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Air Force general: ‘If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect get out’ of Academy

The superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy delivered a stern lecture on diversity to cadets this week, telling them to "get out" of the academy if they could not commit to treating others with "dignity and respect."

"You should be outraged, not only as an airman but as a human being," Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria said on Thursday, as the academy's 4,000 cadets stood at attention. 

Silveria's comments came after five African-American cadets at the academy's prep school found racial slurs scrawled onto message boards outside their rooms. Academy security forces are investigating the matter, according to a statement.

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In a wide-ranging lecture that touched on racial and gender discrimination, Silveria cast the Air Force Academy as a place of "dignity and respect," telling cadets to "get out" if they couldn't commit to those principles.

"If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then you need to get out," he said. "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."

The top academy administrator on Thursday also touched on the violence that broke out at white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Va., last month, as well as the events in Ferguson, Mo., where the 2014 shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer sparked a wave of demonstrations. 

"We would be naive to think that we shouldn't discuss this topic. We would also be tone-deaf not to think about the backdrop of what's going on in our country. Things like Charlottesville and Ferguson, the protests in the NFL," he said.