GAINESVILLE, Fla. - University of Florida President Kent Fuchs promises a full investigation after getting reports that members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity spat at a group of disabled military veterans and stole their flags at a Panama City Beach resort.
In an email to Warrior Beach Retreat at Laketown Wharf Resort, Fuchs said the school is making every effort to learn what happened and take appropriate action.
Veterans told a local news source that they were shocked at the level of disrespect these college students had. The vets said that the students threw beer on them from their balconies and spit on them.
Officials said the fraternity was placed on conduct probation for a hazing incident. The fraternity has suspended operations and is cooperating with the investigation.
"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 veteran Nicholas Connole.
Linda Cope, founder of the Warrior Beach Retreat, said she's never seen such disgusting behavior.
"They're a total disgrace for our military. They were urinating on the American flag they were throwing things off of the balconies," Cope said.
Cope said she received an apology letter from Fuchs, who said he has started an investigation.
"I said, 'Do your investigating, but I want to know what you're going to do. What are you going to do?' I think they all should be put on probation. I'm hoping that this will make a dramatic change in their life to realize they do not need to take the sacrifice and the service of these men and women in vain," Cope said.
University spokeswoman Janine Sikes said the fraternity faces increased consequences if they violate probation requirements.
Fraternity members from Emory University were also at the resort. School officials said there's no evidence to implicate their students in the incident.