UPDATE: The University of Florida’s chapter of Zeta Beta Tau will be closed immediately, according to a statement from UF spokesperson Janine Sikes on Tuesday.
“I continue to be saddened and disappointed by the reported mistreatment and disrespect of our military veterans,” UF President Kent Fuchs said, according to the statement. “Our university has always honored, and will always honor, the service of veterans. The reported conduct of this fraternity contradicts the values of service and respect that are at the center of this university.”
Both ZBT and the university will continue their investigations into the incident in Panama City Beach that led to allegations of misconduct.
Original Post, April 24: The University of Florida has suspended the Zeta Beta Tau chapter on an interim basis while it investigates allegations of disrespectful behavior over the weekend.
UF Vice President of Student Affairs Dave Kratzer wrote in a 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.” The release cited that Kratzer is a retired U.S. Army major general and combat veteran.
Three members were also expelled from the UF chapter due to the incident.
In a statement released on Friday, Laurence Bolotin, the executive director of the fraternity, said the members were expelled for “inappropriate behavior.” The fraternity’s national headquarters has been in contact with Warrior Beach Retreat, Bolotin wrote, and they hope to work with veterans’ organizations in the future.
Retired Army Col. Perry Clawson, who sat outside the UF ZBT house on Friday, said he hopes the fraternity takes ownership of the members’ behavior.
“Three bad apples doesn’t ruin a crop,” he said. “But at the same time, this is a fraternity. It’s a brotherhood, and unfortunately, they pissed off probably the biggest brotherhood of brothers and sisters.”
Clawson said there is a number of ways the fraternity can make amends, including volunteering with the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation.
According to Bolotin’s statement, some members and staff of the fraternity have received threats in response to the incident.
“The threats to our members and staff — including many who were not involved in the incident — cannot be tolerated,” Bolotin wrote, “and we are working with law enforcement to ensure their safety.”