Five black cadets at the United States Air Force Academy were targeted by racist graffiti, but a spokesperson for the academy revealed this week that the perpetrator was among those targeted.
The academy launched an investigation after messages saying “Go home” with the n-word were written on the doors of five black cadets. A concerned parent posted a picture of one of the messages on Facebook, prompting both the investigation and responses from parents, the public and various politicians.
“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,” wrote academy spokesman Lt. Col. Allen Herritage in an email. The unidentified cadet behind the incident confessed on their own accord and it is currently rumored that the act was committed to divert attention from another act of misconduct. “We acknowledge that there may be additional information already in the public space, but we will refrain from discussing further details surrounding the investigation due to privacy act requirements.”
“If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out,” said academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria in a speech that went viral shortly after the incident became publicized. He told cadets that those kinds of messages had “no place” in the academy or in the Air Force.
“Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed,” Silveria said after the cadet was identified. “You can never over-emphasize the need for a culture of dignity and respect – and those who don’t understand those concepts, aren’t welcome here.”