Once again, a fraternity group appears to have embarrassed itself with lewd and hateful behavior. This time, members of a fraternity were observed spitting on and throwing beer bottles at wounded warriors on a retreat in Florida.
Investigations have been launched at two universities over accusations that fraternity members taunted wounded war heroes, urinated on an American flag, and spit on a wounded veteran and his service dog in Panama City Beach, Florida.
The April 17 incident, involving Zeta Beta Tau fraternity members from the University of Florida and Emory University, has infuriated residents of Panama City.
These frat brothers ruined what was supposed to be a retreat for traumatized soldiers who’ve served the United States in battle. Soldiers who literally gave a piece of themselves so that these boys could have the opportunity to go to Panama City for spring break.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has more:
“These guys were getting out of control,” said Linda Cope, founder of the Warrior Beach Retreat. “I was just in tears. This was supposed to be a safe place.”
In a letter to Ms. Cope, Florida’s president, W. Kent Fuchs, said that the behavior she described was “unacceptable” and that the college would investigate.
The chapter’s president, Tyler Drescher, told the newspaper the chapter had no comment. The fraternity’s national organization said in a statement on Thursday [April 23] that “there is no doubt” members of the chapters “engaged in ugly and unacceptable behavior.” It also apologized to veterans, and said both chapters had suspended activities.
This type of stupidity needs to be challenged. Whether it’s a racist chant or attacking wounded soldiers, we can’t excuse the behavior of brainless young men (or women, for that matter) as the foibles of youth.
The fraternity brothers, especially those attending the public university, deserve a chance to justify or exonerate themselves. They are, after all, innocent until proven guilty, and can’t be convicted based on the behavior of the group they happen to be with. Those soldiers fought to ensure they’d have that right.
The Zeta Beta Tau chapters are a different story. The fraternity members identify as “brothers,” much as those soldiers do. The actions of the few reflect upon the whole, and there’s no question ZBT members were involved. The chapters have been suspended, and they should be decertified by both universities.