where she has already agreed to some fund-raising help for her own Charity. I see where SOME attorney in gainsville has determined , without one bit of evidence, that this could probably be a HATE crime and now the perpetrators are facing 5 years. has the american public gone carniverous? I’m a former Marine and side with the military 100% of the time but I’m getting tired of jumping to conclusions based on the internet.

    • Here you go:
      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zeta-Beta-Tau-Fraternity/150061359272?fref=ts

      Our Executive Director just released a statement in response to the
      disrespectful events that recently took place in Panama City Beach. In
      part the statement says:

      On behalf of our entire organization, I
      want to apologize to veterans, both those who were in Panama City Beach,
      and those who have felt the pain from afar, as well as to their
      families and all who support the Warrior Beach Retreat and had worked to
      make it a positive and meaningful occasion for attendees. I am deeply
      saddened that the actions of our members ruined this special event and
      failed to show the respect our military and their families so deserve.

      As we continue our investigation, our chapters at the University of
      Florida and Emory University have suspended all activities and are fully
      cooperating in our investigation. In addition, we have already expelled
      three members of ZBT from our organization who we found to have been
      behaving inappropriately, and we will take any further action necessary
      as we learn more. Our Fraternity also has issued an apology on behalf
      of all of our members to the Warrior Beach Retreat, the organization
      that was hosting the veterans to provide them and their families with
      the opportunity to relax and recharge.

      Click here to read the statement: http://goo.gl/vSU5ql

      • Save your band-whith brother, James Messmer is a seminar blogger who Liberals pay by the word to clog up the World Wide Web with his infantile opinions and lack of knowledge.

    • They admitted they did it; but mostly the Florida Frat, not Georgia.

    • Looks like we have another Migrant bound for Syria! Send me a post card James.

  2. So James the statements of the veterans in the video from local news isn’t good enough. What a POS, let me know if you need translation.

  3. I think they should let the Veterans Groups handle themselves, Perhaps one of the Biker groups could ride to their Frat house and ask the house frat brothers if they would like to discuss the situation

  4. Odd that not one word, not one, is written to the fact that this is the oldest national Jewish fraternity. Just imagine for a moment the outcry had a Protestant Christian or a Muslim group done this…

    • If it were a muslim group the liberal press would be supporting them completely

    • Your behind the times Dream-Team. If a Mohammedan fraternity had acted in this manor our President would make a commencement speech on campus honoring ZBT.

    • There would have only been an outcry if it occurred at a gay wedding. ABC, CBS, and Lying Bryan (NBC) would never have broadcast it so the President would never see it on his White House TV. Which begs the question, if the world ends and Obama misses the news flash, is it still over?

    • There would have only been an outcry if it occurred at a gay wedding. ABC, CBS, and Lying Bryan (NBC) would never have broadcast it so the President would never see it on his White House TV. Which begs the question, if the world ends and Obama misses the news flash, is it still over?

  5. I would not have been able to restrain myself. There definitely would have been a fight.

  6. JEWISH frat. How ironic since the Wounder Warriors became disabled fighting the wars for the globalist tribe.

  7. There’s a reason no one was prosecuted. ZBT is well-known Jewish frat. And we all know that the Chosen Ones are not prosecuted the same way the goyim are.

  8. Fraternity should be closed down on both campuses.

    • NO!! The fraternity should be disbanded world wide for the next 40 years. On second though make that 80 years!!!

    • There were no police calls, and I hope they are having a proper investigation
      I happen to know a lot of students in that Frat and it seems to what I have heard , the Vets wanted get after the kids
      No vedeo whatsoever, no pictures , where were the phones?
      That is a heavy charge, prove something , no police calls?
      Of course the kids have no say , that case smells to me

  9. I am an Army veteran, and I welcome any and all of them to come on down to south Florida and they that with me and a few of the vets down here. I would only take a few minutes for us to straighten out what it took their parents 18 years to screw up. Hopefully we will get a list of names soon. Then a road trip to UF will be in order I am sure.

  10. Of course ZBT is a “jew only” fraternity. Jews hate America.

    Here is a link to their website- http://www.zbt.org/

    Welcome to Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT). Founded in 1898 as the world’s first Jewish Fraternity, ZBT prides itself on being an inclusive organization welcoming of any college man who understands and appreciates our mission.

    With more than 140,000 initiated men ZBT’s can be found in all aspects of life: business, entertainment, media, politics, and much more. In 1989, ZBT became the first fraternity to abolish pledging from
    its organization and, in its place, created a brotherhood program that
    focuses on equal rights, privileges, and responsibilities for all
    members.

    Welcome to our Journey. We invite you to explore everything
    that makes ZBT a “Powerhouse of Excellence.”

  11. Jewish fraternity. Go figure.

    • This is President Obama’s revenge taken on our vets for Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

      • lolatthefakesjws

        hey, you, liberal troll, sitting at your govt lap top in your local community action…er i mean re education center? please go away, your handler called, said that huff post is running low on vapid morons and needs some fresh troops on the left flank pronto!

        now run along, your ebt card will be filled and you will get more minutes on your bananaphone when youve posted 1000 total comments.
        youve been exposed time to put on the next sock puppet.

      • Man, you’re pretty stupid. But consistently so.

  12. Kill them or deport them all to Syria

  13. Publish their names & photos. Maybe they can get spit on as they walk to class. That’ll make them feel special. Fulfill their crave for attention.

  14. This is what happens when rich, entitled, Republicans get drunk. They don’t care about US, just themselves. They know that they’ll never have to suffer anything, daddy will make sure of that. To them, we’re all just fodder, cogs in the machine which they own.

    • lolatthefakesjws

      so the 3 so far that were expelled from the group, and have not even been addressed by the schools yet are not getting whats coming to them because of daddy? just stop posting, go to a place like yahoo or aol where your breed flourish youve not leveled enough for this arena.

    • Does Obama reward you by the post or by the word?

      • Do you bury your head in the sand, or do the Kochs do that for you?

        • No, I just stand by with a mucking out shovel and use it to cover up your ears in brown goo when you poke your Jack-o-lantern face into George Soros’ posterior.

          nameous, Smile for me when you’ve got enough brown goo!

    • Does Obama reward you by the post or by the word?

    • nameous, I strongly expect that these precious people as well as yourself would really feel special if the two of you would exchanged bodily fluids other than saliva. You sound like the type.

    • Actually this is what happens when entitled Fraternity brothers who voted over 90% in favor of the current President gets a little tipsy.

  15. So why the Hell didn’t someone call the PD on these punk-ass fratboys?

    • lolatthefakesjws

      well, you see, im sure that someone retaliated from the wounded warriors side, it would have been a case of mutual combat at best, mutual assault possibly, not going to cast blame but, if i was there and witnessed this crap, i would have put one of these punks on his back and burned the flag he had urinated on. then i would have bought a new flag and gave it to the vet.

  16. brainwashed fools are they who will pay the price for” their ignorance” as we all will..

  17. lolatthefakesjws

    founded as the worlds first jewish fraternity, open to all men of good character. men such as jack benny, harold ramis, robert kraft, yes that kraft the nfl owner, lets continue shall we? maybe someone needs to ask these people what they think about this frat groups acts? how about the fannie mae exec vp and cfo david c benson? how about the chairman of costco? or jermoe bruckhiemer of jerry bruckhiemer films? mayeb the co founder of h and r block and liz clairbourne have something to say about their fraternal brothers and sisters? maybe they can get mike wallace to do the interviews? he too is a member…. i see DOZENS of congressmen current and former, mayors, ambassadors chiefs of staff, federal dept heads, founders of many of americas businesses, like cbs. and yet this story isnt taking any more traction due to what? i mean come on i looked the frat up to see what they are all about and im SHOCKED that such a founding brick of our society would allow people into the fraternity, that would then go on to do this?
    the short list of notable people to come out of this brotherhood put against the actions of this handful of idiots is astounding to me. where is the outrage from these people? to treat the veterans with anything less than respect, there are no words these people lost life and limb to protect the rights we all enjoy. maybe in recent times there are questions about if we should have and why so long, but thats for another story, not all these vets were wounded in current conflicts.

    but considering the people who came out of this brotherhood, and what this small number of these children have done, its extra shocking to me that these kids coming from a brotherhood like this one could actually be capable of doing something that a nazi would have done to jewish former service members in 1937 berlin. thats what shocks me the most, that the lessons of the past are thrown out by the ones who teach these kids and replaced by political idiocy and anti american dogma.

    • Relax, relax, you’re going to have a stroke. Now all you ZBT’s run on back to your mommies’ basement and catch up on the latest episode of Fornicating With The Stars.

    • Relax, relax, you’re going to have a stroke. Now all you ZBT’s run on back to your mommies’ basement and catch up on the latest episode of Fornicating With The Stars.

  18. The kids went to have a good time and let off steam before finals. The Vets were there to relax.. Not a good mix. Seems to me the lady just wants to raise money for organization as she is giving her web site over and over again. The truth will come out.

    • The truth has already come out they admitted it and there are more infamous than famous members of ZBT. Revoke ZBT’s tax free status at least. Or deny student loans to the fraternity members. Never forget that it is YOUR tax dollars spent on STUDENT loans that paid for this outrage.

    • The truth has already come out they admitted it and there are more infamous than famous members of ZBT. Revoke ZBT’s tax free status at least. Or deny student loans to the fraternity members. Never forget that it is YOUR tax dollars spent on STUDENT loans that paid for this outrage.

  19. Revoke the chapter and expel the students involved. They are not worthy of the freedoms they are afforded in this country. Veterans or not what they did was despicable, and beyond apology. They are not kids they are adults, hold them accountable, I see at minimum assault charges being filed.

  20. Spitting on people and assaulting them is not “disrespecting” someone, it’s committing crime against someone, and these subhuman pieces of inbred jewish homosexual garbage need to be jailed and severely beaten.

  21. “Nicole Wiesenthal and Adriana Yurizza contributed to this report.”

    Are these the two jewish sh!t stains that changed the headline to read “disrespect” instead of “assault”?

  22. have the Vets proving this with vedeos ,pictures, and more , it looks like a bunch of vets with an attitude that wanted to get after a bunch of kids
    Any pictures? there are cell phones everywhere now how could this not being caught? PROVE IT they did nt even call the police…. HELLO…….

  23. Give us there names!!!

  24. Give us there names!!!

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