The Air Force Academy Superintendent has two words for racist cadets at his institution, “Get out.”
Following an incident at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School where someone wrote racial slurs on the message board outside the dorm room of five African American cadet candidates, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria addressed the 5,000 cadets during an assembly to show how disgusted he was with the incident.
“If you’re outraged by those words, then you’re in the right place,” Silveria said on Thursday to the cadets. “That kind of behavior has no place at the Prep School, has no place at USAFA and has no place in the United States Air Force.”
He continued. “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 a different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out.”
Contrary to how many college campuses deal with issues of racism, sexism, or bigotry, Silveria believes that engaging others with differing views is the preferred route.
“What we should have is a civil discourse and talk about these issues,” he said. “That’s a better idea.”
Following some of the biggest stories centering around race like the violence in Charlottesville and Ferguson protests, the Dean of Faculty hosted a forum for cadets to discuss them. According to Silveria, they received a lot of great feedback from such an event for open dialogue.
In Silveria’s first address to cadets, faculty, and staff in August following Charlottesville, he said, “If you want to find a red line with me, it will be in the area of respect and dignity.”
Watch his address below: