Emory ZBT

By David R. Cohen | david@atljewishtimes.com

Emory University’s Zeta Beta Tau fraternity has denied playing any role in the disrespect some ZBT members showed to wounded U.S. military veterans during a recent trip to Panama City Beach, Fla.

Veterans in Panama City for their Warrior Beach Retreat said members of the fraternity spit on veterans and urinated on American flags. Fraternity members from Emory and the University of Florida were at the hotel at the time.

But the Emory chapter issued a statement that none of its members participated in the abusive behavior and that the chapter of the traditionally Jewish fraternity was “shocked to learn of the atrocious acts” that occurred at the Laketown Wharf Resort the night of April 17.

“Our fraternity has been accused in the media of involvement in offensive acts on the aforementioned occasion,” the April 24 statement read. “ZBT has worked in close collaboration with administrators at Emory to conduct a thorough investigation. We have found no evidence that members of our fraternity were involved. If information implicating any member of our organization arises, we will hold those individuals fully accountable.”

Emory University backed up the fraternity’s claims after conducting an investigation into what happened.

“To date, no evidence has been found to implicate Emory students in these reported incidents,” the university’s statement read Aug. 24. “If any members of our community are identified as being responsible, they will be held accountable for their actions by the university.”

By contrast, the president of the University of Florida, Kent Fuchs, issued a public apology for the behavior of ZBTs from that school, and the Florida fraternity chapter expelled three members.

The national office of ZBT has suspended all local chapter activities at Florida and Emory while it investigates further.

“We have a zero tolerance policy towards this type of behavior and are committed to appropriately disciplining any members of our Fraternity who were involved,” Laurence Bolotin, the executive director of Zeta Beta Tau International, said in a statement.

Police in Panama City Beach said the incident was handled by security from the Laketown Wharf Resort and that the resort security has the only official evidence of what happened.