Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria took a very public stand against racism in the Air Force, reminding students that respect and dignity within the Air Force Academy Preparatory School's is compulsory.
The Air Force Times reported that racial epithets were written on dorm message boards of several black cadet candidates at the prep school earlier this week.
One of the messages crudely scrawled said, "Go home n*****."
The Air Force Academy Preparatory School is located on the Air Force Academy campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The school provides cadet candidates with training programs to help succeed within the Air Force Academy.
According to the Air Force Times, Air Force Academy Security forces are investigating the racially motivated incident.
What did Silveria say in his address?
Silveria, the school's superintendent, delivered a powerful message to faculty, staff, cadet candidates, and cadets Thursday, impressing the importance of being respectful toward one another.
Their option should they decide to dismiss Silveria's advice? "Get out."
"If you’re outraged by those words, then you’re in the right place," Silveria said. "That kind of behavior has no place at the prep school, it has no place at USAFA, and it has no place in the United States Air Force. You should be outraged, not only as an airman, but as a human being."
He said that cadets and cadet candidates should, instead of engaging in racist rhetoric, speak candidly and openly in order to focus on solutions.
"What we should have is a civil discourse and talk about these issues," Silveria said. "That’s a better idea."
Silveria referred to a forum recently hosted at the academy in which cadets and cadet candidates discussed the violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, and said that the forum and its results received "outstanding feedback." Other topics covered in the forum included the Ferguson riots and NFL protests.
"We received outstanding feedback from that session on Charlottesville," Silveria said. "But I also have a better idea, and it’s about our diversity."
"It’s the power that we come from all walks of life, that we come from all parts of this country, that we come from all races, that we come from all backgrounds, gender, all make-up, all upbringing," he said. "The power of that diversity comes together and makes us that much more powerful."
Mincing no words, Silveria said, "If you can’t treat someone from another race or different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out."
"If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out," he reiterated.