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Military Prep Superintendent Tells Students to Treat Others with Respect or Get Out
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air force academy

Summary: The superintendent of an Air Force Academy made it clear to those at the academy that racial slurs would not be tolerated.

When racial slurs were found scrawled across the doors of the black students at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s preparatory school, Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria had a message for everyone. Silveria had all 4,000 cadets gather in the hall so he could give them his message: Treat people with dignity and respect – or get out.

  
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Silveria said in his address to the cadets, “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.”

A total of around 5,500 people including coaches, faculty, senior officers and staff, and airstrip personnel of the 10th Air Bar Wing were present for the speech. He added, “The appropriate response for horrible language and horrible idea – the appropriate response in a better idea. So that’s why I’m here. That’s why all these people are here.” The academy and Air Force have reiterated his message through tweets and video posts of the speech.

The academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado is currently investigating the incident that inspired the speech. According to The Gazette, “five black students woke up Tuesday to find ‘Go Home’ followed by the epithet scrawled on message boards outside their rooms. Sources at the academy said there appeared to be a single vandal involved, judging by the handwriting.”

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Silveria explained that the school will not allow such racism to exist at a place where people from all races, walks of life, parts of the country, genders, and upbringings come together to form a unified Air Force Academy. “The power of that diversity comes together and makes us that much more powerful,” he said. “That’s a much better idea than small thinking and horrible ideas.”

The end of his speech went as follows: “Just in case you’re unclear on where I stand on this topic, I’m going to leave you my most important thought today: If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you can’t treat someone from another gender, whether that’s a man or a woman, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you demean someone in any way, then you need to get out. And if you can’t treat someone from another race, or different color skins, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.”



Silveria is a veteran fighter pilot who directed the air war in the Middle East. He flew combat missions in Iraq and the Balkans. He also formerly served as the vice commander at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. He took over command of the academy in August, which has had problems with sexual misconduct in the past.

Are you surprised by this response from a military organization? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about other schools having problems with racial slurs, read these articles:

Photo: usafa.af.mil



 

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