Members of a Florida fraternity are accused of spitting on a veteran and urinating on an American flag. The young men, who attend the University of Florida and Emory University, were all members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. According to witnesses, the students spat at disable veterans, who were attending the Warrior Beach Retreat at Laketown Wharf. The young men are further accused of urinating on an American flag.
The April 17 incident was reported to university officials by numerous witnesses, including Linda Cope, who organized the retreat.
As reported by News 4 Jax, the students were attending their annual spring formal, which was also held at the Laketown Wharf. Witnesses said the students initially targeted the veterans' vehicles.
In her complaint to university officials, Cope said the young men tore American flags off the veterans' cars, threw them on the ground, and proceeded to urinate on them. They further antagonized the veterans by pouring beer off a balcony onto several veterans, who were standing on the sidewalk below.
To hear in this day and age that College IDIOTS Spit on our veterans makes my blood boil. As a Vietnam veteran... http://t.co/cvLn1NQkCi
— Pueblo POWMIA (@puebloPOWMIA) April 24, 2015
Cole was specifically appalled, as members of the fraternity spit on a wounded veteran. Nicholas Connole said he and his dog were both disrespected by the young men.
"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."
Cole shared her concerns with officials at the University of Florida and Emory University. As a result, both universities are conducting a thorough investigation into the incident.
University of Florida President W. Kent Fuchs issued a written apology and vowed to "make every effort to learn more, take appropriate action, and prevent similar incidents from occurring again."
An Emory University spokesperson issued a similar response, stating "the disrespectful behavior exhibited by students toward our veterans is not acceptable and will not be tolerated by members of the Emory community."
However, the spokesperson said they have not uncovered any evidence to suggest Emory University students were involved in the reported incident.
As reported by Fox News, Zeta Beta Tau International Executive Director Laurence Bolotin confirmed three members of the Florida fraternity, who reportedly spit on the veterans, were expelled. Bolotin also ordered the Emory University and University of Florida chapters to suspend all activities until further notice.
@UF Fraternity disrespects #Veterans Disrespect one veteran you disrespect us All. 21 million in #America. http://t.co/1rc7cF6tLQ
— TransitioningVeteran (@TransitionVet) April 24, 2015
Cole said the members of the fraternity who spit on the veteran and urinated on the American flag personally apologized for their behavior. However, she believes they only apologized because they were caught.
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