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The ZBT chapter has shut down as a result of the allegations from the Panama City trips.
From University Of Florida:
The University of Florida chapter of Zeta Beta Tau will close in the wake of misconduct allegations following a recent weekend event in Panama City Beach, officials from the national organization and the University of Florida announced Tuesday. The closure is effective immediately.
Both the university and the national fraternity will continue to investigate.
We can all agree that no one deserves respect more than men and women in uniform. They fight for our country, risking their lives every day. We live in the land of the free because of the brave. They deserve to be honored and aided when they return from active duty, and the fine people of Panama City Beach have done that bi-annually for the past six years, hosting an event called the Warrior Beach Retreat. Members of the Panama City Beach community donate condos and hotel rooms, restaurant meals, gift baskets, fishing trips, movies, tours, attraction tickets, car rentals, as well as money in an effort to give wounded warriors and their caregiver a week of rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, the retreat last week didn’t go as planned, and even more regrettably, it was due to a fraternity.
Last week’s Warrior Beach Retreat was held at the Lake Town Wharf Resort, which happened to be the same location that members of Zeta Beta Tau from the University of Florida and Emory University were staying at for their spring formal. And it would seem that some members of those chapters do not hold the same respect for the military that the rest of us do.
Linda Cope, founder of the Warrior Beach Retreat, says she was disgusted the behavior she witnessed by the fraternity members. “They were urinating on the American flag and they were throwing things off of the balconies. There was a group of very intoxicated college kids that actually ripped the American flag out of the ground and was trying to run around with it.”
Even worse? How they treated the soldiers they were sharing the hotel with. “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 wounded veteran Nicholas Connole told WJHG.
Cope did receive a letters of apology from both the President of UF and the President of the UF ZBT chapter, but has yet to hear anything from the Emory chapter or the university. Personally, I challenge both of these chapters to make this right. Perhaps instead of having a formal next year, you should instead donate your social budget to the Warrior Beach Retreat to make up for the trip that you ruined for some deserving soldiers and those that take care of them. Donations can be made at their website.