The discovery of racist graffiti galvanized the Air Force Academy in September, and the superintendent of the Colorado campus turned that into a teaching moment with a speech about diversity and tolerance that found more than a million viewers on the Internet.
Now officials say the scrawled slur in a dormitory was a hoax by one of its targets, a black cadet candidate.
The words "Go home," followed by a racial slur, were found scrawled in marker on message boards outside the rooms of five black cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School in late September. The discovery led to an uproar on campus and the widely shared video of a speech by the superintendent, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria.
"If you demean someone in any way, you need to get out," Silveria said in the speech.
Although the slurs were discovered at the preparatory school, a 10-month program that prepares candidates for admission to the academy proper, Silveria said "it would be naive" to think the episode did not reflect on the academy and the Air Force as a whole.
Academy officials swiftly began an investigation. They said in a statement Tuesday that the cadet candidate had admitted to writing the slurs and was no longer enrolled at the school.
"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," the academy said. "The individual admitted responsibility and this was validated by the investigation."