A police investigation revealed there was insufficient evidence to support claims that members of the University of Florida’s Zeta Beta Tau fraternity deliberately mistreated veterans while in Panama City, Fla.
The Panama City Beach Police investigation was included as part of a UF report containing interviews from over 40 people, including 11 resort employees. The university’s Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Conducts released its report June 5, concluding no one reported witnessing ZBT members maliciously harassing veterans.
PCB police could not determine intent or positively identify specific individuals to criminally charge. Former members of the fraternity were accused of various offensive acts, including spitting on veterans and urinating on American flags.
The conduct reported occurred during the weekend of April 17 at the Laketown Wharf Resort where the ZBT members celebrated their separate spring formals. The graph below shows the development that took place following the event.
Lee Teichner, an attorney representing a group of former ZBT members’ parents, said those who accused the members of anti-veteran actions were mistaken and should offer an apology.
UF charged ZBT with three strikes against the student code of conduct: obscenity, public intoxication and causing potential harm to others. Teichner said he does not believe the members’ actions merit the charges.
A hearing scheduled for later in the summer will determine whether the chapter will be eligible to reopen, according to UF spokesperson Janine Sikes.
In the meantime, ZBT’s former house on UF’s fraternity row remains unoccupied and its letters have been removed.
Teichner said the university and ZBT nationals issued condemning statements before performing a fair and thorough investigation.
“ZBT nationals showed a lack of brotherhood and loyalty and let these kids hang out to dry,” he said. “The way that they treated these kids is an embarrassment to a fraternity brotherhood.”
Jonathan Muñoz and Susan Huang contributed to the reporting.