University students belonging to Zeta Beta Tau fraternity from University of Florida and Emory University. The veterans were staying at Laketown Wharf on Panama City Beach, the fraternity brotherhood was also there for a spring formal. The fraternity members broke U.S.A flags off vehicles, urinated on them and spit on the veterans….
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — A group of injured and wounded veterans on a retreat in Florida’s panhandle claim they were harassed by members of a University of Florida fraternity, according to WCTV sister station WJHG in Panama City.
Attendees and organizers of a retreat for veterans say they were shocked at the level of disrespect shown by the college students.
“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.
Veterans say the students spit at them and threw beer on them from their balconies.
“They’re a total disgrace for our military,” Linda Cope, founder of the Warrior Beach Retreat said. “They were urinating on the American flag and throwing things off of the balconies.”
The veterans were staying at the Lake Town Wharf Resort at the same time as members of Zeta Beta Tau chapters at the University of Florida and Emory University, who were both in Panama City Beach for their spring formal.
Cope says she did receive an apology letter from the University of Florida President who says he has started an investigation into the incident.
She also received an apology letter from the Zeta Beta Tau’s UF chapter president, who was present during the incidents. (read more)
Emory University released this statement Thursday morning by email:
“Emory University was appalled to learn of acts of disrespect and harassment that were directed at attendees of the Warrior Beach Retreat in Florida this past weekend.
Our brave veterans who have sacrificed much for our country deserve the utmost respect and appreciation for their service.
The disrespectful behavior exhibited by students toward our veterans is not acceptable and will not be tolerated by members of the Emory community.
When Emory received complaints that students from one of our fraternities might be involved, Campus Life administrators immediately began an investigation. To date, no evidence has been found to implicate Emory students in these reported incidents. If any members of our community are identified as being responsible, they will be held accountable for their actions by the university.
Emory University thanks veterans for the significant contributions they have made to our country, and for exhibiting the values that we hold with great respect within our university community.”
In a phone interview with CBS 46 in Atlanta Thursday morning, Warrior Beach Retreat Linda Cope responded to Emory’s statement, saying, “There were too many students from Emory for none of them to be involved. It is hard for me to believe that no Emory student was a part of this. This denial is a slap in the face of veterans.” (link)