Within the wake of racial slurs scrawled on Air Pressure Academy prep faculty message boards, the superintendent of the academy stood all four,000 cadets at consideration and delivered a blistering speech on tolerance, telling them to document his phrases on smartphones so they will not overlook them: “Should you demean somebody in any approach, you might want to get out.”
Sporting three stars on his inexperienced camouflage uniform, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria repeatedly leaned ahead on the lectern to ship his message Thursday: “You ought to be outraged.”
The cadets, chins in and chests out, have been flanked in cavernous Mitchell Corridor by 1,500 officers, sergeants, athletic coaches and civilian professors, The Gazette reports.
As Silveria delivered the stern, five-minute lecture, investigators interviewed cadet candidates at the prep school to determine who wrote “Go Home” followed by an epithet on message boards outside the rooms of five black students.
The Colorado Springs-area prep school, whose student body traditionally includes more than 50% recruited athletes, gives cadet candidates a year of rigorous tutoring to help them meet the academy’s strict academic standards.
“Security Forces are looking into the matter,” Lt. Col. Allen Herritage said in an email without elaboration, The Gazette reported.
In his remarks, Silveria referenced current race issues across the country, including the NFL protests.
He also noted a recent forum the dean of faculty hosted for cadets to discuss the white supremacist incidents that accompanied an August “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.
“We received outstanding feedback from that session.” he said.
The Gazette noted that in the military the use of racial slurs can lead to a court-martial and charges of conduct unbecoming an officer.
Silveria, who took command of the academy in August, said he thinks dealing with the racial slurs in public is important.
“I wanted to make it clear, this is not something I am keeping from anyone,” he told The Gazette.” He said ensuring a climate of “dignity and respect” is a “red line” that can’t be crossed without severe repercussions.
In his speech, Silveria said discussions about race are important.
“We should have a civil discourse, that’s a better idea,” he said.
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