According to authorities of the Air Force Academy's Preparatory School in Colorado Springs, one of several black cadets who once claimed to be the target of racist graffiti scrawled outside his dormitory room has admitted that he is the culprit. The superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, passionately condemned racism in a widely published video in reaction to the initial incident. He spoke to the 4,000 cadets at the Preparatory School in Colorado after the five black cadets found the words “go home” and a racist slur outside their dorm in September.  The prep school is located on the grounds of the U.S. Air Force Academy and is dedicated to preparing students for entry into the prestigious Air Force Academy.

Despite finding of the culprit, Silveria reiterated the need for inclusiveness at the academy.  According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Silveria wrote in an email: “Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed.” Silveria added, “You can never overemphasize the need for a culture of dignity and respect – and those who don’t understand those concepts, aren’t welcome here.”

The cadet responsible for the graffiti was not identified, and is no longer enrolled. It is not clear whether he was expelled or withdrew voluntarily from the academy. The Colorado Springs Gazette reported that he wrote the offending words on a whiteboard outside his dorm room in an effort to avoid consequences for unrelated misconduct at the school.

According to the newspaper, school spokesman Lt. Col Allen Herritage declared in an email: “We can confirm that one of the cadet candidates who was allegedly targeted by racist remarks written outside of their dorm room was actually responsible for the act.” Herritage added, “The individual admitted responsibility and this was validated by the investigation.” He would not discuss details about the incident out of a concern for privacy. He said that racism "has no place" at the school. “We will continue to create a climate of dignity and respect for all, encourage ideas that do so, and hold those who fail to uphold these standards accountable,” Herritage’s statement said. 

In a video of his remarks that was widely viewed, Silveria urged cadets to record his message with their phones. “If you can’t treat someone 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 a different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out.”

 



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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